Sunday, April 5, 2015

Morning Joe

Emergent Men: U-19s
Colorado Springs Grizzlies v PAC Rugby
Hot and heavy the action "Down the Pit"       image: Bob Lyon
Warming with a finicky wind “Down the Pit” as Grizzlies and PAC got after the pill at the Mountain Ridge Rugby Oval on Saturday. The clubs shared a seat on the premier table with identical records of 2-1-0 and 10 match points apiece heading into the match; and after 70 minutes of slam-banging, high-ball hanging sport the victor had inched closer to frontrunner, Denver East High Angels, with playoffs looming at April’s close.
PAC, 2014’s second division champion promoted to the top league this year, roared out of the blocks; with slick distribution out along the three-quartersline by flyhalf Davis Price, the visitors made the gainline repeatedly and Grizzlies on the rear leg early.
But it was the homeside that would realize joy first, employing short, stabbing pick-and-goes from breakdown with impressive ball control until captain and hooker, Paddy Donavan burrowed over and touched down the first points of the match: 5-nil hosts with 11 minutes gone.
Travelers contesting well at breakdown just now and Grizzlies indiscipline in that critical phase enabled successive penalties and PAC rocked into host territory. With a penalty award 45 meters from goal, Price lifted Garryowen and the high hanger bounced in the midst of a horde of collectors at Grizzlies 22 and Price gathered his own as the ensuing maul went to ground.
Scrum to visitors inside the 22 filched by the crafty Bear front row, allowing the Springs clearance to touch.
Price took a shot at goal from 30 meters out between the left hashes, but his booming strike sailed just outside of the post in the 28th minute of action in the tense, fractive derby.
With time running away in the first half, Grizzlies snared the lineout at their opponent’s 22 and maul-crawled with painstaking precision toward goal. They were given a penalty when PAC entered illegally 15 meters from the Promised Land. Tap-and-go swiftly, then the pick-and-go surge finished by openside flanker Jorge Meza with his searing transit to goal: 10-0 to Colorado Springs as referee Greg Wolf sounded the midway break.
PAC were demonic at breakdown exacting turnover ball, and with ball-in-hand they made significant gains, but the knock-on and errant pass in the outside backs proved the travelers undoing at the opening stanza. Grizzlies, on the other hand, were murderous intensity with sly snatches from the loose and minimal thrusts forward consuming much of their adversary’s energy in defense.
With airflow changing from breeze to bonafide wind, Price restarted the match with a heavenly drop whose hang time counted multiple ticks, enabling the guests to cover and draw a penalty when the hosts infringed at the loose.  Shot at goal driven left of the sticks and dropout for re-start.
Much effort and action between the 22s, but no numbers and Grizzlies flowing smoothly from pick-and-go to breakdown and more pick-and-go, with their forwards controlling possession as well as running the clock. More than a dozen pounding phases in PAC’s business district before ball slung to inside center Seung-Ju Han allowed for his zip and plunge across for the grounding converted by fullback Ashkon Golabi: 17-0 after 50 minutes.
PAC back directly with impressive work at maul and ruck as they poured into the Springs 22. Visitors cracking away now at the Grizzlies defense and a penalty try award for their efforts after repeated infractions by the home team brought the forward-moving maul to ground and magistrate Wolf not pleased with that: 17-5 with PAC now onboard in the 57th minute.

With Price making swift and sensible decisions under pressure from the pivot and inside center Grayson Lincoln ranging the pitch levelling any and all, PAC moved onto its front foot in earnest and the Grizzlies looked somewhat at sixes and sevens just now.
Now PAC threatening goal, miscue in the backline by Grizzlies and a set piece to the travelers 10 meters out on the edge of Springs business district; won and spun to the backs, but infernal knock-on stymied the movement and Grizzlies were able to clear after winning the resultant scrum.
Colorado Springs would get the bonus-point try on a grounding by Golabi just before time and 22-5 the record to Grizzlies after Wolf’s last blast.
            Home – Try: Donavan, Meza, Han, Golabi; Con: Golabi;
            Guest – Try: PT
Match Official: Greg Wolf

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