Sunday, October 4, 2015

Haggis eats Denver

Denver Harlequins v Park City Haggis
Park City Haggis have split their initial 2015/15 two-match Front Range excursion with a nail-biting, bonus-point victory on the second leg of their Colorado mini-tour. The Utahns dropped their Saturday game at Colorado Springs without a losing b-p, but got both the win and the extra table point at Cook Park’s Cooker Rugby Ground on Sunday morning.
Cool and overcast at the 10am kickoff with Denver immediately on the front foot driving deep into Park City’s 22 before turning the ball to their guests after a booted query from 30 meters out, struck straight through goal, and a Park City drop-out to re-start.
Park City’s high hanger was well-collected by Quins and returned smartly into City’s 22 where ball recycled from breakdown had the defenders unstrung across the pitch and filling fullback Mike Boyle poked into space for a 30 meter finish, the 15’s grounding making the scores 5 and nil favoring the home team in the second minute of action.
Play remained largely in Haggis’ territory with Quins energy about the breakdown keeping possession in Harlequins hands; Park City mishandles foiling any traveler’s forward movement. With a scrum won by the hosts just outside their opponent’s 22, Harlequins 8-man, Derek Mansanerez, scooped ball from the base of that set piece, and struck to space swiftly, closing for the cross-and-dot and a 10-0 Denver lead at 19’.
Haggis got on board with a penalty strike by flyhalf Kelemete Faasootauloa from 30 meters out after Quins were judged to have not released the tackled player at breakdown and 10-3 to Harlequins after 21 minutes.
Try by Denver’s hotshot wing, Paul Bordenkircher, after the speedster gathered a crosskick booted by Harlequins standoff Steve Zaugg and raced to goal for the touch down that made it 15-3 with 24’ gone.
all eyes on ball
Park City hammering at their hosts door now with rangy 8, Hannibal Vaivao crossing but failing to ground; twice more Park City were denied grounding after carrying the pill across the line, until Vaivao would not be prevented touching down a try converted by Faasootauloa just prior to referee Erik Geib’s halftime signal, and lads to the breakroom and 15-10 the tallies after 40’.
Park City a very strong finish to a first forty that opened brilliantly for their adversary, Denver Harlequins. The Quins experienced great success when sending the ball wide and spreading Haggis defenders, while the good stuff from the Tastiest Meal came in short, powerful, inclose bursts from the breakdown by Tevita and Bili.
Banging and crashing the gainlines by both sides after re-start, with each XV sending their big men in search of defensive soft spots in formidable fashion. No real penetration by either side though, until Vaivao made his own space by rolling a faux tackler in a five meter explosion into goal for the leveler; 15-the house now after 50 minutes.
Fullback Mike Gibb would provide Haggis with the lead by virtue of touch down after a swervy streak though Denver’s defensive alignment and 20-15 for the travelers in the 62nd minute.
Vaivao would wear the trickster’s hat after dogging a fumbled Harlequins wonscrum, scooping the bobbler and diving across for a 10-point Park City cushion at 25-15 and 74’.
Harlequins quickly responsive, sending blindside Joe Vitale smashing through a weary Haggis defense for the try that made it 25-20 to visitors in the 78th minute. Last play of the match and Quins, aided and abetted by Park City indiscipline, were inside Haggis’ half and on the march for the knot at least until ball mishandled forward meant a final whistle and a recorded five-point victory for Park City at 25-20. Quins did garner a pair of bonus point in the loss, one for four or more trys and a second for loss-within-seven.

            Denver – Try: Boyle, Mansanerez, Bordenkircher, Vitale;
            Park City – Try: Vaivao (3), Gibb; Con: Faasootauloa; Pen: Faasootauloa

Match Official: Erik Geib

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