Sunday, April 17, 2016

MD-2: Boulder Rugby, Colorado Springs Grizzlies? 'Sno problem up Top!

CSG men's XV celebrate victory in the time of snow on the StoveTop at Infinity - gentleman in the front row on left with the orange pants earned Man of the Match award for his solid performance - image credit: Cody Wagner 
Boulder Rugby and Colorado Springs Grizzlies Division-2 men's clubs cooked up some sublime joy amidst a swirling spring snowstorm on the StoveTop at Infinity in a pair of matches Saturday. In the opener, the Springs upended Denver Barbarians D-2 squad, 27-12, while Boulder Rugby secured at minimum second place in the league by defeating Glendale Raptors, 16-10, in the subsequent fixture.

Sideways snow from the north and a stone-cold, greasy pill at first kick in Glendale. The Raptors were on a tear and faultless in 2016, claiming 19 table marks from four matches during which they scored 183 points in total. Boulder, on the other hand, had been on somewhat of a roller coaster with a monster, come-from-behind win over Provo Steelers in Utah, a late loss to Park City Haggis at the Monarch K-8 Rugby Oval, and a five-point dusting of the Grizzlies last weekend down the Springs.

After a first forty that saw lively action, much of which was truncated by mishandles, Glendale took the lead just prior to referee Rick Goldammer's halftime signal. The Raptors swarmed into the Boulder 22 and to breakdown within five meters of the visitors goal. Half dozen banging phases from tightly run pick-and-goes crabbed the action sideways until the swift recycle found the Raptors tighthead prop make the gap to fend off a tackler en route to touch down; and it was 5-nil for Glendale as the the boys broke for hydration and evaluative information.

Boulder opened the second stanza properly, with 8man/lock Keith Morrison crossing for the leveler at the 42nd minute. The travelers would take the lead on a penalty struck by scrumhalf, Colin Johnson, from inside the 22; Boulder 8, Glendale 5 at 50'.

Johnson extended the Boulder advantage to half dozen with another sticksplitter at the hour mark, it was 11-5, and there was snow relief from the weather!

Boulder got a second try  in the 62nd minute when their fullback snatched ball fumbled forward by the hosts and raced 60 meters for a try, it became 16-5 in a strengthening storm.

Raptors, however, were not done. In possession at midfield, Glendale worked scything forwards movement up the gut - spearheaded by the Raptors 8man, former MTSU Mooseman Devin Vaughter - from center breakdown to great effect as they pounded straight ahead into the Boulder business district, 10 meters from goal. Four phases on, the Glendale hooker dove across from two meters out, and it was 16-10 in the 72nd minute and the heat ratcheted upwards on the Top!

Glendale with possession and forward momentum at the Boulder ten meter line, but a penalty assessed for not releasing at the breakdown gave possession to the guests who kicked the pill into the stands for the decisive result at Goldammer's final whistle.


Glendale - Try: #3, #2;
Boulder - Try: Morrison, #15; Pen: Johnson (2)

Match Official: Rick Goldammer

Boulder Rugby now command the table from their seat to the right of league-leading Provo Steelers, trailing the Men of Steel by five table points. The Steelers will be at Glendale next weekend to close their spring campaign, while Boulder have two matches remaining, versus Denver Barbarians next Saturday and a re-scheduled match with Harlequins, both fixtures to take place at their homegrounds at the PleasantView Rugby Paddock, right off the Diagonal in northeast Boulder - if not the finest, easily one of the best venues to play/view a match in Colorado.

Boulder and Provo will finish up 1-2, or 2-1, on the table. The order will be determined by the outcomes of the clubs' play. Should Provo beat Glendale up Top next weekend and earn the bonus point in the process, then Boulder will have to close out their season with five-point victories to finish in first. Should those events occur, the clubs would complete league play with identical table point tallies, but Boulder Rugby would take the title as they topped Provo Steelers twice in the current competitive cycle.

Park City Haggis, purveyors of the tastiest rugby in the realm, have an outside chance at second slot, but that would require them to earn five from their final fixture v 'Quins in Utah, which could happen though Harlequins are dangerous when discounted, and then Boulder would have to drop their final pair of matches and take only one losing bonus point in the process... unlikely.

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