Sunday, April 3, 2016

Men's D-2: Denver Harlequins v Glendale Raptors

Loose piece action

Warm and sunny with a crossfield breeze blowing in its own time as a crucial latter stages of the season clash between Harlequins and Raptors made for the magic of an ideal Sunday post-noon derby at Cook Park's Cooker Rugby Grounds, the Quins home fort. Harlequins would like to keep the pack chasing Provo at the head of the table within eyesight, and Glendale would look to capitalize on their spring success  and make their three-win run four and continue the Raptors climb up the chart.

Each set of forwards challenged the other early on... gauntlets received and absorbed in shocking manner as pick-and-goes from the breakdown were lively and abrupt with collisions significant, but no scores through the first quarter of play. Bit of kick-and-kick now with each side countering adequately, but not brilliantly until Glendale inside center, John Ryberg, claimed the pill on the quick trot and scythed as a heated knife through the buttery defense for forty scorching meters and the touch down: Glendale 5, Denver 0 in the 21st minute.

The hosts 8man, Derek Mansanarez, showed at his own 22 and went on a blistering run through the middle, before being brought to ground. A pair of penalty shots on goal missed in the next five minutes by Harlequins would weigh heavy anon.
Lineout battle

Much raucous action at breakdown, but the even method and sincere industry of the visitors was well-matched by their hosts spirit and skill and no further scoring as referee Brian Zapp's timepiece edged towards halftime. As the halftime siren sounded, swiftly swung ball along the Glendale line had flyer Phil White free for a fast fifty and touch down: travelers up at Zapp's halftime signal, 10-0.

Possessions squandered by both sides by ambitious lofts into the vagrant, tufty blow. Hard, determined running by Raptors Ryberg and White's grounding the difference midway.

Harlequins got onboard with a funky ball batted back and forth between the outside three-quarters wound up in Quins wing Chris Bailey's fast hands; one step inside en route for five and the Raptors lead had been halved at 10-5 in the 52nd minute.

Glendale with the quick response, however, and Ryberg put center partner Andy Miller around the corner for a 20 meter dash to goal and touch down that, along with flyhalf Derek Smith's additional two, made for the visitors lead extension to a dozen at 17-5 after 54.

Denver closed the gap near time when replacement flanker Kai Perea went across for outside center Pat Burmeister's conversion and a 17-12 scoreline in the 78th minute.

Harlequins would have a pair of opportunities as the sands ran, a lineout at Glendale's ten meter line and then a set piece at their own ten meter line; both were defended comprehensively for the record of 17-12 Raptors at Zapp's last blast.
Devon Musselman, Brian Zapp and Cam Pettit: Master and Protoges


Harlequins - Try: Bailey, Perea; Con: Burmeister;
Raptors - Try: Ryberg, White, Miller; Con: Smith

Match Officials: Brian Zapp (referee); Devon Musselman, Cam Pettit (referee assistants)

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