Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MD-2: Denver Harlequins v Park City Haggis


Denver Harlequins v Park City Haggis

As has become their custom, Park City Haggis completed their weekend twinbill on Sunday afternoon with a derby against host Denver Harlequins at the Judge Joseph E. Cook Park Rugby Grounds (The Cooker!). Saturday’s warmth had turned cool and a solid bank of rainclouds hung up along the Front Range to the west at kickoff. 

Bit of a seesaw affair in the early goings with each side entering its opponent’s 22-meter zone according to its pattern: Harlequins with quick recycle from breakdown to the lightning and thunder that is their backline and Haggis with the plodding, steadfast pick-and-go from breakdown for short gainers begetting pounding smashes in the midfield by centers Scott Story and Mack Brown.

First blood to Denver as fast flyer, Paul Bordenkircher, jinked his way past and through a few sedentary stoppers for 15 meters to goal and the touch down converted by fullback Pat Burmeister, and it was 7-0 for Quins in the 9th minute.

Harlequins on the attack in the three-quarters line and Haggis making the initial tackle, but the home team arriving to that breakdown in numbers sufficient to maintain possession and perpetuate their phaseplay. Denver’s backline in possession and flowing with speed and precision when outside center Gordon Westmont struck a grubber into space that wing, James Fallt, gathered and grounded for five more: 12-nil homeboys and 13 ticks gone off referee Chris Brewer’s timepiece.

Park City now settling in and better with containment and turnover fronted by the extraordinary work rate of hooker, Sione Bloomfield, and openside flanker Brad Kappos. But Harlequins relentless on the attack with ball worked into Park City’s business district, 10 meters from goal; breakdown just shy of that Promised Land. Snatch from the back by 8man, Carl Katz, who made the try converted by Burmeister, and it was 19-0 for Denver in the 24th minute.

Haggis mauled from the lineout closeby their hosts goal, but ball stripped forward at tackle reversed possession and Quins standoff, Sylver Romero, cleared the homeside’s lines.

City right back after it, and Story bulling hard into the home 22, bursting tackles and powering to within five meters of the line before going to ground. Pill maintained by the visitors and four crunching phases onwards ball swung out to Haggis flyer, “Fast” Justice Colman, enabled his touch down and the score: Park City on the board now; 19 and 5 the tallies in the 34th minute.

Travelers straightaway returned to Harlequins territory inexorably firing successfully from breakdowns in plunging pick-and-goes forward. A completed goal City’s reward after a lengthy period of bashing from breakdown made for backrow lock Sam Orders’ opportunistic collection from the rear of that piece and his subsequent dive across for the grounding that reduced the Haggis arrears to seven: 19-12 for Harlequins at 37’.

Last action of the half, a weakside movement into the home team’s 22 before tackle and turnover eventuated Brewer’s halftime whistle and it was to be a breather for hydration and instruction right now.

First forty a tale of two forms: all points for Quins to begin with, then the disciplined fightback by Haggis and the tantalizingly tight scoreline by the end of 40 minutes.

Denver quick into the Park City 22 at re-start, patiently working pick-and-goes until an electric stop and strip by Bloomfield had that crafty #2 surging upfield in determined fashion, well-supported by his forwards. Ball turned over by Harlequins and their drive in the opposite direction bearing ground gains until grinding to a halt and reversion by Haggis.

Park City now hard at it with Story charging into the Quins 22 before offloading to replacement Colter Wilcock, who transferred slick to outside center Joe Nevarez, who crossed and dotted down for the loosehead prop, Travis Davey, to convert and everybody for the unlikely cribbage total of 19 at the 56th minute.

A bit of a quick-step by Nevarez freed flyer Colter Wilcock at the Quins 22 to slice inside and streak to goal for Davey’s plus two and Park City would claim its first lead of the match: 26-19 at ’66.
Desperate and frenetic the action, at times, in the last fifteen or so, though no further scoring and a result of 26-19 for Haggis at Brewer’s last blast.


                Denver - Try: Bordenkircher, Fallt, Katz; Con:  Burmeister (2);
                Park City - Try: Colman, Orders, Nevarez, Wilcock; Con: Davey (2), Pututau

Match Officials: Chris Brewer (Referee); Alex Fleming, Cam Pettit (RAs); Jim Russell: (Referees Coach)

Referee Crew (l-r): Chris Brewer, Jim Russell, Alex Fleming, Cam Pettit

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