Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rugby Colorado: Grizzlies v Angels

Rugby Colorado Emergent Men

Colorado Springs Grizzlies v Denver East High Angels

Cold and a bit dark Down the Pit yesterday

It was chilly cold with blowing snow at kickoff of the Tab Hicks Memorial Tackle Cancer Fundraiser fixture Down the Pit at Mountain Ridge Middle School between Grizzlies and Angels. Travelers would look to cement their claim on the show position at the premier table, while hosts were looking to stymie guest intent and add to the Big Bear win column on this RugbyDay. The warmth-stripping, crossfield blow would affect play significantly as exposed body parts stiffened and fine motor expression, at times, diminished.

Angels were down into the Grizzlies 22 twice early with distribution out along their dangerous three-quartersline, but Colorado Springs defense wide up to the task and bundlings to touch on each occasion enabled hometown flyhalf Jarrod Cordes to clear his lines.

Third time the cool charm for East as flyhalf, Sam “Magic” Adix, ranged smoothly weakside from an attacking scrum at the 22 meters line, wide and through the gap; Adix fought his way to within meters of goal, and managed the offload to flying finisher, DeShawn Burks; the wing closed with powerful precision in a corner grounding, and the scoreline was 5-nil for Denver by the 10th minute of the lively action.

With the home team on the attack and well into East territory, ball jarred forward at tackle was hugely hacked forward by Adix and the race was on; one more crack by the 10 sent the jouncer into goal for speedy fullback Max Gottesfeld’s covering touch down and 10-0 for the choir of rugby angels at midpoint of the first half.

More back and forth between the 22s as biting wind and slick surface conditions dictated tighter form. This now is what the Grizzlies pack expressed to much effect in short snatch-and-gallops from breakdown by spirited hooker and captain, Dylan McKenna, and authoritative administrations by the tighthead, Dakota Martens. 

Homeboys were into the Denver business district, ten meters from goal. Grizzlies forwards hammered away at the staunch, East defensive containment in half dozen physical phases when infraction occurred at breakdown sufficient for field magistrate Chris Brewer to award a penalty try to Colorado Springs. Conversion by Springs fullback, CalZeb Robeson, and the Angels lead was reduced to three points after 22 minutes of entertaining, spirited rugby.

A penalty assessed for not rolling away at tackle enabled Mr. Adix’ boot to touch and the East lineout 12 meters from goal. That set piece toss won and spun to inside center Yanni Stavropoulus, who hotstepped to space and muscled across to touch down; East advantage back at ten, 17-7, as time dwindled in the opening 30.

Springs would have the final shout of the period when Robeson booted the ball into goal at pace and outraced the chase to ground for tallies of 17 and 12 in favor of Denver East at Brewer’s halftime signal.

Grizzlies were successful best with ball kept in close communication of their sizable pack contingent and patient maulwork and pick-and-goes often the outcome, while East were keen for it, exploiting every mishandle visited upon their hosts by the meanly arbitrary weather conditions with greedy relish.

Adix showed and goed at the Grizzlies ten-meter line and accelerated his flow into goal for touch down and a Gottesfeld plus-two, and Angels had the ten-point cushion once again, five minutes into the second stanza.

Nearing time in the match, Colorado Springs displayed remarkable skill in a pick-and-go continuum that little deviated from the center playline with charges by McKenna, Marten, loosehead Matt Tualamalii, openside Jarrod Cordes and 8man Mike Tuggle devouring the meters slow and steady as Grizzlies forced their way into the East 22. Four shots inside the business district and replacement Zach Tuggle grounded the try converted by inside center Dominic Alvarez that made it a five-point margin, 24-19, for Angels just into injury time.

Colorado Springs collected the re-start and began their plodding march upfield as a rail gun from breakdown, pounding and pulsing inexorably to the opposition territory in resolute effort. Hands-in by East gave Springs the penalty and the tap-and-go was on… large time! Grizzlies down into the East 22, but possession given away at a breakdown infringement, which enabled Adix to pop the pill to touch prior to Mr. Brewer’s last blast and the result 24-17 for Denver East at that time.


               Grizzlies – Try: Penalty, Robeson, Tuggle; Con: Robeson, Alvarez;
               Angels – Try:  Burks, Gottesfeld, Stavropoulos, Adix; Con: Adix (2)

Match Official: Chris Brewer

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