Sunday, March 25, 2018

Glendale Merlins v Dallas Harlequins

Denver Harlequins turned out in force to support their brethren from Dallas

Blowy and blustery at kickoff of the Red River Conference mid-table derby between Glendale Merlins and Dallas Harlequins. The teams, separated by only one table point going into the contest, would see that margin increase significantly by the last blast of referee Stu Geiger's whistle.

Glendale drew first blood after several minutes of front foot possession earned the home XV a penalty shot on goal. Sticks split cleanly by scrumhalf, Trevor Wilder, and it was 3-nil for the Merlins in the third minute.

Glendale lineout take
Dallas were having a difficult time finding and keeping a handle on the pill and Glendale were gifted a lineout at their opponent's 22. Ball tapped and a moment of instability as the jouncing pill eluded grasp until a scrambling Wilder collected and transferred it out the three-quarterline to outside center Siale Maka, who found a gap in the defense and sped swiftly 20 meters for the initial grounding of the match. Conversion by Wilder and 10-0 for homeboys at minute eight.

Glendale extended the lead with a try by Maka's midfield partner, Nathen Faamatuainu, who crossed and dotted for Wilder's additional deuce: 17-0 Merlins at minute 18. Glendale made it 22-0 in the 28th minute on a try by 8man, Devin Vaughter, and Dallas responded with trys by tighthead, Israel Teremoana, and one by center Gonzalo Ruiz, their conversions by flyhalf George Montgomery.

Gusty, breezy swirls suggested a conservative, inclose style of play and when the communications became lengthy that wind interdicted play well and truly; lads to lockers for hydration and instruction with scores of 22 and 14 at Geiger's halftime signal. Dallas experienced difficulty with the height of their tackles, making for an uneven penalty count in the home team's favor. Glendale's ability to arrive at breakdown first with keen intent led to much turnover ball and thus, possession.

With Glendale into the Dallas 22 and pressing harsh, a pass left for the wind outside was snagged by center Fineasi Vakameilalo and returned 85 meters for a third Montgomery converted score: 22-21 at minute 51,

Merlins got the bonus point try prior to the hour mark on a grounding by wing Anthony Gobern to bring the tallies to 27 and 21, and then extended that advantage with a try by blindside flanker, Richard Davidson and its conversion by Wilder to make the score to 34-21 just past the hour mark.

A trio of further trys by: Kyle Stoffers, Glendale #2; replacement center, Jake Carlson; and Vaughter's relief at 8, Owen Hundt, the last converted by Wilder, made for a record of 51-21 to Glendale at Geiger's final whistle.

Scoring
     
     Glendale - Try: Maka, Faamatuainu, Vaughter, Gobern, Davidson, Stoffers, Carlson, Hundt; Con: Wilder (4); Pen: Wilder
     Dallas - Try: Teremoana, Ruiz, Vakameilalo; Con: Montgomery (3)

Match Officials: Stuart Geiger (Referee); Dan Hattrup (RA)








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