Sunday, September 23, 2018

Boulder v Barbos: A Clash of Titans - full match report

Boulder Rugby v Denver Barbarians: 9.22.18; PleasantView, Boulder; bd

Boulder picking up the jouncer, support evident

Boulder Rugby Club turned a 14-19 halftime deficit into an unseemly victory, administering reigning national champions Denver Barbarians Rugby Club a first defeat since October 15, 2016 in a wild and wooly 11-try fest under sunny skies with negligible wind on the Front Range. Both had opened the season last weekend with heavy, five-point wins, and were effectively sharing the ordering seat at table save for the differentials, and each were looking to take sole possession of topspot as evidenced by the determined and deliberate activity at breakdown, and flair, on occasion, displayed in the threequarters.

Denver got up early on a try by Mike Pisney made seven by flyhalf Lance Eberhart in 6th minute: 7-nil travelers.

Boulder drew level with engine roomee, Brodie Logan, bursting tackles into space 20 meters from goal to ground for halfback Colin Johnson’s conversion and everyone had lucky seven at ’15.

Big bumpees and jarring sticks in the mid channels from centers on both XVs 20 minutes into the fractious and physical fray.

Barbos back in front after five-meter scrum was won and spun for center, Alex Schultz’ crashover goal and touch down; 14-7 for the travelers at 30 minutes.

Denver increased its advantage in the 36th minute with a won lineout feeding tighthead, Eric Meyer, on a scything line to cross and dot; 19-7 then and Boulder were looking for answers.

Homeboys got ’em at the halftime hooter on 40 meters made through five phases of superb transfers, then pill spun out of breakdown five meters from goal to inside center, Greg Hesler, who knifed past the spread defense to touch down for Johnson’s conversion and 19-14 as lads to lockers for water and wisdom. 

Denver’s pack, at times, was rolling the Boulder set piece, bossing the scrums, and Barbos with much more possession, while maddening knock forwards and mindless mishandles the bane of both XVs.

After restart, with Barbarians pressing at the Boulder 22 and having the lineout toss, the Men in Green appeared very much on the front leg. That lineout offer won and spun, but the vigilant and capitalistic Boulder 10, Jake Shomer, poached a loopy communication and was off on a streak upfield and down into the Denver 22 before being brought to ground. Swift recycle found a flying Ben Hirschman free to close for Johnson’s +2 and new leader in the 48th minute, 21-19 to hosts.

Boulder increased its advantage three minutes on as Shomer again set the stage, whirling through would-be stops dervish-like, to transfer for flying Warner Wyckoff’s fantastic finish and Johnson’s deuce, and 28-19 at ’51 with Boulder very much looking the rugby company.

Handling mites biting the Barbos now as turnovers frustrating their big men, and opportunistic Boulder crafty and cunning with those spoils.

Boulder got another at the hour mark on a perfectly undulating line of communication that made 50 forward meters for Shomer’s expressive touch down and Johnson’s conversion: 35-19.

Barbarians struck back driving deep into the Boulder 22 in orchestrated advance from breakdown with tight, ground-eating pick-and-goes. From the breakdown two meters from goal center Alex Schultz snatched ball and crashed into goal to touchdown for Eberhard’s conversion and the tallies tightened at 35-26, yet for the home side in the 65th minute.

Boulder was pinged for no release at tackle and Barbos hoisted the touch finder well inside the Boulder 22, lineout for Denver, within ten meters of the zone. A further try from Barbarians hooker Danny Bell made the scores 35 and 31 at minute 75 and the crowd on the eastern berm held a collective breath as the sides returned for kickoff.

Furious and fierce the action in the final moments, but it was Boulder who would have the last shout, with replacement front row, Ben Rotstein, banging across for the ending converted by six-from-six-completion, golden-toed Johnson, a 42-31 record and a new head of the RMR MD-2 table. 

               Boulder – Try: Logan, Hirschman, Wyckoff, Team, Shomer, Rotstein; Con: Johnson (6);
               Denver – Try: Pisney, Schultz (2), Meyers, Bell; Con: Eberhard (3)

Match Official: Brian Kelly

Upon Reflection: Absolutely no quit in the Boulder Boys; down 7-19 nearing time in the first forty, they might have laid down, but the Big Blue Men mounted an attack that came to fruition, making the midpoint deficit eminently more manageable. Number 10, Jake Shomer, demonstrated significantly at the pivot, and midfielders Greg Hesler and Zach Savage were comprehensive in containment in the face of battering Barbarians centers. Man of the Match goes to the Boulder Pack, however.

Barbarians have graduated a number of players integral to their field operation, yet their infrastructure has remained in place, if anything it has gotten far stronger with the ascendancy of legendary backrow, Logan Collins, to the presidency. The Mean Green XV didn’t gel well yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that is to be their employment upcoming the future; the capable Denver coaching staff will have the side improving every training session. Bit of a bump in the highway yesterday for the Barbo, but one should not expect that effect to linger.

next upSaturday, 9.29.18: Boulder on the road at Highlanders, while Barbos making the journey to the Western Slope and Park City Haggis, Creation's favorite rugby meal!



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