Defiance falls to undefeated Steamboat |

Defiance falls to undefeated Steamboat

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The second half was a close match.It was just the first half that got the Glenwood Springs rugby club into trouble, falling behind 28-0 to Steamboat. Defiance came back to score three tries in the second frame, but couldn’t make up the difference, falling to undefeated Steamboat 56-21 on Saturday at Glenwood park.”We are fit – all of us,” said Mike Mirick, one of Glenwood’s scrum halves. “We are a second-half team. That’s when we start getting into our stride.”

Penalties hurt Defiance throughout the game, as Steamboat converted four penalty kicks for 12 points in the match. Glenwood, who fell to 1-3 in the Mountain Rugby League, had a number of strong runs in the first half, but Steamboat’s powerful rucking forced Defiance turnovers.”We got a couple of decent loose forwards,” said Steamboat coach Graham Muir. “We got some good drills that teach them how to (ruck).”After hitting two penalty kicks, Steamboat, who is 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the MRL, scored its first try when eightman Chris Bowman dove into the corner of the try zone to go up 11-0. A few minutes later, Bowman took an eightman pick and ran 20 meters before offloading the ball to a charging wing who scored again for Steamboat, which went ahead 18-0.Having Bowman take a lot of crashes was part of Steamboat’s plan.”We put a game plan together for this team this week, and the first half we did it,” Muir said. “We knew they had a lot of big guys, so we tried to move the ball around, and then we wanted to try and run our big No. 8 (Bowman) at their centers because we knew they were their star players. So that was our game plan, and it seemed to work.”

Steamboat scored another try and converted one more penalty kick to close out the first half.As soon as the whistle blew to open the final frame, Glenwood came roaring back.Five minutes in, Defiance winger Caesar Omdula raced down the sideline to get Glenwood on the board. Morgan Harris made the conversion, and Steamboat’s lead was cut to 28-7.Steamboat responded by pounding Glenwood’s try line, but Defiance stood strong, acting like a wall for a few minutes. Acting quick on a penalty, Steamboat sneaked through and regained its 28-point advantage. Steamboat prop Able Varney, who scored two tries on the day, picked up his first a few minutes later to make it 42-7.

Glenwood’s outside center Teddy Omandi cruised down the field to score for Glenwood. Harris, who hit all three of Glenwood’s conversions, scored Defiance’s last try with a chip kick over Steamboat’s backline. After sending the ball into the air, Harris turned on the jets, bypassed a few Steamboat defenders, scooped up the ball and ran 30 meters for another try.Steamboat scored one more time before the final whistle blew.”They have a lot of strong ball runners, and they are very organized. It was still good to get some tries in that second half,” said Glenwood inside center James Robertson. “We have got some stuff to work on, but hopefully we’ll win our last couple of games.”Steamboat will host the Ski Town Tournament next weekend and Defiance and Vail, which will both be a little short on players, will be teaming to play in it like they did for the Cow Pie Classic earlier in the season.Robertson and Harris will miss the tournament as they head to Japan for almost two weeks. Both backs will return for both of Defiance’s games against Vail on Aug. 4 and 5.

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