Defiance pulls out win over Denver Harlequins
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado – A nail-biter of a rugby match produced a thrilling win for Glenwood’s Defiance RFC last weekend.
Playing at a much higher level than the team played at in the previous week’s win at Steamboat Springs, Glenwood knocked off the host Denver Harlequins, 25-24.
The game began with spirited forward play and back-and-forth rucking, with both teams maintaining possession for minutes at a time before Defiance put points on the board.
Prop Lew Culostomy broke free after insertion into the back line, swept around the sideline and laid a pop pass into outside center Soonshine Stewart’s hands as he was tackled. Stewart dove across the try line and, after a missed conversion, Defiance led 5-0.
The Harlequins responded in quick fashion, with a long, weak-side play off a center scrum. The hosts added a second try a mere three minutes later to go up
With its home fans cheering wildly, Denver looked to be on its way to a third unanswered try when fullback and man of the match, Gregg McCorkle, picked off a pass and blasted 60 meters past the shallow Harlequin offensive line.
In prime territory, it took three short rucks before flyhalf and captain, Dan Duncan, dragged three opponents into the try zone. A conversion by Stewart gave Defiance a 12-10 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Harlequins regained possession and drove back inside the Glenwood 22-meter line. Once again, McCorkle snagged a pass to quash the hosts’ momentum. This time, he sprinted 80 yards untouched for a score. Stewart converted and Glenwood took a 19-10 lead.
McCorkle wasn’t finished.
With the Harlequins inside the Defiance 22-meter line once more, the man of the match picked off a pass and kicked it the length of the field to get Glenwood out of trouble. The first half expired shortly thereafter with Defiance on top.
The second half didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts for the visitors as Denver flanked a pair of tries around a Glenwood penalty conversion to go up 24-22 with roughly 10 minutes to play.
Defiance regained the contest’s momentum with a series of crashing forward movements, highlighted by several short runs and one long burst by Eric Olson and ball control by forwards captain and hooker, Jim O’Sullivan. With five minutes left, the Harlequins came offside and Stewart converted the penalty as Glenwood claimed a one-point lead.
A stingy Glenwood defense kept Denver off the scoreboard in the finals minutes as Defiance held on for its second win of the season.
“I could not be prouder of this team,” Defiance coach Bob Herrell proclaimed. “They played at a much higher level here in Denver and stepped up their game to match the ‘Quins in ball handling, tackling, rucking and intensity. Today we found out what we are made of.”
Defiance, now 2-1, next plays at the Cowpie Classic in Steamboat Springs on July 11.
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As a new transplant to the area, each week I will feature a trail within the Garfield County limits. For this inaugural week, I’m highlighting Glenwood Springs’ own Atkinson Canal Trail.