Defiance Rugby club drops first DII match
The Defiance Rugby Club’s play in the second half of its game against Queen City of Denver proves the former club team can play a Division II schedule.
What bothered Defiance more on Saturday against its first-ever D II league opponent was three weeks’ worth of game rust.
It took the entire first half for the Defiance players to relocate their game skills.
Queen City took advantage, opened a 24-0 lead, then held on in the second half for a 24-13 win.
Queen City scored twice and converted two penalty kicks for the big halftime lead, which Defiance whittled down to nine points during the latter 45 minutes of the contest.
“I think we were all pleased with our second half,” said Defiance flanker Keith “Hippie” Jones.
“We started out a little slow because of the time off from our last game and this game, but we picked it up.”
Jon Zalinski raised Defiance’s spirits by hitting a penalty kick at the start of the second half.
The defense followed up by holding Queen City scoreless the rest of the match.
A few minutes later, Chris Romme intercepted a Queen City lateral pass just inside the midfield stripe to the goal line for a try. Zalinski’s two-point kick cut the margin to nine.
And the defense continued its stellar work. Three separate Queen City second-half conversion kicks all sailed wide.
“Our defense closed them down. That’s what we really needed.” Jones said of the team’s upturn in the second half.
Even though the defense kept Queen City off the scoreboard, the Defiance club could not regain the scoring touch they had earlier in the period.
They marked only one other sustained scoring drive after the early success. That attempt fell flat when they turned the ball over to their opponents deep in enemy territory.
“This was our first game in Division II, so this was a learning process for us,” Jones added. “Now we’re ready to go and we’re ready to move on.”
Defiance’s next step will be taken on the road. The team’s next match will be in Fort Collins on Sept. 14.
They return to Glenwood Park for a home contest on Sept. 28 with a match against the Highlander Club of Denver as part of Aspen Ruggerfest.
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The 40th annual Demon Invitational track and field meet takes place Saturday, May 15 at Stubler Memorial Field.