Glenwood ruggers defy the odds to win
CRESTED BUTTE, Colorado – The Glenwood Defiance rugby club didn’t let travel complications spoil its weekend.Financial complications kept a trip to the Ski Town Tournament in Missoula, Mont., from panning out, but Defiance did send a group to Crested Butte for a non-league match with Crested Butte RFC.”We were in a bit of disarray when we arrived in Crested Butte, with only 12 players able to make the trip, and three of those missing gear,” coach Bob Herrell explained. “We were able to mix and match with spare boots and shorts, but one guy had size 12 boots on a size 10 foot, one had the wrong boots altogether, and everyone wore a hodgepodge of shorts and socks. We looked like a rugby store had exploded and we all picked up the pieces.”And, to top it all off, it started to rain.But Defiance made do, delivering on a pre-game resolution to win despite missing three players. Playing with 12 players to Crested Butte’s 15, Defiance prevailed by a count of 32-25.”To minimize the holes caused by three missing players, we went without a fullback and both loose forwards,” Herrell said. “This would open us up to deep kicks and inside running attacks, but we had no choice.”Defiance scored first on a penalty kick by Ben McCarty to make it 3-0. Shortly thereafter, Glenwood padded its lead when Mike O’Donahoe shed a few would-be tacklers on his way to a long scoring run straight up the middle.McCarty converted to make it 10-0. Defiance took a 17-14 lead into the half thanks to a Tom McKeown score. The second half continued to be a back-and-forth affair. O’Donahoe scored on another long run before Crested Butte answered with a score to make it 24-19 with 10 minutes left. A penalty goal with 7 minutes left pulled Crested Butte to within two at 24-22.”[That’s] exactly where we folded in the Steamboat game,” Herrell said. “The boys had a talk under the posts and decided that we were going to put this game away.”They went on to do just that.After several minutes of scrappy play, Greg McCorkle forced a bad bounce with strong coverage, recovered the bounce, and scored on a 50-meter try to make it 29-22.Defiance went on to answer a Crested Butte penalty kick with a Morgan Harris drop goal for three points to ice the win.”I was extremely pleased with the effort and heart shown by a short team in poor weather,” Herrell said. “The boys needed this win to wash the taste of the Steamboat game out of their mouth to try to prove to themselves that they can win in adverse conditions.”Herrell added that picking an MVP from the gritty performance was an impossible feat.”Ordinarily, we pick a man of the match, but today the award went to the ‘Dirty Dozen’ as a team, who got the job done on pure guts and desire,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder.”On deck for Defiance is a Saturday meeting with Vail at Glenwood Park. The action starts at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a contest between the Denver Harlequins and Grand Junction.
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