Harlequins hand Defiance first league loss, 27-16
GSPI Sports Editor
Prior to Saturday’s game against the defending league champion Denver Harlequins, the Glenwood Springs Defiance Rugby Club players said the game would be a good measuring stick – a chance to see how they stack up against the league’s top team.
The Defiance measured up pretty well, but will have to get a bit better if they want to compete for the Division II league title.
In a battle of league unbeatens, the Harlequins rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to down the Defiance 27-16 at Glenwood Park.
“We just gave them a little slack at about the 20-minute mark (of the second half) and they just took control,” Defiance president Tom Sullivan said.
“There’s usually that seven-minute hole,” added inside center James Montaine, who scored the only Defiance try of the afternoon. “And in that seven minutes we were just not quite disciplined enough.”
After building a 13-6 halftime lead, the Defiance went ahead 16-6 on an Adam Tormey 16-meter penalty kick. But that was the end of the scoring for Glenwood and the beginning of the offensive flow for the Harlequins.
The Harlequins answered minutes layer by stealing a lineout and converting it into a try to cut the Defiance lead to 16-13. A 35-meter scoring run midway through the second half gave Denver a 20-16 advantage, and a Harlequin try and conversion in the final seven minutes put the contest out of reach for the 27-16 final.
While the Glenwood players would have certainly preferred a victory, the 11-point loss shows an enormous improvement over last season. During the 2002 campaign, the Harlequins manhandled the Defiance to the tune of 65-7 and went through the league slate undefeated.
The Harlequins still have their unblemished record intact at 3-0, but must face the Defiance (2-1) again this season.
And the Defiance, who were missing two key players in flanker James Lewis and lock Jeff Sullivan on Saturday, proved in the first half they can keep up with the defending champs.
After a Harlequins’ penalty kick in the opening minutes, Glenwood quickly struck back. A steal by Glenwood’s Chris Romme led to a ruck at the 5-meter line. Hooker Les Hogan dished the ball to Montaine who bowled in for the try.
Adam Tormey, who didn’t miss a kick in the game, made the conversion for a 7-3 Defiance advantage.
Tormey scored the rest of the points in the first half with a penalty kick from 24 meters with five minutes left in the frame, then a booming 45-meter penalty kick – his longest of the season – in the final minute of the half.
Tormey kept the kicking barrage going with his third penalty kick early in the second half before the Harlequins staged their rally.
“We kind of lost momentum a little and kind of let it slip out of our hands a bit,” Tormey said. “But all-in-all, we played really well.”
Defiance have two weeks off before traveling to Colorado Springs for another league contest on Sept. 6.
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