Flamingos in ERRFU Hunt with Win vs RaptorsWritten by Jan K Nansel
The Northern Colorado Flamingos took another positive step in the hunt for the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union division II dominance with their convincing defeat of the Glendale Raptors, Saturday March 26. A late 2pm start, a cool breezy day on the alternate all-weather pitch set the stage for the NoCo task at hand.
With the opening kick the Flamingos progressed toward the goal controlling the ball in the rucks and pod play. Five minutes after the start, four phases presented the first scoring opportunity by Northern Colorado with 'Rasta' Todd Oswald running for a good 40 meters and evertually coming to try scoring fly half Tommy Staab with Jeff Brundage kicking the conversion. NoCo 7-0. In the 13th minute, after continually dominating play in the forwards, the Flamingos rolled down the pitch when flanker Ryan 'Harmsful' Harms picked the ball from the base of the ruck and rolled in for a 5 pointer, left unconverted. NoCo 12-0.
Play was much contested after the restart when fullback Craig Sherman pounded a kick to the opposition five meters and the Raptor wing was unsupported an called for not releasing the ball. A penalty ensued with hooker Mike Donato was passed the ball from the tap to set a play in motion and 3 phases later captain Sol Mascarenas was in for the pick and go try, 22 minutes into the half, again unconverted. NoCo 17-0.
After productive play, six minutes later, wing 'Rasta' Oswald took a pass inside the Glendale 22, ran over a would-be tackler to dot the bonus point fourth try with Brundage converting. NoCo 24-0. The restart and resulting play found Northern Coloardo in their own 22 with the hosts probing attacks. Lock Eric Rice found that he could not continue and replacement Ben 'Zack' Bernelson took the field.
A kick to touch from NoCo did not find its mark and was ran back to the Flamingo defense when the Raptor fly half kicked the ball and fullback Sherman snagged the ball while charging the kick inside his own 22. Rather than apply for touch again, Sherman ran forward.... one dummy, two dummy...running next to the touch line...three dummy and by this time approaching the opposition 22... DUMMY FOUR!! and in for the try which was converted by scrum half Brundage. NoCo 31-0.
Lock Henry 'Fireman' Vancil took the restart kick and rambled back to the half mark to set a maul that kept the ball from Glendale for 30 meters and more ground gaining phases with Ryan 'Harmsful' scoring at the half whistle, for his second try which was not converted. Flamingos 36- Raptors 0.
During the half pause there was much excited and nervous chatter as to how NoCo might cure some problems with their play, at which time Captain Mascarenas told everyone just to keep on doing their jobs and keep the multiphase play going with patience. Scrum half Brundage was pleased with the forward and back rucking allowing him good delivery for the next phase of play. Coach Brad Polzin then quieted everyone and told them that host Glendale would NOT be reticent, as he heard the opposition coach giving his charges an angry but controlled talk. Replacements hooker, Dan Silvius, and back David "Aussie' Wright were inserted to the lineup.
The second half start did not go well. The Raptor scrum half sped toward the goal, from midfield, when Brundage delivered a high tackle near his own try line, and after addtional exchanges of force, the referee awarded a penalty try and the complimentary, yet required, yellow card to Brundage inviting him to sit for 10 minutes. NoCo 36 - Glendale 5.
Playing shorthanded, Flamingos fly half Staab, pressed into service at scrum half, connected with the backs to wing Drew Grigsby for a long range try then converted by fullback Sherman. NoCo 43- Glendale 5. A determined Raptor XV took the restart ambitiously toward its goal reflecting the play of the Flamingos with brisk rucking. A Glendale backs break from midfield overloaded the NoCo defense and took the ball to the try line. Sherman put his body on the line, got up from the tackle and wobbled, found himself on the ground again. After careful examination and concern, Sherman was accompanied from the field of play and replaced by Richard 'SA' Carter while Brundage returned from the sin bin. Flamingos 43 - Raptors 10
NoCo controlled the pace of play with searing rucks, mauls and pick and go action. In one such maul at the half mark, number eight, Sam 'Whiteness' Starlin grabbed the ball and rambled to the try line at the 55 minute mark. The try was unconverted. NoCo 48 - Glendale 10. Not yet finished, the Glendale side assembled another attack, and the perseverant scrum half scored another converted try. Flamingos 48 - Raptors 17. Three ticks later, wing 'Rasta' Oswald took a weak side pass to score his second try of the match after the pack and backs combined rucks to advance to the opposition 22. The try was left unconverted. NoCo 53 - Glendale 17. Out, but still not down, the Glendale inside center scored a bruising try, with 6 minutes left, which was converted. NoCo 53 - Glendale 24.
Not wanting to allow the Raptors final say, captain Sol found himself in the try zone again in the waning minute of the match to finalize the score at 58 - 24. When handshakes and backslaps were done, Coach Polzin and Captain Mascarenas agreed that the Flamingos job is not done, when they heard of the Quin's victory over the Co Spgs Grizzlies. "The ball is is our court, we decide if we win the Union championship." says Sol. That match in next Saturday, April 2, against Queen City in Denver.
Man of the match honors went to 'Rasta' Todd Oswald.
Tommy Staab 1 try 5 points
Ryan Harms 2 t 10 pt
Sol Mascarenas 2 t 10 pt
Todd Oswald 2 t 10 pt
Craig Sherman 1 t 1 con 7 pt
Drew Grigsby 1 t 5 pt
Sam Starlin 1 t 5 pt
Jeff Brundage 3 con 6 pt