On a beautiful rugby day at “The Pit” the Dolphins started slow and spotted the visitors 10 points in the first half hour before waking up and deciding to play. LARC got on the board first in the 9th minute when their slippery, little flyhalf took a quick penalty and juked his way through a sluggish Dolphin defense to score under the posts. He added the extras himself, 0-7. Approximately 16 minutes later he added another three points to extend the lead, 0-10.
The Dolphins played 16 minutes of the first stanza with only 14 players after, center Loa Milford, and then prop Bart Seeman were each given 10 minute breaks for hands in a ruck. Following the LA penalty, flyhalf Brian O’Shea got the game restarted with a high, well placed drop kick. Wing Sean Pypers timed the kick perfectly and was Johnny on the Spot when the receiving team were unable to collect the ball. Pypers took the ball with a full head of steam and streaked through two shocked defenders on his way to pay-dirt. O’Shea added the extras to close the gap, 7-10 at halftime.
The Dolphins, still a man down, were determined to take the game over in the second half, and a cleverly placed chip kick into the try zone was a good start as center Kelly Serfoss was able to outpace the defense and add downward pressure to the ball for the try. O’Shea’s conversion was good, 14-10.
Back at full strength the home side collected the ensuing kickoff and matriculated the ball up the field two phases before O’Shea found Pypers who slid into space and deftly passed to flanker Dave Martini while setting the last man. Martini had nothing but green, green grass and the promise of glory ahead of him, and touched down under the posts. O’Shea’s conversion was good, 21-10 with 35 minutes to play.
At the midway mark of the second half, LA put the brakes on the Dolphin assault and scored a well earned try in the corner after a long line break. The Dolphin defense stopped the initial surge, but after a couple of more phases the ball found the overlap and pay-dirt, 21-15.
Prop Robert Knox came on a blood-sub replacement for Seeman, and immediately made an impact. A Los Angeles scrum on deep in their own end provided the platform for the ornery veteran to decimate the opposing scrum and make his opposite number squeal in pain. Knox and the rest of the pack walked the LA scrum back 22 meters while taking the ball and earning a penalty. Captain Ken Aseme collected the ball and started a maul near the try-line which scrumhalf Pierce Cooley, cooly handed off to Martini who wormed his way into the corner for his second score, 26-15.
With 12 minutes left to play, a Dolphin 5-meter scrum was the platform for the home sides last score. Reserve wing Chris Clay waited patiently near the sideline as Cooley and O’Shea created space before passing to Clay who scampered over for the clubs 5th score of the afternoon. O’Shea’s sideline conversion was good, 33-15.
The Dolphins gave the visitors a conciliatory try near full time when a clearing kick from deep in their own end didn’t find touch and LA were able to return the kick for a final score, 33-20.
The Dolphins return to action at “The Pit” on Saturday, February 25th at 3:00 p.m. against a revitalized Back Bay.
Tries: Martini 2; Serfoss; Clay; Pypers
Conversions: O’Shea 4/5
Los Angeles Rugby: 20
1- Seeman, Bart (Knox 33-43; 65); 2-King, Pat; 3-Nasser, Keaton (Scott 70); 4-Shannon, Jim; 5-Winter, Zac; 6-Erdtsieck, Jon (Bercovicci 76); 7-Martini, Dave; 8-Aseme, Ken (Reibli 24-30 blood); 9-Cooley, Pierce (Carpio 60); 10-O’Shea, Brian; 11-Pypers, Sean; 12-Milford, Loa; 13-Serfoss, Kelly; 14-Morales, Shane (Clay 60); 15- Ross, Ali