This Saturday past the Las Vegas team made the drive from Nevada to sunny Los Angeles to face the Sabta Monica Rugby Dolphins in SCRFU Division I action. The match did not disappoint as both teams proved equal for 80 minutes. Both teams were banged up and missing key players with injuries, but neither side hung their head abd instead buckled down and proved themselves worthy of the top flight contest.
Las Vegas opened the scoring with a penalty in the game’s 6th minute. Captain and 8-man, Ken Aseme, scored the game’s first try in the 20th minute, cleaning up a ruck after a Padraig Cremin linebreak. Flyhalf Brian O’Shea added the conversion, 7-3.
Vegas answered back with a try of their own in the 24th minute when they countered a deep clearing kick, the conversion was good to reclaim the lead 7-10. They added a penalty at the 38 minute mark to extend their lead, 7-13.
O’Shea, added to his point tally in the 40th minute as his intercepted a pass and ran 40 meters to touch down under the posts. He converted his own try, 14-13 at half time.
Vegas kicked off to Santa Monica to open the second half, and flanker Conrad Stolz took the kick, stepped the first defender, chipped, collected, and passed blindly to Aseme. Aseme beat several defenders including stepping the Vegas wing, on his way down the sideline. The Vegas fullback covered and caught Aseme at the try-line causing the captain to cough the ball up. O’Shea atoned for the gaff 2 minutes later when he added his first penalty of the day, 17-13.
Vegas was down but not out, and at the 45th minute the Vegas flyhalf scooped up a loose ball and beat feet to the try zone scoring and then converting under the posts, 17-20. Five lead changes into the game and neither team was ready to give up.
Midway through the second stanza, center Loa Milford and debutant wing Shane Morales hooked up on a long break down the left sideline. As had happened earlier in the half to Aseme, Milford was unable to ground the ball and it was ultimately ruled a knock on as Vegas collected the ball and cleared their line. Moments later Aseme made amends and left no question about the try as he bulled his way across the line and slammed the ball to the turf from the back of a Dolphin scrum. O’Shea’s conversion was good, 24-20.
SMRC had another chance to score when hooker Brenno Lupini found space down the left wing. The Vegas defender was all that stood between Lupini and glory, and as he made contact and tried to ground the ball, the pill squirted free and another scoring chance went begging.
Vegas answered again in the 72nd minute when they scored their third converted try of the day to regain the lead, 24-27.
The Dolphins were down but not out, and for the next 8 minutes slashed, bashed and gashed the Vegas defense in an attempt to regain the lead. Reserve wings Nick Regas and Chris Clay both had long runs, but weren’t able to shake the last tackle and get find glory. Finally, on full-time, as referee Jason Harper was awarding a penalty the Dolphins way, O’Shea collected the ball in the slot and drop kicked the final three points of the day, 27-27.
While the Dolphins left a lot of points on the field, we are still undefeated having played two of the top teams in the league. We face another stern test this weekend as three of the clubs 4 mens teams (Dolphins, Barracuda, and Barnacles) travel to Long Beach to face Belmont Shore. The Fighting Kelp will travel to Orange County for a match up with the Ravens.