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Late comeback sinks Dolphins


San Francisco Golden Gate and Santa Monica were two teams considered strong bets to do well this season in the Pacific Rugby Premiership and neither did anything to dash those claims as they played a fantastic match last Saturday. Both teams showed exciting rugby and few cobwebs with SFGG pulling out a 36-27 come from behind victory.


As the first match of a double-header at Ray Sheeran Field, SFGG got off to an expected hot start when Samisone Pone broke through the defense for a try under the post. After fullback Andre Coquillard hit the conversion the score read 7-0.


But that was it for the rest of the half as Santa Monica rebounded. SFGG had their chances but time and again the Dolphins defense held firm. The Dolphins breakthrough finally came when fly-half Mathieu Lesgourgues hit a pair of penalties to make it 7-6 halfway through the first stanza.


The Dolphins continued to apply pressure throughout the half and were rewarded when Dave Martini scored two tries before the stroke of halftime. At the break Santa Monica led 20-7.


SFGG put several substitutes at halftime to try and counter the flood and it paid off as Gate were able to begin to push the Santa Monica forwards. One the forwards to play well for SFGG was Brendan Daly, who is new to the club after graduating from Cal. Only four minutes into the second half he score a try to bring the score to 12-20. Pone then picked up his second of the match after a nice pass from captain Mose Timoteo. Coquillard’s conversion make the score 19-20 with roughly twenty minutes left.


Santa Monica extended their lead when Martini picked up his hat-trick. Capitalizing on a SFGG miscue in the backline Martini picked up the ball and ran nearly the length of the field untouched for the try. With Lesgourgues slotting the conversion the Dolphins led 27-19.


As the match progressed into its final moments the momentum swung towards SFGG. Derrick Wavomba scored to make it 27-24. A few minutes later instead of kicking on a Santa Monica penalty Timoteo elected to take a quick tap. The ball eventually found it’s way into the hands of Wavomba once again who gave SFGG their first lead since early on the in the match. In the final moments Daly was once again at the center of the action as his run set up Ricardo Reynolds for the try.


SFGG will take the win after a shaky performance in the first half. Santa Monica will be proud of the way they played in stretches but will be very disappointed to give up as big of a lead as they had. For both teams the attention shifts to next week. Santa Monica will play OMBAC and SFGG will take on the Denver Barbarians.