Second Half Collapse Dooms Dolphins
Things started off extremely well as the Dolphins drew first blood in the 2nd minute with a try from fullback Martial Chaput. After Denver knocked-on the opening kick-off, center Mitch Raisch hit up the midfield from the scrum. Scrumhalf Andy O’Connor probed the midfield and put Sean Pypers into a gap with a short pass. Denver fullback Maximo de Achaval tackled the Santa Monica winger 5-meters from the line and Pypers lost the ball forward in the tackle. Not to be deterred, the Dolphins front row of Rob Cleere, Chris Baumann, and Epi Kalemani applied extreme pressure on the ensuing scrum and easily won a tighthead. 8-man Patrick Roberts drove for the line but was stopped short. The ball recycled out to the backline where flyhalf Brian O’Shea connected with Chaput on a dummy pass and the Frenchman was through for the score on the left hash mark. O’Shea converted the try. 7-0 Santa Monica.
The Dolphins immediately went back on the attack after Denver was penalized for not rolling away from the tackle on the ensuing kick-off. From a lineout in the Denver half, Raisch again hit-up in the midfield but got the ball stripped in the tackle for a knock-on. The Dolphins again pressured the scrum and seemed to have taken a second consecutive tighthead but the referee ruled the drive illegal, thus bailing out the hosts.
Santa Monica had another promising attack go awry in the 5th minute. From a lineout at the 50 meter line on the right side, the ball worked its way out to Chaput near the left hash. He put wing Philip Osbourne into another gap and the Dolphins were away again. Osbourne was dragged down inside the attacking 22 as O’Connor took a sniping run toward the goalline. He was stopped short, as were several other quick-fire attacks. Eventually O’Connor knocked-on at the base of a ruck just meters away from pay dirt, giving the Barbos another reprieve. From the scrum, the Dolphins were penalized again despite convincingly driving Denver off the ball.
Denver got on the board in the 20th minute via a counter-attack from a Santa Monica clearance kick. The Dolphins a had lineout inside their own 22, took it cleanly and kicked for touch at the 50 meter mark. The Barbarians played the ball quickly and fullback de Achaval regathered his own chip kick and was brought down 30 meters out. The recycle found flyhalf Ata Malifa near the left hash, he dummied, stepped inside, and scored near the corner. De Achaval missed the conversion. 7-5 Santa Monica.
The Dolphins responded in the 28th minute via an O’Shea penalty kick and looked to take a 5 point lead into half-time. Unfortunately, after playing valiant goalline defense for several minutes and successfully turning the ball over, Santa Monica failed to clear their zone and safely put the ball into touch. De Achaval slotted a drop goal from 40 meters out, putting his side within 2 points at 10-8 Santa Monica.
Unfortunately, the wheels came off the wagon in the second half as Denver ran in six tries and came away with an easy victory.
“The boys fought hard but that second half, nothing went right for us,” said Santa Monica Head Coach Greg Commins. “I don’t really know how to explain it so I won’t attempt to. We’ll regroup and come back stronger.”
Next up for the Dolphins, a home match against Olympic Club.
- Rob Cleere
- Chris Baumann
- Epi Kalemani (Hill – 60)
- Ken Aseme
- Zac Winter
- Van Aarde Pretorius
- Taylor Manavian
- Patrick Roberts (Lowrey – 30)
- Andy O’Connor
- Brian O’Shea (Lee – 60)
- Sean Pypers
- Mitch Raisch (Kamyab – 60)
- Stuart Sharpe
- Philip Osbourne
- Martial Chaput
- Danny Hill
- David Amaya
- James Lowrey
- Shawn Lee
- Sebastian Kamyab