SMRC traveled to San Diego to face rivals OMBAC. Since starting the season 5-0 OMBAC had lost three in a row, starting with a defeat to the Dolphins three weeks ago. The visitors were quite aware that a quick start would be required to keep OMBAC on their downward slide.
Defending for much of the first quarter of the game, the Dolphins gave OMBAC some hope that the home side used to their advantage. In the 10th minute OMBAC wing, Jason Raven, stepped in between two Dolphin attackers and poached a pass that he took 50 meters unmolested for the games first points. Flyhalf, Zac Pangelina added the extras, 0-7.
Pangelina made the Dolphins pay for not following the letter of the law, and for not working defensively after a penalty. Pangelina, quick tapped a penalty 10 meters out in the 15th minute and was able to squirm into the corner of the try zone, 0-12.
Playing a man down in the 20th minute Raven put the Dolphins to the sword and found a sliver of space, which he used to break free and race in for the home sides third score of the game, 0-17. The OMBAC offensive started following a missed penalty kick to touch.
Finally, deciding that 17 points was enough of a head start, the Dolphins put their foot down and tried to claw their way back into the game. Flyhalf Aaron Higgins marshaled the troops and found a gap in the defense that he slid though, touching down under the posts. He converted his own try, 7-17.
Center Ali Ross kept the comeback a reality in the 35th minute when he scored the Bud Light Try-of-the-Day. Following a free kick, Ross took the tap from scrumhalf Danny Carpio, kicked over the heads of the waiting defense, collected the ball after a single bounce, and flopped over the line for the try, 12-17.
The second half saw the home side strike first to keep the Dolphins at bay, and to assure at least an all important bonus point. After stringing together several phases, wing Alex Ross collected a ball from a tackled teammate stepped the closest defender and in for the try, 12-24.
Time was getting short, and the Dolphins knew that they could still make an impact in the game. Stepping up the pressure it was captain and prop Adam Guerra who was in the right spot to collect a pass from reserve wing, Matt Strangeway at the 70th minute. Fullback Padraig Cremin’s conversion was good, 19-24.
OMBAC realized that gravity of the situation and fought back. Raven made another break down the sideline, and reserve fullback Loa Milford resorted to his rugby league roots, smashing Raven, but failing to wrap as he did so. Milford’s effort left the Dolphins short a man for the remainder of the game. OMBAC seized the opportunity and starting at a lineout 5 meters out were able to spring a man who scrambled in for the game winner, 19-31.
The referee decided that there was still time on the clock and so the game proceeded. OMBAC attacked again, and the Dolphins conceded a penalty deep in their own end. The OMBAC kick was wide and awarded the Dolphins a 22-meter restart. The Dolphins kicked and then pressured the home squad into a turnover. Eight-man, Ken Aseme poached the ball, turned and handed it off to reserve Dominic Riebli (both Aseme and Riebli were heavily bandaged due to separate large cuts on their heads that later required sutures.) Riebli passed the ball to a streaking Strangeway who beat his defender, and dotted down under the posts. Cremin converted to finish the scoring, 26-31, but earning the Dolphins two bonus points.
SMRC- Trys- Guerra, Higgins, Ross, Strangeway
– Con- Cremin 2, Higgins
OMBAC- Trys- Raven 2, Pangelina, Ross, unknown
– Con- Pangelina 2
SMRC: 1-Guerra; 2-King; 3-Knox (Turner 55); 4-Winter (Houlihan 60); 5-Vaught (Riebli 70); 6-Cooper (Manavian 65); 7-McKenna; 8-Aseme; 9-Carpio (Serfoss 60); 10-Higgins; 11-Regas (Milford 60); 12-Killefer; 13-Ross; 14-Bunce (Strangeway 40); 15-Cremin