The Dolphin U18s defeated the Fallbrook Warriors 60-17 on Saturday at Webster in the first round of Southern California Youth Rugby playoffs.
Santa Monica got off to a perfect start when flyhalf Alex Walsh’s kickoff pinned Fallbrook deep inside their half. From the ensuing lineout, flanker Tom Heaney peeled off to score a try in the corner putting SMRC 5-0 ahead after 3 minutes. The match continued to be played at a fast pace throughout with Santa Monica enjoying the bulk of possession and effectively utilizing their strong scrum and efficient lineout. Santa Monica won their lineouts and simply had too much power for the visitors to stop, handing three quick tries in succession to flanker Tom Heaney. Hooker Willie Hock was in fine form, spotting a gap on the short side as he scampered twenty yard to score a fine try about twenty minutes in. Fallbrook then had eight minutes of controlled possession but could not pierce through the solid SMRC defense. Finally, Flanker Steven Branham found a hole in the Santa Monica defense as he burrowed his way over the tryline. Santa Monica fought back and scored two tries from Heaney and center Joseph Ekpo in quick succession making it 36-5 at halftime.
Dolphins’ flanker Tom Heaney on his way to one of his five tries vs Fallbrook. (Photo: E Michalak)
The second half started at a cracking pace with prop Benny Gonda charging up the middle and from the ensuing ruck, Alex Walsh splintered and outpaced the Fallbrook defense. Fallbrook was having difficulty containing the controlling aggression of the hosts and big lock Ian Jost broke through the Fallbrook defense for another well-won Santa Monica lineout to score. Five minutes later, No. 8 Conor Lydon showed excellent vision as he picked the ball up from the back of the scrum, ran a great line for forty meters to score a terrific solo try. Not to be outdone, Branham found the lads from Santa Monica napping as he executed a perfect kick-and-chase which resulted in a Fallbrook try. This spurred the Dolphins on to reply with a beautifully placed box kick from Clark for Heaney to chase and eagerly take his fifth try moments before the whistle sounded for full time.
Tries: Heaney, 5; Hock; Walsh; Ekpo, Lydon, Jost
Conversions: Walsh, 5