The Denver Barbarians have improved their hopes of making the playoffs while at the same time denting the hopes of rivals OMBAC as the Barbarians came out ahead 44-37 on Saturday. It look at late try from Logan Collins but in the end the Barbarians only care about the win as they enter their bye week. For OMBAC it was a match that got away as they looked to be dominant early. Both teams now have a record of 3-3.
It didn’t take long for OMBAC to get their offense going as Todd Clever steamrolled the Barbarians defense for a try just few minutes into the match. Throughout the match OMBAC looked strong on offense, especially behind the play of fly-half Yoshio Kimishima.
Denver nearly responded just a minute later when Ata Malifa broke the line and found Max De Achaval but the pass was judged to have gone forward. That gave OMBAC another chance to work quickly down the field where Chris Clever benefitted from a great pass from Alex Byrne for the try. Pangelinan’s conversion was good and OMBAC led 12-0 early.
Much of OMBAC’s fast paced play came as a result of their work at the breakdown. Clever, Doyle, and Byrne were outstanding early and that led to direct opportunities. Every chance they got OMBAC tried to out run the Barbarians and it nearly paid off multiple times in the first half, including an almost try from Doyle that was also judged to have been a forward pass.
Eventually Denver settled down. Max De Achaval recovered his own long kick and a few phases later Ata Malifa put in a cheeky grubber that was luckily recovered by Dillon Eliott-Herzog. A few quick passes later and Malifa was in under the posts. De Achaval would convert and Denver would be back within five.
Denver was called for offside a few minutes later and Pangelinan made no mistake to make it 15-7. OMBAC the added to their lead when Martin Knoetze made a break off the restart. De Achaval made a big tackle to save the try but a great run a few phases later from Orin Catrett found Paul Derham for the score. With the conversion OMBAC led 22-7.
The lead then ballooned to 27-7 when a great pass from Kimishima found Todd Clever who sucked in the defense and made the final pass out to OJ Auimatagi for the try. The effort capped off a great offensive performance in the first half for OMBAC.
However, Denver were able to crawl back into the match as it approached halftime. De Achaval hit a penalty to cut the lead to 27-10 and then Adam Drury scored a try as Malifa once again made a big break.
Pangelinan had a penalty attempt miss and when Denver got the ball back a great pass from De Achaval sprung Dillon-Herzog in the open field. He eventually passed back to De Achaval who made a Harlem Globetrotters-like around the back pass to Dillon-Herzog for the score. The try is easily a try of the year candidate. At halftime OMBAC led 27-22.
Both teams pushed hard at the beginning of the second half but no team was able to break through until roughly the 55th minute mark. Denver muffed their line out and Clever smartly scooped it up for the try in the corner.
De Achaval would grab a penalty back for Denver but OMBAC looked to put their stamp on the match when a great flick pass from Clever found Ben Leatitgaga out on the wing for the score. The conversion missed but OMBAC held a 37-25 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
The final 20 minutes belonged to Denver. Malifa would score his second try of the match five minutes later as he scooped up an overthrown line out and ran in for the try. It was a bit fortunate for Denver but that’s the way their day was going in the second half. That put the score at 37-32.
OMBAC found themselves in further trouble when they had a man sent to the bin for a deliberate knock on. Denver too full advantage as Justin Pauga fended off Catrett and crashed over for the try. The conversion missed but the score was level at 37-37 with less than 10 minutes to go.
Three minutes later the Barbarians took the lead. Collecting the restart the Barbarians got a big break from Pauga. Quick hands then saw De Achaval make a break. The ball was quickly swung out to Logan Collins who made the dummy and crossed over. De Achaval would hit the conversion and the Barbarians would hold on for the 44-37 win.
Tries: T. Clever (2), C. Clever, Derham, Auimatagi, Leatigaga
Conversions: Pangelinan (2)
Tries: Malifa (2), Drury, Dillon-Herzog, Pauga, Collins
Conversions: De Achaval (4)
Penalties: De Achaval (2)