OMBAC ventured east from the cozy confines of sunny Southern California to try and extend their hot streak in snowy Denver against the hometown Barbarians. The Barbos looked to rebound from a hard-fought, respectable defeat to the table-toppers from Glendale. To say that OMBAC are on a bit of a tear at the moment would be a monumental understatement. The San Diegan side look to maintain their scintillating form and make a repeat of their season-opening blowout of the Barbos. While the men from Denver gutted it out against a top team in sub-optimal conditions for the second week in a row, OMBAC were again on form and victorious in a 49-3 drubbing.
With temperatures dipping into the mid-twenties by kickoff, both teams tested the other’s back three with probing kicks for territory and pressure. An early penalty gave OMBAC fullback Zach Pangelinan an easy shot for goal, and at the 4 minute mark, he put OMBAC up 3-0. OMBAC’s reliance on territorial kicking paid dividends ten minutes later, when Denver was unable to clear the ball and knocked on. After the ensuing scrum, Lock Brian Doyle hit captain Tai Tuisamoa with a dart of a pass, and Tuisamoa barreled his way in for the unconverted try from 8m out. OMBAC would likely have added more were it not for some crunching tackles from Denver prop Soane Leger, who certainly took the wind out of his victims. Flying winger Kevon Williams Sr. nearly made OMBAC regret their kicking strategy with a couple of dangerous counter-attacking runs, but the Barbos hurt themselves with handling errors and infractions.
OMBAC showed their class in set pieces, pinching several Denver lineouts, but a more fruitful result came off of a Barbos scrum under their own posts. After OMBAC stole the ball, prop Ethan Willis, as only props can do, burrowed his way to the goalpost amidst a pile of bodies and was awarded the converted try, 15-0 OMBAC a quarter through the match. Denver continued to threaten but were betrayed by their hands with yet another knock on. OMBAC center Ollie L’estrange set up another Pangelinan kick with some shifty moves, and they headed to halftime 18 points to the good.
As seems to be their modus operandi, the Barbos regrouped at the half and came out firing. Newcomer Luke Tripp continued to impress from his flanker position, and Williams Sr. found a slight crease, but lost his footing with one man to beat. Denver’s aggressive start earned a penalty that flyhalf Maximo de Achaval easily slotted for their first points in the 49th minute, 3-18. Pinned deep behind their own 22m line, Winger Ian Denham received a pass on the weak side, and completely reversed the field position with an excellent grubber kick. OMBAC continued their set piece dominance, winning against the head deep in Barbos’ territory. Tuisamoa did the honors, picking up from his 8-man position and fending off a defender just when it looked like he was about to pass. Pangelinan add the extras, 25-3. Denver seemed ready to answer within 10m of the OMBAC try line when de Achaval’s tricky boot failed to fool Doyle, who plucked the ball out of the air and raced 50m before being dragged down. However, Denver were able to quickly return back to a threatening position via inside center Kyle Hitt, who seems to be finding his stride and contributed many strong runs as well as some excellent defense.
Unfortunately for the Barbos, OMBAC, as they had all game, found a way to repel the onslaught. OMBAC added the bonus try when they found their skipper hanging out on the wing, and after cutting inside, his sling pass fortuitously bounced into the hand of substitute Orin Catrett, who scored the unconverted try, 30-3 OMBAC with 15 to play. Flyhalf Ben Batger converted his own try from 15m out, and OMBAC added a well-earned try from Denham and another from substitute Garrett Jones to finish up the tally, 49-3 OMBAC.
With the win, OMBAC continue to show the prowess that has them rolling towards a confrontation with Glendale in the finals, which might be preview in their matchup next week. For the Barbarians, they will have a bye week to heal up and redouble their efforts in practice to make progress the name of the game for the remainder of the season.
Tries: Tuisamoa (2), Willis, Catrett, B. Batger, Denham, Jones
Conversions: Pangelinan (2), B. Batger (2)
Penalties: Pangelinan (2)
Penalties: De Achaval