The Glendale Raptors avenged their loss to SFGG in last year’s PRP final with a 31-27 victory in San Francisco on Saturday. The match was an early highlight on the league schedule with both teams bringing their nearly full compliment of players. As expected from last year’s rivals the match was intense with lots of back and forth with neither side showing Valentine’s Day love. In the end it was Glendale that would gain the last advantage and score the win.
Despite ending up on the negative side of the scoreline the match started brilliantly for Golden Gate. Off the opening kick they pinned Glendale in their own end and when Glendale spilled the ball forward after a few phases Soni Pone cleaned up the ball and found the streaking Bubba Jones for the try.
Following the try both teams struggled to find their feet as each committed a number of penalties an knock ons. Glendale was the first team to settle down and after Armandy Peens missed a penalty attempt the Raptors pressed SFGG into a lineout deep in their own. Glendale made them pay as a few phases later the ball found the hands of Chad London for the score. Peens would convert and Glendale would lead 7-5.
It would only take a couple of minutes for SFGG to retake the lead. Quick recognition from Pila Huihui at the breakdown led to him making a break away. He as caught but his offload found Mile Pulu to run in for the score. Volney Rouse would miss his second straight conversion but SFGG led 10-5.
With only a few minutes left in the half Glendale struck again. This time through a well worked ball to Dustin Croy on the wing. Croy did well to break through a couple of tackles on a his way to the tryzone. Peens would hit the conversion. SFGG’s Tai Enosa hit a long penalty just before the half to make it 14-13 in favor of Glendale.
By and large Glendale dominated possession in the first and would do the same at the start of the second. That possession turned into points as Cody Melphy scored to extend the lead to 19-13 before Golden Gate responded with a try of their own. Glendale made a mess of their own five meter lineout and Brendan Daly was there to clean up for the try. Enosa would make the conversion and SFGG would retake the lead at 20-19.
Things would get worse for Glendale a minute later as substitute Spencer Scott was carded. On the ensuing scrum Tom Rooke picked the ball out and rumbled over for the try. Enosa made the conversion for a 27-19 lead with less than 20 minutes to play.
Sensing the match slipping away the Raptors regrouped led by former SFGG captain Mose Timoteo. Quick ball once again found Melphy in space. His try along with a conversion from Peens put the score at 27-26. They would then take a 31-27 lead when Peens scored his first try of the day. That scoreline would hold as the Raptors picked up the victory at Treasure Island.
It has the makings of a season changing win for Glendale after their early stumble to OMBAC. They showed great organization and were quick to punish the SFGG mistakes. For SFGG it was a weekend in which there were positives but was not clean enough for the win.
Tries: London, Croy, Melphy (2), Peens
Conversions: Peens (2)
Tries: Jones, Pulu, Daly, Rooke
Conversions: Enosa (2)