Old Glory’s winning run continued on Saturday night as they turned over the Utah Warriors by a score of 36-22.
DC looked more than assured in the first period, coming out of the weather delay firing on all cylinders. The same could not be said for Utah, however, who in the first 20 minutes looked sluggish and off the pace. Old Glory took full advantage of this, enjoying possession as Utah struggled with the slippery conditions.
We opened the scoring after just five minutes, one of our quickest efforts of the season so far. Some slick handling saw the ball spun wide to Talataina, who played a sweet grubber through to Lasaqa who slid in with pizzazz to get us on the board. After struggling with kicking against New York, Bowd slotted the conversion to put Old Glory up 7-0 before the ten minute mark.
We managed our second of the afternoon just minutes later, taking a lineout from the 5m line and mauling into the in goal just seconds later. It was a perfect training ground move finished by Nick Souchon, and Bowd converted with ease to extend our lead.
At this point Utah began to edge back into the game, getting on top of the tricky handling and scoring in the corner through Lance Williams on what was their first serious attacking play of the match. Hodgson’s conversion attempt was quite far outside the posts, and Old Glory remained in the driving seat.
Hodgson’s afternoon got worse though as he was banished to the sin bin for an intentional knock on. Gradyn Bowd broke the line, and, with Danny Tusitala in support, was in for an easy two-on-one. When Bowd made the crucial pass, however, Hodgson knocked it down in what one might call a professional foul, but a foul nonetheless for which he saw yellow. A penalty try was awarded, and DC’s lead grew to 21-5.
Utah hit back about ten minutes later, playing on from Baillie’s high hit to score in the corner, again through Williams. As Baillie received his yellow card and trapsed off to the side-lines, the Utah conversion was again put wide, keeping Old Glory firmly in the lead. They scored one more try for good measure in the first half while enjoying the man advantage, and a Gradyn Bowd penalty made the halftime score 24-17 in favour of the hosts.
The second half was truly one for the ages. Old Glory’s defence has shown massive potential all season long, and it all came good on Saturday as we were pinned back in defence for the first thirty minutes of the second period.
The defensive display was genuinely stunning. Utah’s attack was constant, with set piece after set piece coming to nought. Every time they looked set to score, Old Glory pulled another tackle out of the bag, another interception, another turnover. The performance was beyond classy and put us well on the road to our eventual victory.
Utah did eventually score in the 69th minute after a full 19 minutes of constant offense, but that was the end of the visitor’s joy on the day.
Just moments after Utah’s last try, Old Glory finally made it out of their own half and scored immediately. After winning a lineout from the halfway line, Tusitala moved the ball to Lasaqa on the wing, who made up about thirty yards, cutting inside to set up the sequence that would eventually lead to another Willy Talataina try which secured our bonus point.
Just moments after that, the freshly introduced Marcos Young executed a sweet solo counter-ruck to recover the ball before grubbering through the line, recovering his kick and offloading to Chris Newcomer, who scored to extend our lead further, sealing the result with just minutes remaining.
Old Glory eventually won out by a score of 36-22, securing a crucial bonus point victory in our push for the playoff places. Saturday’s showing was a complete performance at both ends of the pitch, with both spicy attack and solid defending combining to lead to a huge upset victory. This victory takes our record for the year to 4-5 as we move into our second bye week of the year. Our next match will see us travel to Dallas to face the Jackals on May 6, we hope to see you there!
by Arthur Ferridge, @rthur_ferridge