Defiance pounds slumping Gents
GLENWOOD SPRINGS Huddling in a circle, the Glenwood Defiance gave three cheers for the referee, three cheers for Aspen and three very loud cheers for themselves before erupting into outright celebration.And with good reason – Glenwood had just defeated the Gentlemen of Aspen, 37-20.It was the first time in its 14-year history that Defiance accomplished that feat against the Gentlemen of Aspen, a team that has won seven national championships in its 40-year history.”We have had our a—– kicked 100-0 probably four times – twice last year,” said Tim Swanson, one of Defiance’s founders. “We’ve never won. I just want to call everybody and tell them.”
Glenwood’s offense charged down the field thanks, to the kicking and running of flyhalf Morgan Harris, whom Defiance recruited from Wales to play for the summer. Harris scored two tries, and went 3-for-3 on penalty kicks and 4-for-4 on conversion kicks for an additional 17 points.”Since we have been here, all we have heard is Aspen, Aspen, Aspen,” Harris said. “So these guys said they hadn’t beaten them in 14 years, and we just beat them so that’s bigger than ever.”Harris was just the start of Glenwood’s impressive backline, along with Teddy Omondi and Caesar Omdula from Kenya, and James Robertson from New Zealand.”We knew it would be a game where there was a separate game in the backs and a separate game in the forwards,” said first-year Glenwood coach Graham Askew. “It’s almost like watching two different games. Kudos to the boys – they brought it out there today.”
After Aspen went up 7-0, Omondi tied the score by dodging Gents defenders and even bounding over one to reach the touch line. Both teams hit penalty kicks in the following minutes before Aspen scored another try, but missed the conversion, to take a 15-10 lead at halftime.The Gents came out running in the second half and came close to scoring, but Glenwood, which was solid on defense all day, held up the try attempt.”Everything was clicking, and everyone was making their hits, and that’s what wins it is the defense,” said Defiance winger Keith Jones.
After a 70-meter run by Robertson put the ball close to Aspen’s touch line, the Defiance forwards took over, crashing through the Gents for a try to go up 17-15 with 30 minutes to play. Josh Martin picked up a ball and charged through the Gents for another try five minutes later. Harris hit the kick and Glenwood took a 24-15 advantage.Omondi and Omdula, who have played together on and off for two years in Kenya, worked the ball down the left side of the field with quick runs and on-the-mark passing. When Aspen’s defense slowed them down, Omondi switched directions, passing the ball right, where Harris had an overload and ran in for another score.Harris hit two more penalty kicks, and while Aspen had the last try, Glenwood had the last laugh.”We are the spoilers,” Jones said. “It’s a great position to be in because everybody kind of writes you off.”Glenwood now stands at 1-1 in the Mountain Rugby League, while Aspen, which 27-0 lost to Steamboat last week, fell to 1-2.
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