Saturday, May 6, 2017

St. Mary's Beat Life For Third DI-A Title

Photo: Connie Hatfield

For the past four years it's been either Life or St. Mary's that have gone home with the DI-A title. Each team had taken home the trophy twice. In the rubber match St. Mary's came from behind with a late try to win 30-24. It was a battle of two teams that competed hard in all aspects of the game. The defense from both teams was strong and each showed the savvy of two great teams.

Life had the first chance at points with an early penalty but Sam Cowley's kick was off the post. Still, Life had the best part of the early action and soon they were on the board as lock Mike Islava crashed over. Cowley hit the easy conversion to make it 7-0.

Dylan Audsley did his part to keep St. Mary's in it with a couple of penalties to cut the deficit to one. St. Mary's did well to settled themselves down after the early try and enjoyed a lot of good possession as a result. With that momentum at their backs they soon scored their first try, through Audsley, and another penalty to lead 16-7 with a quarter of the match played.

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Life weren't going to go away and they began to rebound. They weren't helped with Duncan Van Schalkwyk was sent to the bin but they still were able to keep going forward. They didn't play like they were down a man and with more pressure saw Brian Muntanga go in for the try. After the conversion it was 16-14.

The rest of the half saw each team had their chances but with Life getting in on more of the action. They looked close to scoring again only to have St. Mary's come up with a huge turnover to prevent a try. Life still got a penalty from Cowley to lead 17-16 at halftime.

Photo: Connie Hatfield

In the second half the Life on the board first. The experienced Cody Melphy ran a great line as Life pressured near the try zone to extend Life's lead to 24-16. Unfortunately for them discipline became a major issue as captain Harley Davidson was sent to the bin for batting the ball away. It was a mistake they probably shouldn't have made and with the momentum St. Mary's kicked a fourth penalty to cut it to 24-19.

St. Mary's kept at it and started to find some open field. Vili Helu in particular was able to find some space, especially after defensive wins from the Gaels. Now with an edge in field position Audsley kicked his fifth penalty to get St. Mary's within two.

The match slowed down as each team began to have their fair share of injuries and set pieces too things over. The difference in the match game down to a Holden Yungert try five minutes from time. Kevin O'Connor did very well to spot the gap out of a scrum and he did the hard work before offloading to Yungert. Audsley took the conversion too lightly and it was charged down giving Life an opportunity but St. Mary's held on for the win.

St. Mary's

Tries: Audsley, Yungert
Conversion: Audsley
Penalties: Audsley (5)


Tries: Islava, Muntanga, Melphy
Conversions: Cowley (3)
Penalties: Cowley

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