By Austin Brewin
On a day to be loved only by a rugby forward, SFGG defeated cross town rival O Club 28 to 7 to earn 5 points and remain tied for first place in the new California Cup competition. Preceded by 2 days of heavy rain, a constant to heavy rain turned Sheeran field into a muddy challenge for all. US Referee Panelist, Chicagoan SHAWN BASTIC , was also equal to the challenge, maintaining order despite the soft sod and slick ball.
The SFGG forwards stepped up and lead a team effort to overcome the elements and the O Club’s formidable pack to forge a solid victory. Man of the Match NEIL BARRETT opened the scoring early with a long ramble, and VOLNEY ROUSE converted for the 7 – 0 lead. The O Club got a solid game from their forwards, always dangerous around the scrum, combined with launched high balls testing the SFGG back’s handling ability in the rain – all to no avail. PILA HUIHUI scored a converted try at 24 minutes, while the forwards continued to control the play. New comer ISMELI RATUMAIMURI, added another try, converted by ROUSE to bring the score at half time to 21 to 0 for SFGG.
The second half saw more of the same, with hooker NEIL BARRETT setting the tone with another long run, resulting in another try at 43 minutes by fullback JACK HALALILO. Continuing his kicking clinic from the opening week, VOLNEY ROUSE converted all 4 attempts to close out SFGG’s scoring for the day. The O Club’s winger, JOHN GALLO. Veteran flyhalf KEEGAN ENGLEBRECHT. Who missed the opening week, converted to end the scoring – SFGG 28 – O Club 7.
Coach NEIL FOOTE was generally pleased with the results under the conditions. The onus fell on the forwards, and their fitness and intensity kept the O Club on their heels and provided opportunities for all 3 deep backs to score. He is pleased to have DANNY LaPREVOTTE back in the fray after missing the last 3 seasons. Captain BRENDAN DALY led the way with his hard play from the Number 8 position. VOLNEY ROUSE’s kicking, both for goal and position has been outstanding. All in all, it was a great effort from the 23 men suited up for the day.
The B Side game, scheduled for 3, was called because of the weather and deterioration of Sheeran Field.
Next week sees the Club on the first away game of the young season – against OMBAC. They had an upset loss to Belmont shore, on the short end of the 31 - 16 score. We have a solid rivalry over the years, and can expect a hard game. The Coach has several areas to work on during the week. This season, NEIL FOOTE and GRANT WELLS have been joined by newly retired PAULA FUKAFUKA and MIKE CARRAVELLI, WITH JONE NAQICA never far away. The men’s senior sides train together, and the B side will have a game following all the California Cup games until the league ends. At that point, the Cup team will become our entry into Division I, the B Team in Division II. We will have more on this later.
Also, a report on our Women’s team, the High Schools and the Youth divisions.
Tries: Huihui, Halalilo, Ratumaimuri, Barrett
Conversions: Rouse (4)
December 17 – Week Three
SFGG at OMBAC
Belmont at Old Aztecs
Life West at Olympic Club
December 24 – Bye Week
December 31 – Bye Week
January 7 – Week Four
Life West at OMBAC
SFGG at Belmont
Olympic Club at Old Aztecs
January 14 – Week Five
Old Aztecs at OMBAC
Olympic Club at Belmont
SFGG at Life West
January 21 – Grande Finals – Treasure Island
Hall of Fame Dinner – Stay tuned!