Glendale Merlins Fall to Dallas Reds

by | Apr 9, 2018 | Club News

Glendale 24 – Dallas 25

The Merlins took a loss on Saturday against the Dallas Rugby Reds, arguably the strongest team in the Division I Red River Conference. Glendale looked in top form, however, the defeat coming as the result of a penalty conversion in the game’s final minute. Coming off a bye week, the Merlins have found their stride, both in terms of team dynamics and with respect to injury as the season winds down. In spite of the last-minute loss, Merlins head coach Luke Gross was impressed with the team, noting that the Glendale squad had found its rhythm late in the season: “We made a few mistakes that put Dallas in a position to win, but we matched their physicality,” he said. “The boys stepped up.”

Glendale Merlins Rugby

Photo by Justin Purdy

Match recap brought to you by:

Glendale Chamber

Dallas, a tough, physical squad, drew first blood on Saturday, touching down and converting 19 minutes in. Glendale would control the rest of the half, however. Eighthman Myeni Lindani found the try zone in the 31st minute, and scrumhalf Trevor Wilder converted. Center Clint Cook put five more on the scoreboard just 6 minutes later, and Wilder would close the half with a second conversion. The Merlins entered the break with a 14-7 advantage.

Eager in the second half, Merlins flanker Richard Davidson put a try on the board at 47 minutes, though it wasn’t converted. The Reds answered with a try of their own minutes later, the converted kick bringing the match within striking distance at 19-14, advantage Glendale. A second Dallas try, unconverted, in the 60th minute, drew the scores even. A defensive battle ensued, the Reds able to convert a penalty kick with 6 minutes remaining in the match. Merlins wing Ryan Chavkin responded two minutes later with a try, not converted, inching the Glendale squad ahead 24-22. A penalty on the Merlins in the final minute of the match set Dallas up for a one-point victory, the result of a decidedly impressive kick of nearly 60 meters.

Despite the win, the Dallas squad has slipped in conference standings, now trailing the undefeated Austin Blacks, with Glendale sitting firmly in third. Asked about his team’s performance Saturday, Head Coach Luke Gross was complimentary: “We did things on defense and in attack that changed the course of the game. I am very happy with the result, but there were opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of that could’ve led to a win.” Plagued by injuries and participating in a new conference this year, he believes his team is finding its form: “We’re hitting a stride. We’re going into the playoffs hitting our peak. If injuries stay clear and we stay in this form, we’ll be going in very strong.”

The other Glendale teams playing on Saturday also performed well. The Glendale Raptors Rugby Academy, visiting Indiana University in Bloomington, was victorious, with a 36-20 final score after overcoming an early 15-0 deficit. The team named Siale Maka the Player of the Match. The professional Raptors side was also on the road, traveling to New York for a final friendly bout before starting their inaugural season in Major League Rugby. The Raptors defeated New York Athletic Club 35-22, naming Brian Wanless the Raptor of the Match.

Most of the Glendale teams will be on the road this Saturday, April 14. The Merlins D1 Men’s game will be away, the team traveling to Dallas for a second match against the Harlequins. The Men’s D2 team will take on Park City Rugby in Park City, Utah, and the Raptors Academy will be in Logan, Utah, facing Utah State University. Glendale’s Division I Women’s team will again host Denver Black Ice on Infinity Park’s turf field.

Follow all of the Glendale teams on Facebook and Twitter for full-time scores on all games and additional information. All Glendale Merlins home games will be played on Infinity Park’s turf field in 2018, and are free and open to the public.

Match Roster

  1. Chris Hathaway
  2. Scott Smith
  3. Marcus Thomas
  4. Chris Schoelch
  5. Brett Gallrein
  6. Richard Davidson
  7. Alex Fitch
  8. Lindani Myeni
  9. Trevor Wilder
  10. Westley LaBorde
  11. George Bristow
  12. Clint Cook
  13. Nathen Fa’amatuainu
  14. Ryan Chavkin
  15. Dennis Papike
  16. Devin Pearl
  17. Sean Magraw
  18. Shane Godding
  19. Kieran Farmer
  20. Calvin Fritz
  21. Jocobus Kok
  22. Kevin Mann