Merlins D1 Teams Advance to Playoffs

by | Apr 17, 2018 | Club News

Men Defeat Dallas Harlequins in Shootout Match: Glendale 52 – Dallas 38

On Saturday the Glendale Merlins Men’s Division I team took down the Dallas Harlequins for the second time this season. In a shootout game on the ‘Quins’ home turf, the Glendale side once again demonstrated that after a volatile start to the season the team has found its rhythm.

Merlins D1 Teams Advance to Playoffs

Photo by Seth McConnell

Match recap brought to you by:

Glendale Chamber

The weather in Dallas was mild on Saturday, with partly cloudy skies as the Merlins took the field. The Harlequins struck first, touching down a try just five minutes into the match, though they were unable to convert. The Glendale squad responded in kind just seconds later, Westley LaBorde finding the try zone and Trevor Wilder converting. In the 10th minute, Merlin Nathan Faamatuainu scored again, with Wilder converting, giving the Merlins a 12-5 advantage. Dallas split the uprights with a penalty conversion to draw the match closer, in what shaped up to be a tit for tat first half.

Eighteen minutes in, Glendale’s Dennis Papike put up five more points, but the Merlins were unable to convert. Two minutes later the ‘Quins responded with a try of their own, though were also unable to convert. The 25th minute saw another Dallas try, this one converted, to give the Harlequins a brief 24-19 lead. Merlin Clint Cook touched down five points just seconds later, and Wilder converted the kick after, nudging Glendale back into a 26-24 lead. The back and forth play continued, Dallas scoring and converting in the 35th minute, the Merlins answering with a score and conversion of their own to close the half: Myeni Lindani found the try zone in the 35th minute, and Wilder again made good on the conversion. The Glendale squad entered the break with a narrow 33-31 lead.

The second half action was much the same as the first. Merlin Clint Cook found the try zone for a second time at 45 minutes, with Trevor Wilder converting. Following several minutes of defensive attrition, the Merlins scored again, this time Thomas Downey touching down a try 62 minutes in. The conversion attempt was missed, but the try put Glendale ahead 45-31. The ‘Quins scored and converted in the 65th minute, the last points they’d put on the board. Merlin Westley LaBorde put in his second try of the day at 77 minutes, and Trevor Wilder’s conversion sealed the game for the Merlins, 52-38.

For his outstanding effort Saturday, Merlin Clint Cook was named Player of the Match, an honor he’s earned more than once this season. The Raptors Academy team traveled on Saturday, visiting Utah State University. The Glendale side was victorious, defeating Utah 55-19. The Academy Player of the Match was Zach Rademacher, who played three different positions during the game and also found the try zone three times.

The Merlins Men’s D1 team has secured a spot in the playoffs, but a final regular season game is forthcoming. Glendale will host the Austin Huns on April 21 at 1pm Mountain Time. April 21st will see the debut game of Major League Rugby’s inaugural professional season as well, the Glendale Raptors hosting Austin Elite Rugby at 3pm MT. Season and single game tickets are available now.

The Men’s Division II team will face the Denver Barbarians on April 21, while the D1 women will challenge the Utah Vipers. The Red River Conference D1 playoffs are May 5-7, with venues to be determined.

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.

Clint Cook

D1 Player of the Match – Clint Cook

Zach Rademacher

U23 Player of the Match – Zach Rademacher