The College Premier Division headliner of the week, Cal at St. Mary’s, delivered an entertaining 80 minutes Sunday, as the Golden Bears outpaced St. Mary‘s 60-34.
The Gaels came out with an aggressive attack, wanting to run from all over the pitch, and it worked at first, with the Bears committing a penalty under early pressure, leading to a 3-0 St. Mary’s advantage. Cal retaliated with a penalty of its own, and back-to-back Dustin Muhn tries (one converted), to take a 15-3 lead.
St. Mary’s threw Cal everything they could in the first 20 minutes. They blitzed their props from the pillar position on the rucks, because they seemed to identify Cal was very slow off the base of the ruck. Nick Wallace caused Cal all kinds of problems in this area.
St. Mary’s first breached Cal’s goal line to draw within seven at 15-8, and seemed ready to do so again before Bubba Jones’s breakaway was halted by a Derek Asbun high tackle, which resulted in a yellow card for the Cal flanker. St. Mary’s bagged a converted score on the possession, leveling the tally at 15-15.
Cal, who struggled kicking from hand against the wind in the first half, got some momentum going when they began to run the ball out of their side of the field, and the Bears scored two tries, one converted, to take a 27-15 lead into halftime. The go-ahead try was Muhn’s third, and the lead extender was scored and converted by James Bailes.
Cal opened the second stanza with four consecutive tries, three converted, in just 20 minutes. Down 53-19, St. Mary’s went back on the offensive, outscoring Cal 15-7 the final quarter.
Full report to follow…