Mendocino Steam Donkeys bring home the Emerald Cup
The Mendocino Steam Donkeys used the energy of their two previous victories to command a convincing win over the visiting Humboldt Old Growth rugby club last Saturday, March 8.The Emerald Cup will be housed in Ukiah for another year.
Even with momentum behind them, the Steam Donkeys started out the match a little flat. Humboldt was traveling with only 13 players, but they came out of the gates hard, tacking well, driving the ball, and generally showing more heart than Mendocino.
The Steam Donkeys were leading at the break, and played fairly well with some impressive drives and good defensive lines, but having the luxury of a full squad with fresh reserve players on the sideline, the boys knew they should’ve already put the game out of reach by the 40-minute mark. Still, no lead is a bad lead, and the Steam Donkeys held a 10-7 edge at halftime.
In the second half, a kickoff to the Steam Donkeys resulted in a turnover and Humboldt had great field position. They attacked the defensive line aggressively and looked poised to get into scoring position until Peter Scoggins, the Steam Donkeys’ hooker, made the play of the game that turned mediocre execution by the home team into the usual aggressive style Mendocino is known for.
After taking the ball more than 60-meters, rambling down the middle of the field, Scoggins nearly scored but was tripped up within the ten-meter line. No worry though. A few plays later and the Steam Donkeys offense punched in the first try of the second half, with many more to come in the remaining 35 minutes.
This quick try didn’t break Humboldt’s back, but when the Donkeys scored another on the next possession, the visiting team’s confidence began to waver and the Steam Donkeys’ began to rise.
During the remainder of the match, Mendocino scored seven more times, with Manny Griego adding three kick conversions after the scores. Several players on the team broke into the try zone, including Michael Winter, Emmanuel Natividad (2), Tyler Gulyas (2), Robert Garbocci and Griego.
The final score was 41-7. Mendocino’s defense played solid, allowing only a single try in 80 minutes.
Playing at home this Saturday, the Steam Donkeys hope to keep the momentum going against the Shasta Highlanders and continue the winning streak. Come out and see them play, support your local rugby club, and have some fun. As with every Steam Donkey match, no matter the outcome, you’re sure to be entertained.
Visit mendorugby.com for field location and game dates.