Cal Backups Hang 35 on Chico St. in Second Half Of 90-Point 'Home' Win

Photo: Jake Anderson outruns a Chico State player at Treasure Island. The Bears scored 60 first-half points in their 95-5 win on Saturday.
Tim Maloney/Staff
Jake Anderson outruns a Chico State player at Treasure Island. The Bears scored 60 first-half points in their 95-5 win on Saturday.

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SAN FRANCISCO - The Cal rugby team looked like a completely different squad in the second half of Saturday's match. That's because it was.

After match-day captain Derek Asbun scored a 44th minute try to open the second half and senior James Bailes converted to give the Bears a 60-0 advantage, coach Jack Clark pulled his starters. He trotted out a fresh fifteen to finish the game, a 95-5 victory over Chico State at the San Francisco Gaelic Athletic Association on Treasure Island.

To make the move legal, Clark and Wildcat coach Mitch Jagoe previously agreed to the mass substitution.

Second-half play was noticeably sloppier than the first, with multiple dropped passes. Luckily for the Bears (9-0), Chico State (1-1) could not capitalize on its opportunities, routinely turning the ball over to Cal.

"(The second side) had a chance to come out full force, and they were a little hesitant," said senior starter Sean Gallinger, who scored a try in the 23rd minute. "That comes with experience and playing the game and playing in our system."

Nevertheless, the Bears scored five tries following the departure of Asbun and the starters, including two by center Charles Smith. Junior flyhalf Alex Aronson, assigned conversion duties, went 4-for-5.

"It got a little spotty where we'd have good moments and then bad moments," Clark said. "It just kind of went back and forth without the consistency that we want to have."

Despite the downgrade in play in the second half, the Bears' second side maintained the shutout through the 75th minute. The Wildcats' Tony Joyce scrapped for a try to the delight of the Chico State crowd that had been quiet most of the match.

Mike Keane was unable to convert, and missed two almost identical penalty kicks wide left during the match.

"(We) worked really hard for that try," Jagoe said. "Being down there, beating on their try line for a good five, ten minutes and finally able to push one in - it meant a lot. It means that you don't quit, good things happen."

The Wildcats would not light up the scoreboard again until the reserve match that followed, in which they managed one try and were outscored by 50.

The reserve match and the second half of the official game were not the only opportunities to see younger players take the pitch. Clark started two freshmen to open the day - Jake Anderson, who scored a 36th minute try, and flanker Jason Fry, the brother of last year's captain and championship MVP Eric Fry.

With 12 of the first 15 being regular starters, the veterans got the chance to impress early as well. Senior wing Blaine Scully wasted no time, putting Cal on the board in the second minute. His heads-up play to snag a Chico State kick set up Neil Barrett's try up the left sideline in the 21st minute.

While the outcome may have indicated that Cal felt at home on Treasure Island, the team could not help but contrast it to the comforts of Witter Rugby Field.

Whereas Witter is in pristine condition, Clark was upset that his team was forced to host on what he called "an open field with rickety old goalposts, no stands or fan amenities."

He added: "We've worked extraordinarily hard over the last few decades to package our events in a first-class manner - in fact, at a higher standard than many of our fellow sports in Intercollegiate Athletics ...

"I can't help but feel a bit disheartened."

Tags: CAL RUGBY, JACK CLARK, BLAINE SCULLY


Christina Jones covers rugby. Contact her at [email protected]



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