April 3, 2021 Results:
Kansas City Blues D1 (58) vs Wichita Barbarians (3)
Kansas City Blues D3 (15) vs Des Moines RFC (30)
Kansas City Blues D1 vs Wichita Barbarians
The Kansas City Blues hosted a Rugby game at Sporting Park at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday for the first time since November 2nd, 2019 when the Blues topped Palmer 13-7 to finish an 8-0 fall regular season. That game was on Field 2 at Sporting park. Saturday's game was on Field 6, lovingly nicknamed "The Cage" by the locals, and Field 6 truly feels like the home of The Blues. Saturday's opponent was regional foe the Wichita Barbarians who traveled to Kansas City to play the Division 1 Blues side as is the Spring tradition. A full crowd was out to enjoy the season opening experience, sans bleachers, with a beautifully full but socially distanced fan section of folks in lawn chairs or standing.
After a few sections of open play followed by stoppages and almost endearingly rusty set pieces, the scoring opened with a methodical team pick and go movement on the goal line capped with a diving try by veteran 8 man Jimmy Lillis. Jimmy followed the score up by immediate breaking the line on the first phase off the kickoff and offloading to prop and first time D1 starter, Dash Hudson, who rumbled for another 15 meters. After a brief change of possession at the goal line a clearance kick was returned by Fullback Ahmed Barrio to the outside and down to the 5 and then punched in by Flanker Danny Apgar from a feed from the steady hand of longtime blue and current scrummy Casey Cummings. Wing Conner Burke converted the conversion to make the score 12-0 at the 13th minute. Ahmed Barrio around the outside became a theme on the day as he again hit the same path on a long run towards the end of the first half, this time breaking through the tackle of the last would be defender with an inside step at the 5. The solo effort on the fullback's part as well as a penalty kick for points from Wichita rounded out the first half scoring leaving the score 19-3 at half time.
The Blues possession following the second half kickoff featured an 8 phase march down the field, punctuated only by a Wichita penalty, and was engineered by the field vision of #10 Blake Baty. A wide ball stretch to the left sideline was followed by a crash ball and then multiple plays down the weakside by the loose forwards and backs was capped again by the lanky 8 man Jimmy Lillis for the try. Wichita being the veteran and physical team they are did not go away easily, as the second half featured several line breaks and near breakaways by the Barbarian offense but they failed to reach paydirt for the reminder of the game. The Blues absorbed the physical surge of the Barbarians out of halftime and poured it on in the last 20 minutes, featuring scores by debut Blues winger Matt Lewis, a hulk-like last 10 meters effort by veteran Hooker Stephen Lomas and a 75th minute lunging dot down try by Flyhalf Blake Baty. The second half featured Division 1 debuts of legacy player Loosehead Jackson Gilley, player favorite Second row Kyle "Caveman" Richardson, flakers Chase Higgins and Alan Bortolotti and winger Sam Tanner.
Kansas City Blues D3 vs Des Moines RFC
The Des Moines Rugby club faced off against the Blues D3 side following the D1 match. Des Moines came prepared to play, bringing physicality from the start and throughout. It was a great test and frankly a great learning experience for the D3 side that boasts a roster of almost entirely U-23 Blues. Flyhalf Gavin Kirk was the ringleader of the Blues in the first half, alongside captain and 8 man Konnor Thompson, and opened the scoring for the Blues by converting a penalty kick at the 7th minute. However, that was it for the Blues in the first half as the inspired defense and tackling of Des Moines, they clearly had been chomping at the bit to hit somebody, kept the Blues at bay. A Des Moines leaning score of 15-3 took the match into halftime. After a nearly full line swap at half the reserves led a Blues surge in the first 20 of the second half. An impressive outside run for a try by Hela Arabagali and a "strictly business" pounding try run by Sam Long, both coupled with conversions closed the gap to 15-15 but three unanswered tries by Des Moines in the closing 15 sealed the victory for the solid club from the North.
April 10 Gameday Info
Kansas City Blues at Dallas Reds
Both Division 1 and Division 3 sides travel to Dallas, TX on Saturday to take on the Dallas Reds in a D1/D3 double header. Game times are D2 at 2:00pm and D1 at 3:30pm. Dallas Reds home field is at Lake Highlands Park in Dallas, TX. 9500 E. Lake Highlands Dr. Dallas, TX 75218.