Things were not looking good for the Blaze as St. Paul scored early to start the match going up 5-0 just a few minutes in. The Blaze needing a win to keep their playoff chances alive would answer back and an excitingly close game would ensue.
About a quarter of the way through the first half the Blaze’s Graham Johnson placed a beautiful kick into touch at the Jazz Pigs one meter line. The Blaze were able to steal a mishandled Pigs’ lineout and prop Andrew Hart would crash through to touch the ball down in goal tying the match up five all.
A few minutes later St. Paul had some good multi phase play and worked the ball outside to their wing and took advantage of an overload putting them up 12-5 midway through the first half. Not deterred, the Blaze grabbed a quick ball after tackling a St. Paul man into touch working the ball all the way across to the other side of the pitch before Rapalos Dikinis dotted the ball down in-goal trimming deficit to two points 12-10 Pigs.
Vidal Martinez took a kicked ball deep from behind the Blaze 22 meter line and weaved threw an uneven St. Paul defense before passing off just after midfield to Alex Binetti who burned past the last two St. Paul defenders to score a try. Binetti would make good on the conversion putting the Blaze into the lead for the first time in the game 17-12. St. Paul scored twice more failing on each conversion to regain a 22-17 lead over the Blaze going into the half.
About five minutes into the 2nd half the Blaze would score after a nice rolling maul from about 10 meters out allowed Bernard Laskowski to punch it in for a try helping the Blaze tie the game back up at 22. St Paul. struck again going up 29-22 but that would end the scoring for the Jazz Pigs.
Midway through the second half, an errant St. Paul pass left their winger and a fullback with no options and no time behind the halfway line. The Blaze would capitalize as their forwards got in position fast and were able to poach the ball to make a quick pass from 8 man Jim Moscato to Matt Borchardt resulting in an almost uncontested try. Binetti slotted his kick tying the match once again with the score 29-29.
With just minutes left the Blaze defense were pinned against their own goal line, yet the Blaze thwarted numerous Pigs’ crash ball attempts before finally winning the ball back after Andrew Hart forced a knock on. Soon after Dikinis, would score his second try of the game and with a good conversion kick the Blaze would hold on to win 36-29 making their record midway through the season 2-3.
Highlights: Chicago Blaze vs St. Paul Jazz Pigs (D2)