Blue and White slay the Dragons
“Twenty bucks you miss it,” yelled Old Boy Scott Marino to Phil Bennett, who was attempting a conversion in the second half during the Vail RFC’s season opener against the Denver Dragons at the Vail Athletic Field Saturday.Bennett’s kick went wide.”Isn’t it great being on the sidelines,” laughed Marino.It was great being on the pitch, too, for the Blue and White, who thoroughly pummeled the visiting Dragons, 59-12.
And, even after all the action, Vail’s regulars still had plenty of energy to fire back at the Old Boys.”Most of us don’t retire when we’re 24 years old like Scott did,” Vail player/coach Greg Tarpey quipped. “It’s easy to heckle when you retired when you’re about 18.” Of course, Tarpey was well within his rights to talk some smack. When you score five tries as the Vail vet did Saturday, everything and anyone is fair game.”That was money. You can thank the forwards for that,” Tarpey said of his quintuple. “Will (Mansour), as usual, played a great game. He’s a good captain. I thought Ted (Browner) played outstanding. I though Wolfie (Opel) played well. He’s 40 years old, and he’s playing out there. I can’t claim to be the oldest person out there. I thought Tony (Wheeler) had a good game. I thought the whole pack played well.”All in all, it was a solid opener for the Blue and White, kicking woes aside – Vail was 2-for-11 on conversions. As can be expected for the first time out, there were some lapses in continuity, breakdown balls and knock-ons. Of particular concern was the backline’s outside play, but that’s nothing that can’t be worked on in training come Tuesday and Thursday.
“We can just work on our mistakes, basically getting our ball-handling skills back together and just sort of focus more on the scrumming and running and keeping it from the opposition instead of giving it away,” said Greg Ridl, who had two tries of his own.Despite the rustiness, this fixture was never in doubt. Just four minutes in, Vail got its first try of the season. Dominick Walsh did the honors courtesy of passes off the scrum from Tarpey and Cameron Turner.Tarpey started his rampage when Vail executed a textbook lineout play initiated by Phil Bennett who made his first appearance for the team in three years.”I just did the thing where if I got the ball, I’m not going to run. I’m going to pass it. I’m too old to run with it,” Bennett joked. “We had some good guys throwing in today. They threw it right on the money. It was easy to catch and we got all our lineout balls. I enjoyed that. We haven’t got a big squad, but the guys that we do have are pretty strong. They’re committed, dedicated and we should be looking forward to the season.”Up 12-0, Vail had its best sequence of the day with Tarpey, Bennett and Brown all linking up to put Turner over the line. Tarpey, John Barker-Goldie and Turner added tries as Vail cruised into the half with a comfortable 34-7 lead.
The second half continued the theme as the Old Boys were chanting, “Thank you. Come again.” Tarpey scored two straight followed by a pair from fellow Westville Boys High School (South Africa) alum Ridl.”It was good fun,” Ridl said. “It was the first game out and you basically have a bit of fun. It sort of came together. It was a good first game.”Tarpey’s fifth ended the day, as Vail started the season on an upbeat note.”It was good. Everyone’s rusty,” Tarps said. “I thought the forwards played a little better than the back line. Our front three in the back played fine. Our outside wide, we’ve got to work. I think Greg Ridl and Phil Bennett were my two best players of the match by a longshot. They play a good game. It was fun. It was a good run. (Denver) never stopped trying. They had some big boys out there.”Lineouts: Turner finished the day with a gashed chin and a trip to the hospital. “You’ve got to enjoy Cameron. He plays two games in two years and goes to the hospital in both of them,” Tarpey laughed. … Old Boy sightings – Marino, Chris Chantler, Tim Parker and Bart Cuomo among others. Just for kicks: “I can’t say anything about Chris. He played until he was 40. I don’t think I’m going to do that, but he couldn’t kick,” Bennett said. “Hopefully, we’ll get someone from over shores who’s got a better boot than us old fogies.” … Vail is at Breckenridge Saturday at Kingdom Park. In international play, it was New Zealand 36, England 3 late Friday night. Condolences to the English contingent of the Vail RFC.
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