Defense, weather lead Vail to 24-0 victory over Steamboat
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” The Vail rugby team sure knows how to crash a party.
The Blue and White hosted defending Mountain League champions Steamboat Springs on Saturday at the Vail Athletic Field. Steamboat planned to celebrate a second-straight title with a post-game banquet.
Not so fast.
Vail easily handled its rival, cruising to a 24-0 victory. The Blue and White dominated every phase of the match with their physical style of play. The victory clinches the Mountain League title for Vail.
“Shutting them out was fun,” Vail player/coach Greg Tarpey said. “How’s that for spoiling a party?”
Vail’s physical play and the weather gave Steamboat almost zero chance to score in the first half. Rain spit on players throughout the opening frame, and the wind blew hard in Vail’s direction, giving it a distinct advantage.
Trevor Davies took advantage of a Steamboat mistake by drilling a penalty kick to put Vail ahead 3-0. The wind made it hard for Steamboat to advance the ball past midfield, helping the Blue and White take a 10-0 lead into halftime.
When it came time for Vail to play into the wind in the second half, the wind and rain vanished just before the referee but the ball in play.
“The god’s helped us play today,” Tarpey said. “It cleared up for us in the second half. We played the elements and we played smart. We forced them to play rugby. You can’t beat us when you are playing in your own half the whole time.”
Much like the first half, Vail controlled the pace after the break. The Blue and White methodically worked the ball down field for their second try, extending the lead to 17-0.
Brian “Bubba” Dalrymple put an exclamation point on the victory with a run from 30 yards out for the last try of the game. Dalrymple eluded numerous Steamboat defenders on the score.
“That was the first try I’ve scored in four or five years,” Dalrymple said. “I smelled it. I thought, I’m not getting any younger, I better get the try or it could be another 10 years before I score another one.”
The Vail defense took care of the rest. Steamboat only seriously threatened to score just a handful of times in the match.
“The tackling was unbelievable,” Tarpey said. “Bubba flattened people. To lose as many lineup balls as we did and still dominate, it was a great effort.”
With the Mountain Trophy in hand, the Vail rugby team only has one more match this season. On Aug. 30, the Blue and White host rival Aspen at the Vail Athletic Field.
Vail Old Boys stay perfect
Everyone knows when the Vail Old Boys are about to take the pitch. The smell of Icy Hot reaches all the way down to the front range.
The nose tingling cream worked its magic on Saturday. Vail beat the Colorado Old Boys 31-5 at the Vail Athletic Club.
Long before play started, the Old Boys worked their flawless pre-game routine. For some, it started with the Breakfast of Champions ” McDonald’s. The meal was followed by endless chit-chat and minimal stretching.
Even the cold and wet conditions did little to slow Vail down. In fact, the Old Boys don’t have any speed to began with.
“At our level of play, the weather doesn’t affect our speed,” Mike Monaco said.
It didn’t take long for the Icy Hot to kick in and the Old Boys to warm up. Monaco bull-rushed through four Colorado defenders for the first try of the game. After the match, Monaco made sure everyone knew he scored three tries (It was actually only that one).
The Old Boys were cruising with a 26-0 lead when birthday boy Bart Cuomo scored the try of the day. Cuomo ” who will celebrate his 50th birthday on Tuesday “sprinted all the way from midfield, racing past two defenders for the try.
The long run left Cuomo a little winded. With his teammates searching for the nearest oxygen tank, Cuomo found an empty lawn chair and started heaping praise on himself.
“Bart doesn’t have wheels,” Monaco said. “He has two flats. By the time he got the try, we were almost out of daylight.”
Behind defensive stalwart Dave “Coggie” Shioji, Vail held Colorado scoreless throughout the match until the last few minutes when Colorado broke through for a try.
“They cheated on that last one,” Monaco said. “Who’s going to run that far after playing for 35 minutes?”
With the win, the Old Boys keep their perfect record intact. They even managed to outscore their opponent this time.
Some of the Old Boys returned to the pitch an hour later to compete in the over 50 years old game. Monaco again dominated ” at least that’s what he tried telling people. The Old Boys’ self-proclaimed all-time leading scorer left a wake of defenders at his ankles when he scored the final try of the game.
Afterwards, Monaco presented himself with the game-ball, drawing mild applause.
Sports writer Ian Smith can be reach at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.