Steamboat wraps up league title
Vail, CO Colorado
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS ” When it came to the last four years of Steamboat Springs Rugby, it always seemed a key ingredient was missing.
Whether it was inexperience, or a lack of talent, Steamboat always seemed one element short.
On Saturday at Whistler Field, all of that changed.
The green and orange not only found the right recipe for success, they emphatically downed their biggest rival in Vail for the fourth time this year to do it.
With the right amount of local talent, some experienced players, a top-notch coach and three Scotsmen who made their mark, Steamboat rugby beat Vail 42-14, capturing the Mountain League title.
“It’s been a great year,” Steamboat captain Michael Hurley said. “To win the league, I mean last year we were so close. We lost to Vail three times by less than three points, so we knew that extra 5 percent would get it done.”
“We we’re 0-3 against Vail last year and we were 4-0 against them this year,” Steamboat’s Jake Silverman added. “Yeah, it feels good to hand it right back at them.”
On Saturday, Steamboat showed why it’s the class of the league in improving its record to 15-1.
After Vail was able to keep it close through the first half ” trailing just 20-9 at the break ” Steamboat’s depth and talent proved to be the deciding factors in the 90-degree weather.
From the outset, however, Vail was at a distinct disadvantage.
Playing with only 15 players ” and 14 in the second half because of injury ” Vail didn’t have enough left as the last 40 minutes wore down.
Steamboat pushed its lead to 27-9 when Alistair “Big Al” Dalgleish pushed across for a Steamboat try and a 27-9 lead.
Vail answered right back with a try of its own to make it 27-14, but Steamboat used its depth to put on two more tries and leave the game out of reach.
“This heat and this altitude you have to have substitutions,” Vail coach and player Steve MacKinnon said. “They had that in abundance and we held them in the first half but we pretty much just ran out of steam.”
Maybe the biggest assist of the season for Steamboat goes to Chris Baumann who brought over the three Scotsmen – Dalgleish, Allan Steel and Graeme Blackwood ” after playing with them in the winter.
“I think the three Scotsmen made the team,” said Steel, who along with the other two head back to Scotland on Tuesday. “No, but the whole team overall, it’s been wonderful.”
MacKinnon, who played on the same team with the three Steamboat Scots in Scotland, said if there was a team and a group of guys who deserved to win the Rocky Mountain League title it was the boys from Steamboat.
“Congratulations to Steamboat and we’ll gladly relinquish our title to them guys,” he said. “They deserved the victory and we’ll until next year and maybe get our revenge.”
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