Vail puts down the Defiance |

Vail puts down the Defiance

Chris Freud
Preston Utley/Vail DailyIt got very physical in Vails 34-18 win over Glenwood Saturday at the Vail Athletic Field.

VAIL – For the Vail Rugby Football Club’s Ted Browner, who played four years with Glenwood Springs, fixtures with the Defiance are a reunion of sorts.”It’s good to see the boys, but it’s not good to see their front row,” he said. “They’re huge and it hurts.”And that was the story of the day in Saturday’s fixture at the Vail Athletic Field as the match turned into a scrum-athon with Glenwood’s front pack pounding away at the Blue and White. Vail, however, managed to get outside enough to salvage a 34-18 win against a determined Defiance 15.”Our game never got going,” Vail head coach Steph Blair said. “The game was so slow we had a lot of starts and stops. They just centered us off the ball. We wanted to play a quicker game, but we just couldn’t keep the ball away from the set piece.”That set piece was the scrum. For the most, part Glenwood kept Vail’s backs inside, kept it in the Blue and White’s end and won scrum after scrum.”Glenwood has a huge pack,” Browner said. “The last thing we wanted to do against them was scrummage and we scrummaged against them all day long and they pushed us off the ball all day.”

‘I wasn’t all right’Vail looked like it was going to breeze in the opening minutes. Matt Palmer fed Tom Vallentine for an easy try and Brian Dalrymple converted for a 7-0 lead. Glenwood’s Ken Murphy put up a penalty kick and Dalrymple answered with one of his own.Glenwood pulled to within 10-8 with a bruising scrum from 5 meters out. Jim Hoffman did the honors for the Defiance.Vail looked much more like itself late in the first half when Browner connected with Brandon McDonald on a lineout. “Little Farmer” brought the ball down and got it to scrum half Vallentine. He swung it back to Greg Tarpey who gave it back to McDonald for the try. Dalrymple’s conversion was true and Vail led 17-8 at the half.Palmer started the second half for the Blue and White in fine fashion with a nifty scamper for a score. But the longest run of the day came later in the half from Dalrymple. “Bubba,” as he is better known in rugby circles, rumbled 65 meters for his second try of the season and was clearly in need of oxygen afterward.”I held my breath the whole way,” Dalrymple said. “Then, I missed the kick because I didn’t have any air. Greg Tarpey even said, ‘Phil, maybe you should take the kick.’ Phil (Bennett) said, ‘No, he’ll be all right.’ I wasn’t all right.”

Glenwood surgesDespite a 29-8 lead, the tempo of the game was exacting a toll on Vail. Glenwood put up two tries to pull within 11 points.”A lot of us scrum players have been playing together for many years, so we’re pretty tight,” Glenwood player/coach Fred Webber said. “We’re big and we have experience in the scrum. We were playing catch up being behind in the score. I felt like we were pressuring the ball on them.””We get the ball. We can score tries. It’s as simple as that,” Blair said. “When we win ball, we’ll be a threat.”Vail finally moved the ball back into the Defiance’s end late in the game and iced it, courtesy of a Dalrymple hit on a Defiance defender.”He was running perpendicularly across the pitch,” Dalrymple said. “He was running east-west as opposed to north-south He just left himself open and he didn’t look behind him to pass. I just took the opportunity to hit him as hard as I could.”

The ball went flying backward into welcoming arms of Paul Drugan who iced the game with a try.AspenVail upped its record to 3-0, but things start to get serious Saturday with the Blue and White’s annual trip down to Aspen. Vail knows that a similar effort against the Gentlemen will not come close to doing the trick.”We have a lot to work on,” Browner said. “Aspen’s pack won’t be as big as Glenwood’s, but we have a lot to work on. If we don’t get it right, we’ll be destroyed by Aspen.””It can’t get any worse,” Blair said. “We draw a line under that and say, ‘Hopefully, that’s the worst we’re going to play.’ We have to have our best week of training and really build ourselves up for that game. I don’t think we’ll perform at that level again.”

Breakdown ballsThe ageless Phil Bennett returned to the pitch for the first time this season and naturally got his picture in the paper. Can Chris Chantler be far behind? … Glenwood’s Murphy hurt his right knee in the second half and did not return to action. … Vail’s Greg Ridl sat out again with sore ribs, looking for a return against Aspen. … International results: New Zealand 21, Lions 3; South Africa 27, France 13; Australia 69, Italy 21 and Scotland 39, Romania 19.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or, Colorado

Support Local Journalism