Vail RFC wins first game of 2007
BRECKENRIDGE ” The Vail Rugby Football Club wasn’t going to get its Goose cooked two weeks in a row.
After losing the season opener last week to Steamboat, the Blue and White broke into the win column for the first time in 2007 with a 26-15 win at Breckenridge’s Kingdom Park against the Blue Goose.
The win was a step in the right direction, but not a cause for celebration, though.
“Our continuity was a lot better,” Vail player-coach Steve MacKinnon said. “In terms of the first half, we’re still lacking the killer instinct. There’s still a long ways to go. There is still a lot of improvement needed. A lot of new guys were getting their first run. Guys are still trying to acclimatize and this is even higher than Vail.”
“It’s good for team unity to get all the guys on the field,” said Brian Peters, who had Vail’s final two tries. “I didn’t get to play last week, so I was excited to get into this game.”
As is typical with Vail’s fixture at Breckenridge, it was a chippy affair.
“I was pleased with how discreet my guys were on punches,” MacKinnon said frankly. “They hid that well. We give as good as we get. I told all the guys not to take that sort of nonsense. If it’s psychological warfare they want to use, they’re going to lose that too.”
While Vail might have better getting the better part of the rough stuff, Breck was making the Blue and White play its style of game.
“We pushed them around a little bit,” Goose coach Peter Shafroth said. “If we can start minimizing mistakes, it was anybody’s game. I know they felt under pressure a lot of the game and I don’t think they’ve felt that in the past. That felt good.”
Breckenridge, despite going against a fierce wind, was able to put the first points of the game up with a kick from Joe Pizzi for a 3-0 lead.
Cameron Turner raced in to put Vail up 7-3. Trefor Davies sent Vail into intermission with a 14-3 advantage.
“They were crowding the fringes and Steve told us to get it wide,” Davies said. “I just made a fake to go wide and it opened a huge hole.”
Breckenridge felt comfortable with the deficit for two reasons. First, the Goose rallied from the exact same halftime margin against Glenwood Springs last week for a 31-24 victory. Second, Breck had the wind in the second half.
“I felt if we could keep it within 10, I thought the advantage was ours, as I called (the wind) the 16th man,” Shafroth said. “I felt really good.”
The Goose pulled to within 14-10 on the first of David Castilla’s two tries. But Vail started to get the ball out wide away from Breckenridge’s stout front pack and that was the difference.
Peters touched down twice and Vail iced its first win of the season.
“All things considered, Breckenridge is a stuffy team,” MacKinnon said. “They’ve got a really good forward pack. We probably played into their hands for the game. All our tries were scored out wide. We could have scored more.”
“I really thought I was going to set up for that third one,” Peters said. “The hat trick didn’t happen this week. There’s always next time.”
Next time is June 26 at Glenwood Springs for Vail (1-1). Breckenridge (1-2) is at Steamboat Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
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