Vail rugby defeats Aspen, 48-27; off to Ski Town
ASPEN — Vail beats Aspen.
There are three words that warm the hearts of anyone who has ever worn the blue and white of the Vail Rugby Football Club.
While Steamboat Springs and Vail appear on a crash course for this year’s Mountain League title, those red and black tops with the little leaf just inspire a Pavlovian reaction in Vail’s players and old boys alike.
The Blue and White took care of business on Saturday, plowing the Gents, 48-27, in Aspen, to remain a perfect 10-0 during this summer’s campaign.
“A good performance by the lads today against a very tenacious Aspen side,” said club president Chris Chantler, who was filling in for regular coach Brian Dalrymple. “It was a bit scrappy at times but any win against Aspen is a magnificent performance in my book.”
Vail came out with a bang as Preston Weigel scored off the kickoff with Alex Burnam converting the two-pointer for a quick 7-0 lead after just one minute of play. Vail maintained the tempo with Marcus Large scoring again in the corner putting the visitors up 12- 0 at the 10-minute mark. However, continuous mistakes from Vail allowed Aspen to creep into the game with the Gents splitting the uprights for three.
Vail captain Zac Worth got his teammates to refocus, inspiring a dynamic drive, consisting of four continuous forward patterns and creating an overlap to smash through the defense and score. Burnam’s conversion made the score 19-3.
This pressure continued with Bob Barrett scoring a brilliant try under the posts carrying two Aspen defenders on his back. Again, Burnam was true and Vail seemed in control at 26-3.
Aspen had a different opinion and closed the half out with a well-deserved converted try, leaving the score Vail 26, Aspen 10. The Gents started the second half with more confidence capitalizing on an uncharacteristic mistake from full back veteran Bryan Maroney allowing Aspen to exploit a one man overlap to score, narrowing the gap to just 11 points.
Scoring continued back and forth in what was a shaky 20-minute performance by Vail leaving the score at 38-22 and far from decided.
THINGS GET TESTY
Maroney redeemed himself by scoring a well-merited try. As is typical in this rivalry, things got testy and the referee handed out yellow cards to Aspen players for foul play.
Aspen still managed to add another try onto the scoreboard with five minutes to go closing the gap to 43-27. With two minutes remaining, Alex Maynard closed out the match with a sensational try in the corner sealing a sweet victory.
Large won Man of Match
Vail is off to Park City, Utah, this weekend for the annual Ski Town Tournament, and then back at home to close out the season against Steamboat. A win against Steamboat will give Vail a fifth Mountain League Championship in six seasons.
The question on many people’s minds after the Birds of Prey giant slalom at Beaver Creek on Sunday: Who is Tommy Ford?