Vail Rugby makes Ski Town finals
GLENWOOD SPRINGS –The Vail Rugby Club did what it needed to do.
After polishing off Steamboat and Breckenridge in earlier Saturday games, Vail completed its way into today’s championship game of the Ski Town Tournament by posting a 20-7 win on the Defiance Rugby team of Glenwood Springs.
The noon championship match pitting Vail against Aspen’s summer league team will be played at Gates Soccer Park on the campus of Colorado Mountain College in South Glenwood.
Defiance, 2-0, with victories over Breckenridge and Steamboat, had the chance to pin an upset on 2-0 Vail and reach the championship final. But, the locals had other plans – along with some unexpected help from Defiance.
On the kickoff, Defiance was called offside for having men in front of the ball, according to the referee. The violation gave Vail control.
And Vail, who had routed Defiance, 46-12, in a previous match at Glenwood Park, seized the error and rammed it down the local team’s throat.
Defiance withstood Vail’s first charge on goal. But, couldn’t bail themselves out of trouble the second time around.
Vail scored, then missed the try.
It was the first of bad tidings that would puzzle Defiance throughout the first half.
“We were just overplaying and nervous. Vail got two quick tries and we lost our confidence,” Defiance club president Tom Sullivan said of the team’s initial problems.
After sputtering for 15 minutes, Defiance appeared to be regaining momentum. But, two strong offensive pushes were thwarted by turnovers.
Vail gobbled up the second of two Defiance fumbles for another score just before halftime for a big lead.
“We didn’t play a particular good game, Sullivan added. “But, you have to give Vail credit, they kept control and had a good kicking game.”
The lead widened to 20-0 in the second half before Defiance scored.
“We put Rob Hurley in the game, and we picked up a little bit,” said Sullivan. “He had an impact for us in the second half.”
ERRFU, earned it’s way to the Plate Game by the narrowest of margins.
They, along with Group 2 teams Park Hole, a combined team of players from Park City, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyo., and the Denver Harlequins, all finished Saturday’s pool play with 1-2 win-loss records.
The logjam of the standings was resolved by calculating the total points scored in games played on Saturday by each of the three clubs.
ERRFU got to advance by one point. ERRFU amassed 40 total points to the Harlequins’ 39. Park Hole finished with 33 points, eliminating them from the tournament.
Aspen rolled through its bracket.
They began with a 31-0 blanking of Park Hole, rolled to a 55-5 win over ERRFU and concluded Saturday by thrashing the Harlequins, 31-3.
Vail had just an easy time winning the Group 1 bracket.
The Blue and White downed Steamboat, 44-7 then overtook Breckenridge, 17-10, before the Defiance win.