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Vail’s Old Boys back on the pitch

Ian Cropp
CVR Rugby PU 6-11
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VAIL – If you want to know the score of today’s rugby match between Vail’s Old Boys and Boulder at the Vail Athletic Field, don’t ask anyone on the pitch.The Old Boys’ Enronesque game reports have beguiled fans, reporters and allegedly even the IRS.”It’s amazing how after the game everyone talks about how they scored,” said Old Boys long-timer Bart Cuomo. “There could be one try in the game, and 14 guys will say they had one.””Two years ago, Boulder beat us, 16-14, and we told the reporter we won, 20-16,” Cuomo said. “The (Boulder) guys called us and said, ‘I thought we won.’ A year from now it’ll be 30-16. To find out what the score will actually be, you’ve gotta come out to the game.”Vail will have several chances for embellishment today when the Old Boys host Boulder for one match and then the Colorado Ol’ Pokes for two matches. Vail will field a mixed team with the Washington (D.C.) Poltroons against Boulder, a team many of the Old Boys tour with.Mike Monaco, who spent 10 years with the Pultroons before coming to Vail in 1998, just toured with his former team two weeks ago at Saranack Lake, N.Y.

“I can’t find a team that wants me,” joked Monaco, who thinks his services may be in higher demand as today’s games progress. “One thing about Old Boys is that by the second game, as long as you’re breathing and moving, they’ll ask you to play.”The over-40 (years old) match starts at 11 a.m., followed by the over-35 and then the over-50 match.Triple header?Although he’s still not quite “of age” for the over-50 team, Cuomo plans on hitting the field for all three matches.”We’ll take some timeouts along the way,” Cuomo said. “I used to be notorious for faking injuries, but in (Old Boys) matches, we tell the ref when we want a timeout, and most of the time he wants one, too.”

As much as the Old Boys love to disparage themselves, they still have plenty of skill and play to win.”It’s more competitive than guys think it is,” Cuomo said. “The guys take it seriously. But it’s not life or death. When you miss a tackle, you hope someone else is chasing him.”While the regulars like Cuomo, his brother Andrew, Monaco, John Nichols and John Purchase will be back with the Old Boys, Cameron Turning will be earning his first cap with the squad.Monaco expects the matches to be close but offered an infallible prediction.”You can already write the article if you want,” Monaco said, suggesting he will have scored two tries in a win.Don’t look ahead

After the Old Boys leave the pitch and race to the kegs, Vail’s A side will take on Boulder’s first 15.The Blue and White are coming off last week’s 28-25 win over Steamboat, another late-game come-from-behind victory.Vail player/Coach Steve MacKinnon hopes to pick up another win, but with less drama.”The balance of a game can rest on the first five or 10 minutes,” MacKinnon said. “If we can get off to a good start and get a few scores on the board, we’ll be OK.”Once again, the Blue and White will have to fill in some spots in the backline, as Freddy Waititi is out with a knee injury.”Losing Freddy at flyhalf is a big loss, but we’ve got a new guy (Gibson Weru) who has played internationally for Kenya,” MacKinnon said. “We lose one good player, but we get another.”

Boulder’s squad bears a resemblance to that of Steamboat, with a strong pack of forwards and experienced backs. Vail should match Boulder well up front with a starting pack of Will Monsour, Tony Maturi, Dan Buckland, Wolfgang Opel, Aggrey Omino, Brandon MacDonald, Brian Peters and Phil Bennett.MacKinnon, Roger Raper and Justin Henderson will be available as substitutions.”I had planned to start and get myself a good run, but I’ll have a run with Old Boys,” MacKinnon said.Some of the backs, including Greg Tarpey, Greg Ridl, Brighton Khumalo and Tom Vallentine, hope to add a try or two to their season totals.The Blue and White will try to pick up momentum today for next week’s rubber match against Aspen. Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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