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Late penalty kick foils Gentlemen

Aspen Times Staff Report

Belmont Shore turned out the lights on the Gentlemen of Aspen, again.

Visiting Belmont Shore Rugby Club from Long Beach, Calif., stunned the Gentlemen 20-17 Saturday afternoon with a late, game-winning penalty kick as time was about to expire.

The loss ended Aspen’s bid for another Rugby Super League title – a crown the Gentlemen first won in 1997.

But last year, Belmont Shore stopped Aspen’s bid for a repeat in the Rugby Super League.

The Gentlemen did go on to win USA Rugby national club titles last year and again this year (capturing that honor for the third consecutive season).

But once again, Belmont Shore stopped Aspen’s bid in the Rugby Super League – in Saturday’s Rugby Super League semifinal at Rio Grande Field.

The Gentlemen were missing several players who had commitments with the U.S. Eagles.

As well, the Gentlemen were coming off the emotional weekend of the USA Rugby final four in Cincinnati last weekend.

The Gents won two big games in Cincinnati – shutting out San Mateo and then coming from behind to beat Golden Gate in the club rugby championship game – played in the stifling heat of Ohio.

On Saturday before an entertained crowd at Rio Grande Field, the Gentlemen fell behind early to the big, powerful and explosive team from Belmont Shore.

The visitors from California put together scoring opportunities to take a 17-5 lead through much of the Saturday semifinal.

But Aspen rallied to tie the match in the second half at 17-all.

And then as the time appeared to be running out, Belmont Shore was awarded a penalty kick. The Californians converted to take a 20-17 lead. Less than 30 seconds later, the game was whistled to a conclusion with Belmont Shore taking the victory on Aspen’s pitch.

Belmont Shore will advance to the Rugby Super League final against the winner of the Denver Barbarians vs. Washington, D.C.

Also on Saturday, the Gentlemen of Aspen (B and C sides) defeated the Defiance Rugby Club of Glenwood Springs 55-5 in a preliminary match to the Rugby Super League semifinal.


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