Gentlemen looking to silence Vail rugby
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Coming off a victorious weekend at the King of the Mountain Tournament in Breckenridge, the Gentlemen of Aspen rugby club travels to Vail Saturday looking to deliver a silencing blow.
“They’re already trumpeting bullshit,” Richard Dyer, Aspen’s summer league coach, said earlier this week. “Those guys need to watch what they say in the papers.”
This edgy relationship shared by Aspen and Vail (all other, non-rugby issues aside) dates to early July, when Vail beat Aspen in Aspen for the first time in years.
A month earlier, however, Aspen won its sixth-straight USA Rugby National Championship. Save one, none of Aspen’s “A-side” players were on the field that day, a fact lost on Vail, which celebrated “David and Goliath” style.
In late July, Aspen topped Vail for the Ski Town Tournament title to even the score on the summer, and now, according to coach Dyer, “Vail’s calling this game the ‘decider.'”
Last Saturday, Aspen went 4-0 en route to the championship at the King of the Mountain tourney in Breckenridge. Aspen topped Breck and Colorado Springs before overcoming a 19-5 deficit at halftime to beat the Denver Harlequins in the semifinals. In the finals against the Denver Highlanders, a team that beat a Scottish touring side in the other semifinal, Aspen won 17-3.
Vail, meanwhile, played at Fort Collins, winning easily 74-0.
“They didn’t show a lot of respect for the Fort Collins team after thumping them,” Dyer said. “But that’s about what we’ve come to expect from them.”
And so the stage is set for Saturday at Vail.
“It’ll be tougher than last time, it’s a home game for them. We couldn’t have been more fired up last time, but we’ll make sure we’re at the top of our game.”
Dyer planned a “physical” week of practice for the Gents, and expects a rowdy crowd at the pitch Saturday. Several of Aspen’s players who came for the summer college break are returning to school, so Dyer expects a greater mix of new, young talent with the veterans as the team gears up for the 35th annual Ruggerfest Tournament in Aspen, Sept. 19-22, looking for a seventh straight title.
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After falling through a trapdoor in his Telluride home a couple of weeks ago, Chris Busbee wasn’t sure if he’d be able to keep his streak going. He had run in every New York City Marathon since 1998 and was going to run it virtually this year in Aspen before his spill put all that in jeopardy.