Gentlemen playing near and far
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club is fielding teams at tournaments in two states this weekend.
Aspen’s 7s team travels to Fort Worth, Texas, for the Western 7s Championship on Saturday, while Aspen’s summer league side plays in Glenwood Springs Saturday and Sunday at the annual Ski Town Tournament.
Glenwood Springs’ Defiance Rugby Club is hosting this year’s edition of the Ski Town tourney, the site of which rotates among perennial participants like Vail, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge and Park City.
Aspen, last year’s host, is the defending champion.
“But this will be a big event for Defiance,” said Lance Sigley, Aspen’s summer league coach, noting that the club is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this weekend.
“They’ve gotten a lot better over the years, and they’ll be one of the teams that we definitely need to watch out for. And, of course, Vail will be there to make some noise as well.”
Defiance finished third in the previous two tournaments, behind Aspen and Vail – rivals that have met for the Ski Town championship the last six years.
The Denver Harlequins (last year’s Division II state champion) and the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union team (a collection of the top college players) could sneak into Sunday’s title game with an upset or two.
Park City, Steamboat, Santa Fe, Breck and Jackson Hole are also in the tourney.
The tourney opens at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday with Vail vs. Steamboat in one bracket and Aspen vs. Jackson Hole in the other. Each team plays four 40-minute games on Saturday.
Last weekend, the Gentlemen traveled to Steamboat for the annual Cow Pie Classic tourney. Aspen won its opening match 48-0 over Boulder, tied Wyoming 10-10 in its second, then lost to the Utah Crusaders 7-5 in its third and final match.
“We didn’t win like we wanted to, but we still had a good weekend,” said Sigley. “As long as the guys learn something, and we come out knowing that we made a couple mistakes that could’ve turned the game, it’s great for the club.
“Naturally, every team wants to beat Aspen, but if we can go out with a young group of players and mold them into our style, then we’ve achieved something in the end.”
Tyson Meek, a versatile back from the University of Oklahoma, “was a ringer” in Steamboat, Sigley said. Hooker Hayden Horsford and second-row Wayne Lister-James also stood out for the Gents, Sigley said.
The Ski Town championship game is scheduled for noon on Sunday, preceded by the consolation championship at 10:30 a.m.
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