Gents of Aspen prep for rival Glenwood
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Gentlemen of Aspen are looking to redeem themselves this weekend – and looking for players.
The sluggish economy continues to hamper the club’s recruiting efforts. They enter Saturday’s home game against rival Glenwood Springs, which narrowly beat Aspen last month, with a squad packed with talent but short on depth.
“We are struggling to fill the team – apparently this is what it was like back in the ’70s and ’80s,” interim Gents coach Chris Morrow said Thursday. “We’ve got an ad in a rugby magazine and I’ve got people calling me all the time, but the tough thing is getting them jobs.
“Right now, we’re mainly made up of people in the valley and all the way down to Grand Junction. Actually, guys want to come play because the name and reputation we had before is still good. We have to work on keeping that going, that’s for sure.”
The club’s numbers have received a modest boost from its successful Junior Gents program, and their roster now includes players between the ages of 17 and 51.
Also, a new contingent that has signed on to play with Aspen’s sevens squad – which heads to Kansas next week to begin vying for a national title – has been suiting up for the 15s of late, too.
Still, the Gents traveled to Steamboat Springs on Saturday with just 14 in tow. To fill out their roster, they sought out the assistance of a football player from Wheaton College (Ill.) who happened to be standing on the sidelines. He was given a few tips, some socks and some shorts and ushered onto the pitch.
The new guy caught on rather quickly; he scored two tries, fueling a run in which the Gents scored 35 unanswered points en route to a 35-5 victory.
“We have a pretty talented squad and could have competed in Division I this year,” Morrow said. “But it’s a numbers game. You can’t go into Division I without 25 to 30 guys; we have 17 to 18 and injuries play a factor. We’ve scaled it back to the Mountain League, and it’s all about rebounding and getting ready for Ruggerfest.”
First, the Gents have some business to attend to in their 44th home opener at 3 p.m. Saturday at Rio Grande Park. Rival Defiance pulled out a tight 32-28 victory – their second against Aspen in the last 19 years -when the two squads last squared off, on May 28.
The Gents, who trailed by as many as 15, pulled to within one at 29-28 down the stretch, but Glenwood sealed the win with a kick in the waning minutes.
“A lot of players are looking forward to it. It will be good to have the home field advantage and definitely the home crowd,” Morrow said. “[That victory] definitely got their confidence up. Hopefully we can change that this weekend.”
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