Gents Old Boys on top again
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Featuring a lineup stacked with former Gents standouts ? a veritable “Who’s Who” of Aspen rugby over the years ? the Gentlemen of Aspen Old Boys stampeded to a second-straight over-35 Ruggerfest title Sunday at Wagner Park.
Led by scrum half and over-35 tourney MVP Paul “Gibbo” Gibson, the Gents Old Boys knocked off the British Old GITS side 29-6 in Sunday’s final and survived the 15-team division unbeaten.
“We’ve got a few guys who’ve played together for the last 10 years, won a few Super Leagues together, and we still like to get together, get after it and have a little fun,” Gibson, the Aspen Old Boys captain, said.
Making his 19th consecutive Ruggerfest appearance, Mark Williams, Aspen’s all-time leading scorer, joined forces with recently retired teammates from Aspen’s U.S. national championship-winning side, like Bo Buck, Ian Walker, Dougald Gillies and Lance Sigley, in the trouncing of the GITS, the London-based Gentlemen’s International Touring Side.
After two GITS were sent to the sin-bin for a fight in the 18th minute, Aspen capitalized with tries by Gillies and Roddy Quidiquit in their absence. Williams added the conversions to give Aspen a 14-0 lead.
GITS’ Martin Fairn, a former captain for Coventry, added a three-point penalty kick in the 27th minute (and the team’s only other points in the second half), while Aspen punched in its third try of the half on a wide run by Mike Smith. Gibson added a penalty kick and a try in the second half to seal the 29-6 win.
“Tough team and very fast,” said GITS captain Darren Cassidy of Oxford, England. “Much faster in the breakdown than us, but we caused ?em some problems. We were disappointed with having two players off when they scored all their points, but it happens. They were the better team on the day, but I think we acquitted ourselves pretty well.”
“We didn’t see many of ?em out last night,” Cassidy said with a chuckle, “and we were looking for them. Must’ve been tucked up in bed getting ready.”
@ATD Sub heds:Over 45s
@ATD body copy: Injected with the speed and boot of former Aspen player and Glenwood Springs resident Jim Montaine, the Norfolk, Va., Sons of Beaches topped the California Bald Eagles 3-0 Sunday for the over-45 old boys Ruggerfest crown at Wagner Park.
Montaine, the over-45 tourney MVP, scored the only points of the game on a penalty kick in the first half to give the rookie Ruggerfest team a narrow victory.
In the opening day of Ruggerfest on Thursday, during pool play in the over-45 division, the Sons of Beaches escaped their first meeting with the Bald Eagles 14-12. Sunday’s rematch was similarly epic.
“Both teams are just beat to a pulp,” said Sons of Beaches captain Johnny Ellis, a 54-year-old life insurance salesman from Norfolk, Va. “It was survival rugby ? not real pretty ? but we made it stick with three points.”
Composed largely of players from the Norfolk Blues final four national club championship team of 1982, along with a smattering of Life College alums like Montaine, the Sons of Beaches went 5-0 at the tournament in the five-team field.
“It’s a tremendous result,” Ellis said. “Lotta hard work went into it and we did what we had to do to win. We beat a very good team.”
Prior to Sunday’s final, Ellis said the team had already finalized one decision: “We will return.”
@ATD Sub heds:Women’s
@ATD body copy: In just the second year of women’s rugby at Ruggerfest since it was disbanded in the 1970s, the Twin Cities Amazons of Minnesota rolled to victory in their first Ruggerfest appearance.
In Sunday’s final, the Amazons blanked the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union 17-0. Captain Justine Sleezer, Tonie Wolf and Kit Thompson scored tries for the Amazons in Sunday’s final at Wagner, and Linda Morrison added one two-point conversion.
On Saturday, the Amazons stormed into the finals with blowouts of Air Force (29-0) and ERRFU (24-5).
“We were supposed to come last year ? then 9-11 happened,” said Sleezer, whose team finished fourth for the U.S. national championship last year. “We came because they said they had beautiful pitches, beautiful peaks and ice cold beer. And, yes, the Aspen hospitality has been tremendous.”
The Amazons, who celebrated their 20th anniversary last year, say they’ll be back next year too.
“We had some hard games,” Sleezer said. “Good physical games.”
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