Gents punish Vail on way to first win of season
It was scrappy and stunted, riddled with referee whistles and, at times, just plain ugly – not what Aspen rugby fans have grown accustomed to from the Gentlemen of Aspen. And especially in the Gents’ summer league season-opener at home, against rival Vail on Fourth of July weekend. But the Gents delivered a convincing victory nonetheless, 31-5, Saturday afternoon at Wagner Park downtown. And it wasn’t entirely devoid of rugged drama and cringe-worthy collisions, either. Gents veteran Cameron Adams, the eight man, gave several hundred fans on hand something to cheer about with punishing runs through, over and around would-be Vail tacklers throughout the match.
Adams also scored one of the Gents’ five tries of the day. Vail, now 3-1 this summer, scored its only points on a try by wing Gregg Ridl with about eight minutes remaining in the second half.Aspen’s Spencer Scott, Ian Boston, Brian Hightower and Kent Curry scored one try each. Curry, who is also the kicker, added six more points, going three-of-five on after-try conversions.”The first game is always scrappy,” said Adams, the vice captain. “Good first step, though. There’s still plenty of work to be done with fitness.” The Aspen lineup featured veterans like Mark Williams and Hightower in the backs and Adams, Mark Wisroth and Sean Maguire in the forwards, but, on the whole, new faces outnumbered old ones. Adams said he’s still trying to learn everyone’s name.
“We didn’t play as well as we’d like to, so we’ll have to build on it and get better,” said Williams, who is a player/coach this summer. Williams also said it will take time for the team to get familiar with one another and gel.”But it won’t be long,” he said. “And we’ll do nothing but improve. We won’t be near as bad as that from here on.”Vail’s Greg Tarpey credited Aspen for capitalizing on Vail’s mistakes.
“Our set pieces let us down. We lost line-outs on critical plays, and Aspen is a team that makes you pay for your mistakes,” Tarpey said. “But they put a good team out there for Fourth of July weekend – and they always do. It was good to see guys like Willie [Mark Williams] and Hightower out there mixing it up.”Vail and Aspen will meet again later this month for the annual Ski Town Tournament, July 23-24. The tourney shifts from mountain town to mountain town every year, and this year Vail is playing host.First up for Aspen, however, is a road trip to Steamboat Springs for a tournament on Saturday, July 9.Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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