Vail rugby surges past Aspen 17-12; Gents finish summer with 9-3 record
VAIL — It’s a patchy patch of grass, but it’s seen a bit of history.
And the west end of the Vail Athletic Field is never better when the Vail Rugby Football Club is driving toward it during the second half of a match against The Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Club.
The old boys — the alumni of the Vail RFC gather there — along with their families, perhaps the future props and flyhalves of the team, as well as the nascent Vail Women’s RFC gather.
Vail erased a 12-7 halftime deficit with 10 points in the final 40 minutes headed toward the populated, noisy, opinionated and lubricated side of the pitch for a 17-12 win over the Gents on Saturday.
“It’s awesome. This is rugby right here,” Vail coach Mose Timoteo said. “The old boys, the women(‘s team), the families, all their kids. That’s rugby. It’s a family.”
And the Vail rugby family is always happy after beating Aspen.
Vail was sloppy early, allowing the Gents a good part of the possession. The Blue and White’s Eric Folson touched down for a try midway through the first half, and Harrison Howe converted to level the match at 7.
Aspen pushed one over late in the first half for a 12-7 advantage.
“I think it’s us,” Timoteo said about the team’s halftime talk. “We don’t talk about them. It’s us. We dictate the tempo the way we play. We cannot wait and just watch first and decide to do something. We had to come out firing.”
And that was evident as the second half started. Vail imposed itself physically, possessed and kept in the noisy west end of the pitch, where the fans were all too eager to offer the referee (and anyone else, for that matter) advice.
Jasaen Davis got the try to tie the game, and Howe was true for a 14-12 lead.
“It’s very fun, Davis said of his try. “It’s more fun when you get it from the team. Everyone is doing their jobs to set you up.”
And then Vail unveiled its secret weapon — Timoteo. Not only is he coaching the local side, but he’s a former Eagle, or member of the U.S. National team, with 32 caps (appearances) to his credit.
“It was just to calm the boys down,” Timoteo said.
Vail kept working the clock and the possession game capped by a Matias Kalm penalty kick as the whistle blew.
Note: The game was the final of the summer season for Aspen, which finishes with a 9-3 overall record. The Gents will next host their annual Ruggerfest tournament from Sept. 19-22 in Aspen.
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