Virginia SOBs sitting pretty in Aspen
Aspen Times Staff Writer
With Hurricane Isabel ripping through their home state of Virginia, the Sons of Beaches rugby club is sitting pretty in Aspen and awaiting Sunday’s finals of the men’s 45-plus division in the 36th annual Ruggerfest.
In their Ruggerfest debut last year, the Norfolk, Va.-based SOBs captured the “oldest boys” crown with a perfect record of 5-0. And yesterday, in Day 1 action of the tournament (among other things back home), the SOBs kept their streak in tact.
“We had made the commitment to defend the title,” said SOB’s captain Johnny Ellis, about making the trip in the face of the storm.
The SOBs beat Boulder 23-12 and the Midwest Desperados 28-12 in pool play Thursday, securing a spot in Sunday’s 45-and-older championship game against Da Bombs from St. Louis.
With two days off, SOB players will use the time differently. Some will rest their beaten bodies, while others are hopping on planes to return to Virginia to assess the damage and check on family members before (if they’re lucky) flying back for the finals.
“We’re pretty banged up, we got a bunch of injuries in this match,” Ellis said after their victory over the Desperados. “They were strong – we’re very happy to win.”
Da Bombs had a long day, playing three matches before earning their spot in the finals. After beating the Colorado Senior Old Boys in the first match of the tournament 10-0, Da Bombs lost a close contest to Barbos O45 – another Colorado side – 14-13.
Then, after only an hour and a half of recovery time, Da Bombs came out strong, shutting out the Florida Old Boys, 19-0.
The men’s 45-and-older championship kicks off Sunday at 12:15 p.m. at Wagner Park.
The Gentlemen of Aspen Old Boys make their debut today in the men’s 35-and-older division. After a first round bye, the defending champs will face the winner of the Texas Old Boys-Chicago Griffins match at Wagner Park at 11 a.m.
Over concerns about the hurricane, the Potomac Athletic Club of Washington, D.C., withdrew from the tourney, giving the Midwest Old Boys a first round bye Friday.
“There are several Super League teams represented,” Ruggerfest director Doug Cigliana said of Friday’s Old Boys matches. “It should prove to be a very exciting bracket.”
Said Gent’s President Andrew Saltonstall, “All of the teams are fairly competitive; I couldn’t tell you who the favorite is.”
On Saturday, Ruggerfest’s premier Men’s and Women’s Open divisions begin pool play at Wagner and Rio Grande parks.
In the 12-team men’s field, the Gentlemen of Aspen A-side will be looking for their eighth consecutive, and 15th overall, Ruggerfest title.
The Gents open at 10 a.m. Saturday against Fort Collins at Wagner Park.
All championship matches will be staged Sunday at Wagner.
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