Blue Goose takes beating, finds positives
BRECKENRIDGE – If you take it half by half, the Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Club played Vail even on Saturday: Vail won the first 40 minutes, and the Goose won the second.
So, despite the lopsided final score – 45-17 – the Breckenridge club came away from the season’s first full-squad game at Kingdom Park with some momentum.
“We wanted to win the second half, and we went out and did it,” said Blue Goose coach Peter Shafroth, whose team out-scored Vail 17-14 in the final 40 minutes. “We were totally clobbered in the first half (31-0), and most teams would have just quit and said “let’s go to the bar,’ and these guys pulled it back together and played a great second half.”
It was a day for the “funny talkers,” as overseas imports are sometimes called by their ski town teammates.
Vail was sporting three new South Africans and one new Irish player, all of whom arrived in the Vail Valley on Tuesday. The players made an immediate impact.
South Africans Mark Davies and Andrew D’Aubrey accounted for 28 of Vail’s points, combining for four tries and four conversions. Davies started the scoring seven minutes into the game, and Brian Dalrymple bowled through for Vail’s second score, opening a first-half run from which the Goose didn’t recover until the intermission.
“It wasn’t the greatest team effort we put on the field, but it’s early, so we’re not too worried at all,” said Vail coach Steve Doyle. “I was trying a few different combinations. Some worked, some didn’t. But there’s a lot of spirit in the camp as usual, so we got through it.”
The Goose, meanwhile, unveiled its own weapon from abroad – Andrew Hulbert. The Englishman arrived in Summit County this week to be a player/coach. His countryman, Nick Bridge, is due to arrive later this month and will fill the same role.
Hulbert got the Goose on the board early in the second half with a successful penalty kick then squirted free for a long run down the left side, beating Vail to the try line for the Goose’s first try.
Hulbert was shaken up on the play and couldn’t attempt the conversion, but club president Buck Goroski filled in, and his boot bounced off the crossbar and through.
“Vail is always a good side, and we tend to get buried against them over the last few years,” Hulbert said. “I think we’re pretty happy with the second half. There was plenty of improvement.”
Goose veteran Bryan Scott-Williams capped a late Goose push with a try on the final play of the game, and Hulbert kicked the conversion.
The lopsided first half provided plenty to work on for the Blue Goose before its next game Saturday against the Denver Highlanders on the same field.
The club struggled with turnovers, due mainly to the inexperience of its backs.
“We gave away a lot of possession in the first half,” Shafroth said. “We were trying to play out to our backs too much, and there was just way too much inexperience. If we work on our tackling and our ball-handling skills, I think there will be a humongous improvement.”
Kenny Brown and Craig Clark also scored tries for Vail.
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