Blue Goose takes home fifth straight title in Breckenrdige
summit daily news
Summit County, Co Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE ” Sure, there were probably more crushed beer cans than crushing hits at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre rugby tournament at Kingdom Park in Breckenridge.
But if anyone was to question the seriousness of Saturday’s matches, Brian Jones’ left eye would give some quick answers.
Squinting past the purple, pulsating lump engulfing his left cheek bone, Jones couldn’t help but smile as he reflected on the day.
“It definitely gets physical out there,” he said. “Everyone wants to win it.”
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Fortunately for Jones and the rest of his Gentlemen of the Blue Goose teammates, the hometown team claimed its fifth straight Massacre title.
“It feels good, as good as any of them,” Jones said, obviously referring to the win and not his eye.
On a windy day, 14 men’s and women’s teams duked it out for 8 hours over a frozen, snow-covered baseball field for a chance to claim the Tommy Gun Trophy ” a wooden structure carved into the shape of two guns given to the winning squads.
The Glendale Olde Girls took top honors on the women’s side of the bracket, outdueling the hometown Summit County squad 1-0 in the final.
“Everybody’s out there to have fun. If you happen to win, it’s just a bonus,” Glendale player Paula Bailey said.
As crowds lined the field, grubbing on hot dogs and gulping some beer, the scene surrounding the mayhem on the pitch was that of a winter barbecue. The concession stands at the park were opened for spectators and competitors to get some food or warm drinks, and kegs were set out for people ” of legal age ” to enjoy a frosty one.
While people enjoyed themselves trolling through the park, they also had the chance to witness 24 total games between the men’s and women’s divisions.
Unlike a normal rugby match, the Massacre featured 14-minute contests, consisting of two 7-minute halves. Each team played 10 players, and tries were counted as a single point.
The Blue Goose began its title defense with a 0-0 tie against the University of Denver, but then topped both Colorado Springs and the Durango Rhinos 1-0 to close out pool play.
The Breckenridge-based squad then dominated the Denver Halequins 3-0 in the semifinals before moving on to play the Fort Collins Flamingos in the finals.
Only a few minutes into the final game, a Flamingos player broke free into Goose territory. Nearing the end line, the player was taken down by a nasty and deep pothole in the snow, leaving him sprawled on the ground and the ball safely back in the hands of the Goose.
Jones put Breck on top 1-0 when he scooped up a loose ball near the Fort Collins end line and dove in for the try.
“Just trying to give good support off Dan,” Jones said of the play, in which his teammate got flattened by a brutal tackle. “I just got behind him and the ball just popped out of there on that hit and went right in front of me. Not too much work on my part.”
As time was winding down in the second half, Fort Collins made another break for it. A forward broke loose and was free down the sideline. But the Goose’s Jeff Eckert chased him down, tackling him at the 1-yard line as the final buzzer went off.
“We were one up on them, and I just tried to get a hold of him,” Eckert said of the play. “Time ran out, I didn’t know that, but the time just ran out after. … The conditions were tough. Luckily, I pulled it off without falling in any of the potholes.”
The tackle sealed the win and championship for the Goose.
Jones took hold of the Tommy Gun Trophy in his left hand and balanced a Solo cup in his right at the tourney’s closing ceremony.
“Number five!” he yelled, before promptly downing the rest of his beer.
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