Steamboat rugby beats Breck

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Finally, after several canceled or postponed games and one loss at less than full strength, the Steamboat Rugby Club is ready for the heart of its schedule.

On Saturday, Steamboat defeated Breckenridge handily, 31-7, at the Breckenridge Blue Goose.

Bo Cartwright scored two tries, and Tony McKendrick, Mark Hermacinski and Bill Wernig scored one try each, captain Michael Hurley said.

Steamboat had three conversions on tries to score 31 points. A try is worth five points each, and a conversion kick is worth two points.

"Breckenridge has the highest rugby field in North America," Hurley said. "It's 9,500 feet above sea level. It's like playing an 80-minute game of rugby, soccer or basketball at Four Points Hut."

Steamboat started the season with a postponement after Breckenridge received six inches of snow June 4. Steamboat then lost to Vail but was missing several key players. Aspen could not attend the June 18 game, giving Steamboat a win. Steamboat then defeated Breckenridge on Saturday to move to 2-1 on the season.

Hurley noted two people in particular -- Ron Assad and Wernig -- have taken their games to another level this season.

"Billy Wernig is aging like a fine wine in the game of rugby," Hurley said. "The older he gets, the better he gets."

The win against Breckenridge gives Steamboat coveted points in the race for the inaugural Rocky Mountain Cup awarded to the top rugby club in the Colorado mountains.

"The team is just starting to show signs of the vast potential we have," Hurley said.

A group of new players and the group of established veterans will have this week and next week to practice in preparation for the annual Cowpie Classic, Steamboat's rugby tournament July 9 and 10 at the Ski Town fields.

The club practices from 6 to 8 p.m. at Whistler Field off Whistler Road every Tuesday and Thursday, and they always are looking for new players.

Before the Cowpie Classic, the Steamboat Rugby Club will have a float -- otherwise known as a van -- in the Fourth of July parade. Last year, the group pushed the team van around the parade course more than once -- much to the delight of parade-goers.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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