The Steamboat Springs Rugby Football Club has a bone to pick with Vail.
First, Steamboat's orange and green machine lost its season opener to the Vail Rugby Football Club by three points.
Then came the semifinal match-up in the 12-team Ski Town rugby tournament in Breckenridge. After blowing out teams from Park City, Utah, Glenwood Springs and Jackson Hole, Wyo., by combined scores of 138-15, Steamboat looked to do the same to Vail. Steamboat led, 12-0, at halftime.
Steamboat captain Michael Hurley said Vail came back and scored a pair of tries, the second one happening at "literally the last second of the game." With time expired, Vail converted the try to win the playoff match, 14-12. Vail went on to beat Aspen in the finals. Hurley named prop Kevin Morrisey the Steamboat player of the tournament.
Steamboat has its chance to even the score Saturday when they host Vail at 4 p.m. at Whistler Park.
"It should be a cracker," Hurley said about what he called Steamboat's biggest game of the season. At 3-2 in the Rocky Mountain Rugby League, Steamboat must beat Vail (4-1) on Saturday to keep its league title hopes alive. Because Aspen is ineligible for title contention for not playing a complete schedule, Hurley is confident that the winner of Saturday's match most likely will go on to win the league.
Steamboat still has a final home game against Glenwood Springs Aug. 19. Its season ends in Breckenridge on Aug. 26.
"We're not taking those games for granted, but we've dispatched both those teams pretty easily," he said.
The team certainly hopes to rebound from its 42-19 loss last Saturday to the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club. Shorthanded with only 13 players, Hurley said Steamboat was missing many of its key players and had to scramble to field a team. Despite the loss, the win marked the first time "in 20 years" that Steamboat has notched three tries against Aspen. Those tries were scored by Hurley, JoJo Bucci and Able Varney.