Vail The Vail rugby team sure knows how to crash a party.
The Blue and White hosted defending Mountain League champions Steamboat Springs on Saturday at the Vail Athletic Field. Steamboat planned to celebrate a second-straight title with a post-game banquet.
Not so fast.
Vail easily handled its rival, cruising to a 24-0 victory. The Blue and White dominated every phase of the match with its physical style of play.
The victory clinches the Mountain League title for Vail.
"Shutting them out was fun," Vail player/coach Greg Tarpey said. "How's that for spoiling a party?"
Vail's physical play and the weather gave Steamboat almost zero chance to score in the first half. Rain spit on players throughout the opening frame and the wind blew hard in Vail's direction, giving it a distinct advantage.
Trevor Davies took advantage of a Steamboat mistake by drilling a penalty kick to put Vail ahead, 3-0. The wind made it hard for Steamboat to advance the ball past midfield, helping the Blue and White take a 10-0 lead into halftime.
When it came time for Vail to play into the wind in the second half, the wind and rain vanished just before the referee put the ball in play.
"The gods helped us play today," Tarpey said. "It cleared up for us in the second half. We played the elements, and we played smart. We forced them to play rugby. You can't beat us when you are playing in your own half the whole time."
Much like the first half, Vail controlled the pace after the break. The Blue and White methodically worked the ball downfield for their second try, extending the lead to 17-0.
Brian "Bubba" Dalrymple put an exclamation point on the victory with a run from 30 yards out for the last try of the game. Dalrymple eluded numerous Steamboat defenders on the score.
"That was the first try I've scored in four or five years," Dalrymple said. "I smelled it. I thought, I'm not getting any younger, I better get the try or it could be another 10 years before I score another one."
The Vail defense took care of the rest. Steamboat only seriously threatened to score just a handful of times in the match.
"The tackling was unbelievable," Tarpey said. "Bubba flattened people. To lose as many lineup balls as we did and still dominate, it was a great effort."
With the Mountain Trophy in hand, the Vail rugby team only has one more match this season. On Aug. 30, the Blue and White host rival Aspen at the Vail Athletic Field.