Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Rugby Club dropped its opening game of the 2010 season Saturday, falling to rival Vail, 12-0.
Playing in adverse conditions complete with rain, hail and high winds, the two top teams in the Mountain League waged a back-and-forth battle.
“It was an arm-wrestling match the entire game,” said Steamboat captain Michael Hurley, who was out with a wrist injury. “It was a really good match.”
Vail scored a try in the first 10 minutes to take an early lead. But for the next 60 minutes, neither squad could budge the other.
In the conditions, Hurley said, Vail’s more experienced forwards took control of the game.
Vail added a try in the last five minutes for the final score.
Hurley pointed out the work of newcomer Carl Steele, who played his first rugby game at hooker. Steele, who just graduated from Steamboat Springs High School, played like a veteran, Hurley said.
“That kid is a rock star,” Hurley said about Steele. “He tackled and ran his brains out. It was an awesome first game for Steamboat.”
Veteran Bill Wernig also came in for Steamboat in the last 20 minutes and nearly helped Steamboat come back.
Steamboat and Vail will meet again later in the season. Hurley said despite the loss, Steamboat still should have a good chance at a Mountain League title. When the two teams meet again, if Steamboat wins by more than 12 points, the team will have the advantage.
“We will be ready,” Hurley said. “We’ll play them in Steamboat, and we don’t lose at home.”
Steamboat’s next game is its home opener at 3 p.m. Saturday at Whistler Field against Breckenridge.