Barbarians face Arctic Legion on home turf

Rugby3While their competitors claimed the first goal, the Bird Creek Barbarians seized a 34-24 win Tuesday night at Davis Park.

The home team faced combined competition. Arctic Legion, from the military base next door, couldn’t field enough players for a 15-person team and played with help from the Dragons, based at Dave Rose Park. But it’s summer in Alaska, said Barbarians President Iain McPherson — people tend to take time off.

Nevertheless, he said rugby seems to be gaining ground in Anchorage. There are now six teams within the municipality. McPherson said two of them are brand new, including Arctic Legion. Rugby2There are also teams in the Matanuska Valley, Fairbanks and Kenai, as well as three local women’s teams.

Cameron Vivian, longtime Barbarians coach, said it’s been more than 20 years since the Davis Park location was transformed into one of the best fields in the municipality. Now, it’s level and green. At one point, Vivian said, it was an empty lot where a mobile home park once stood.

“It was a mess,” he said. “We came to the first games we played here and we’d put the whole team on the end of the line and we’d walk down, picking up rocks, and every time you picked up a rock another one would pop up.”

Rugby1Between some state grant money and the rugby team’s sweat equity, Vivian said, the field got a much-needed facelift. It now sees steady use from ultimate frisbee enthusiasts and rugby teams alike.

Besides twice-a-week practices at Davis Park and a busy monthly game schedule, McPherson said the Mountain View-based team stays plenty social.

“It’s one of those things where you go out, you hit the guy across from you then after the game, you’re drinking a beer with him,” he said. “You get everything out on the field.”

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