Fairfield Yankees claim first national title since 2004
Published 4:49 pm, Tuesday, June 7, 2016
GLENDALE, CO. — David Lyme took over as head coach of the Fairfield Yankees adult rugby club in 2014 with one solitary goal in mind: fuse a dedicated group of talented athletes into one capable unit capable of challenging for honors.
The Yankees took home the gold last weekend as they were crowned Division III national champions behind a 41-33 win over Euless Texans at Infinity Park, located in Denver. The Yankees — who train in Fairfield and played several of their home matches along the journey in Westport — claimed their first national title since 2004
“It’s phenomenal, you’re the best team in the country,” Lyme said. “It’s a big deal, I took this team over 18 months ago and our first full season to be national champions is very exciting for the boys. “They’ve worked hard to get there, scarified a lot a lot of time effort and it’s well deserved; every member of the club has helped get us here.”
Joined by several hundred traveling fans, Fairfield blitzed the opposition early to establish a 24-5 halftime lead, then held on as the Texans made a late rally. Euless had a sizable weight advantage per player according to Lyme, but the Yankees found a way to prevail.
“We just stuck to our gameplan,” Lyme said. “We grinded out out we took the pressure they put on us and we capitalized when we got the opportunities.”
Fairfield arrived in Colorado on Friday morning for the match that was held Sunday. The group trained twice each day and held team meetings in preparation for the big contest.
“The boys professionalism is important to me, we’ve been strict about the culture we want to create in the club,” Lyme said. “The boys have bought in very nicely, how we handle ourselves on and off the field.”
The Yankees won the Empire GU title last month to qualify for a regional tournament in Pittsburgh, which booked their place in the national final. The long grind that began last fall
This iteration of the Yankees will resume training in August for the fall season. Several Yankees were invited to participate in a USA Rugby trial match this weekend in upstate New York and Lyme will head the inaugural season of a state rugby team.
Lyme hopes the success of the Yankees will continue to help grow the sport at a local level.
“It can only better the game, make more people interested and hopefully get younger boys and girls in the sport,” Lyme said. “These men that I coach are perfect role models for young kids coming into the sport.”