Walkers and Dart find winning touch

| 18/04/2012

(CRFU): Anyone watching events unfold during the second round of the National Touch Rugby Championships at the South Sound Rugby Ground would have been almost as breathless as the players on the pitch come the end of the day – five games, 75 tries and thrills too many to count, all in one afternoon of sensational touch rugby. Maples 11 • Walkers Blue Iguanas 3 The day started with a game between two of Cayman’s longest serving touch teams – Maples and Walkers. Both teams have a large contingent of their own staff playing for them, but the gulf in experience of touch rugby within the teams’ rosters was clearly evident.

Maples, champions of the Touch Rugby Summer League for three years straight, took the game to Walkers from the off and sought to impose their “classic” style of touch rugby on the game – hard drives followed by spreading wide to score. It is a game plan that has worked well over the years and worked well again here.

Tries from Jyoti Choi, Richard Gordon, Emily Davies and Joan Murphy all added to the scoreboard, but it was the five try haul from Simon Crompton, the diminutive will o’ the wisp that did for Walkers. His speed of thought, hands and feet were too much for the fledging Walkers defence. Walkers may be lacking in experience but they have got a great attitude and no one could criticize their efforts to plug gaps in the defence.

Special mention must go to Tamera Clark, a rookie in the Walkers defensive line. She stuck gallantly to her task and was instrumental in often thwarting Maples attacks from the wingers.  In spite of the result running away from them Walkers did manage to trouble the scorers with Rupert Bell, Charlette Clarke and James Melen all crossing the white line. In the end experience wins and so did Maples who took the spoils of battle.

DART 13 • KPMG 6
When DART took on opponents KPMG both teams were looking for a first win of the season. The game started brightly, the teams having decided that fortune favours the brave. They threw the ball around probing for openings that lead to line breaks. Al Lum, the tall rangy Kiwi, started to dictate play for DART with silky skills and offloads, while Neil Montgomery, the speedy stocky Saffa, did the same for KPMG. The crowd loved what they were seeing – two teams giving their all and providing highly entertaining touch rugby. Both sides lookedcomfortable in attack whilst any kind of defensive strategy seemed like an optional extra. Tries were traded evenly in the first period as Lisa Bird, Riley Mullen, Mark Robson and Lum himself scored for DART whilst Montgomery and Dean Curtis notched up the KMPG total.

As KPMG tired in the second half, DART started to exude a measure of control. Further tries from Mullen, Robson and Phil Coley opened up a gap in the scores and when Iain Blackwell took a sweet reverse pass, he charged up the field like Major Chip Hazard of Commander Elite single-handedly taking on the Gorgonites. The score gave DART a lead they would not relinquish.

Heineken Brew Crew 8 • Team-Black 6
When Heineken Brew Crew took the field against Team-Black the crowd was expecting fireworks. Both teams were unbeaten so far this season and there were some notable contrasts on the players’ rosters – Heineken, with its cocktail mix of rookie bravado and vintage red-noses against Team-Black, almost Teutonic in its black-shirted efficiency and precision finishing. If last week’s show was anything to go by they should have renamed themselves Team Blitzkrieg such was the hellfire raining down on their opponents try line.

The game started at a slow and cagey pace like two heavyweight boxers sizing each other up before unleashing their opening blows. Team-Black drew blood first with a neat try by Olive McDonagh. Here we go again thought the crowd. How wrong they were. Heineken popped the cap and started to put together some intoxicating moves of their own. Tries in quick succession from Phil Fourie, Keswick Wright and Bobeth O’Garro were answered by Rudolf Weder and Ashley Puschman, the latter scoring the Try of the Day from a wonderful move involving all six players and finishing with husband James Waters providing a peach of a pass to wife Ashley who dotted down in the far corner. I’m sure they celebrated that try long into the night.

A 4-3 Heineken lead at the break looked slimmer than the new iPad2 but it was the closest that Team-Black came. Fourie added two more as Heineken started to dominate their opponents. Team-Black looked lethargic and hesitant in attack. In contrast, Heineken Brew Crew simply sparkled and fizzed around the park. Using three flyers in the middle of their line of six, a combination of Keswick Wright, Iain Currie, and Morgan Heyward skipped, stepped and shuffled their way around the park, squeezing the life out of Team-Black. As hard as they huffed and as long as they puffed, they couldn’t blow down the Heineken Brewery.

Team-Black 9 • DART 2
Team-Black, or TB, is much like the similarly-named infectious disease as far as DART are concerned. With an opening salvo of virulent running and contagious passing, TB left DART coughing, wheezing, and in hot sweats. Before you could even say “mycobacterium tuberculosis” TB were three tries ahead with scores from James Waters, Etienne Duvenage, and Rudolf Weder. Where TB had been sluggish in their first game, they were energetic in this.  DART seemed to drain of confidence as the first half tries rolled in.

Further scores were added by Scott McCarty and Mike McGrath, the only salve being a lucky intercept try from Mark Robson who careered toward the try line from halfway with Team-Black’s three female players rapidly hunting him down like lionesses chasing an old and infirm zebra on the Serengeti. He tripped over the try line to score but this particular zebra was well and truly spent.

A 7-1 half-time score did not bode well for DART, however, a miraculous recovery was made due to forthright half-time team talk from genial giant Niall O’Sullivan. He invigorated the team which set about its second-half task with renewed vigour. The result may not have been in doubt but a team can still play for pride.  And so they did. Team Black still enjoyed a lot of possession and the chasm in class was still evident but the DART defence was stubborn and resolute and they even posed more questions in attack.

The game was tighter, and clear try scoring opportunities were few. Waters and Weder scored for Team Black and O’Sullivan himself scored for DART. Team Black eventually won the second half 2-1 making a final score of 9-2. They will take three points for the win and DART will take pride in their second half performance – something to build on for next week.

Walkers Blue Iguanas 9 • KPMG 8
All this was mere aperitif comparedto the Match of the Day which saw Walkers Blue Iguanas take on KPMG. What a feast they served up. For Walkers, without a victory since September 2010, this was a crunch game and they started brightly with some crisp passing by Michael Sumares. Rupert “the” Bell fried the opposition early on and further tries by Martin Davies, James Melen, and Paul Smith stunned a frazzled KPMG defence.

But like mould on cheese, or an annoying ex-girlfriend, KPMG just kept on coming back. First Loletta Hanna, then Dean Curtis and Neil Montgomery pulled the score back to 5-4 at the half. They even took the lead as Montgomery started to marshal his troops around the field.

The score swung like a pendulum and the game was as mesmerizing as a show by Hypnotist Derek Marshall, so hypnotic in fact that when someone close by clicked their fingers I involuntarily started doing an Elvis Presley impression. The game looked like it might be slipping away from Walkers. They were all shook up. It was time for a bespoke hero to come forward. Enter Paul Smith. In a rapid attack of white-line fever he scored four tries to bring his total to five for the game.

To KPMG he truly was the devil in disguise. A little less conversation and a little more action was needed from KPMG and back they came again. Brad Stephenson weighed in with a brace but at the final whistle it was KPMG who had to check into the Heartbreak Hotel. For Walkers it was a case of Viva Las Vegas as they finished 9-8 victors.  Elvis had left the building. Thank you very much.

Walkers 2012 (300x199).jpgTEAM OF THE WEEK • WALKERS BLUE IGUANAS
Proud sponsors of their touch rugby team “the Blue Iguanas”, Walkers have long been an advocate for supporting touch rugby here in Cayman. Of their 16 player squad, 14 of them are employed by Walkers and it clearly shows in the great camaraderie and team spirit they display. This year has seen a new captain, Vikki Piaso, inspire teammates with her boundless energy and enthusiasm for the game. A keen student of touch rugby since her formative years, she comes with a fine pedigree as her father played the sport for New Zealand. Typical of Vikki though, she is keen to deflect attention from herself onto her teammates. Although largely inexperienced in touch rugby they have turned up to all their practice sessions, and newbies such as Tamera Clark are learning fast and playing brilliantly. When asked why she likes touch rugby she says, “I don’t like it, I LOVE it!” I can’t argue with that.

See team standings below

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  1. Anonymous says:

    excellent article again. this guy is way too funny!