Heineken score a bucket load

| 16/05/2012

DSC_0026 (243x300).jpg(CRFU): The going was good to soft for the runners and riders in the fourth round of the National Touch Rugby Championships at the South Sound Rugby Ground last Saturday. An early pitch inspection gave the all-clear and the games kicked off in what is meteorologically known as “Light Drizzle”. However, what transpired during the afternoon was nothing less than tempestuous; a veritable blizzard of blistering rugby. In the first match, Heineken Brew Crew took on the Mighty Maples. The start was slow and ponderous as both teams tried to deal with the conditions of wet ball in hand. The Brew Crew, unbeaten so far this season, were missing a few players and looked off the pace, especially when Maples took the lead with a superbly worked try for Emily Davies. Photos Caroline Deegan

She glided round the outside of the defence to score out wide. This was followed up with a second when Andrew “Dogger” Dean, in his first outing of the season, sniffed out the try-line and dumped the ball across the whitewash for a try. Woof! Two-nil.  Was an upset on the cards? Was Maples about to poo-poo the reputation of the Brewers? They have a team packed with experienced touch players and were doing the basics very well – keeping the ball, taking the touches and not doing anything daft.

It was the introduction of Steve Henshaw to the fray that kick-started Heineken into action. Surprisingly quick for a man his size, he added pace to the attacking drives and made several metres each time he had the ball in hand. Once a defence is on the back foot gaps will appear and these were exploited by Keswick Wright and Morgan Heyward to restore parity at half-time.

As the second half started, the precipitation went from light drizzle, to heavy drizzle, then cats-and-dogs and finally it was “tin hat” weather. Much like the conditions, the players were making heavy weather of it all until tries from Wright and Will Heyward put some daylight between the teams. Maples could have dissolved under this torrent of tries but showed some determined fighting spirit and replied with a neat exchange of passing that put Chandra Friesen in for the score. They kept slogging away but the quick feet of Morgan Heyward slipped through a gap to score his 5th try of the season and restore Heineken’s two try cushion. Dean pulled one back in the final moments for Maples to show there is still life in the old Dogger yet, but it was not enough and the Brew Crew’s unbeaten run continued.

Final score: HEINEKEN BREW CREW 5 • MAPLES 4

DSC_0084 (300x295).jpgThere have been a few great sporting sibling rivalries over the years: the McEnroes, the Williams sisters, Eli and Peyton Manning, the Klitschkos, the Waugh brothers, even Bobby and Jackie Charlton. But now we can add another: Emily and Martin Davies. In the blue corner, Martin Davies (Walkers) weighing in at 180lbs wet-through, and in the red corner Emily Davies (Maples) weighing in at… well it’s rude to ask a lady isn’t it? Who would win the familial bragging rights after this match? 

In a quirk of the fixtures programme, Maples had a quick turnaround to face their old rivals Walkers who were looking for revenge from their 3-11 drubbing when the two met previously. However, they were clearly not looking that hard as they only turned up with seven players for the start, out of a possible roster of 12 players allowed.  This game is tiring enough when you have a full complement of players so it was going to be a long day at the office for Walkers.

Maples, depleted in energy levels after their first match, struggled to find their rhythm in the first half. It was Richard Gordon, all the way from Matattiele (meaning “Where have all the ducks gone?) on the South African-Lesotho border, who broke the deadlock with a neat burst of pace through two defenders to touchdown. This took Maples into a 1-0 half time lead. Walkers, led by the ever smiling Vikki Piaso, toiled and travailed in the rain and refused to have their spirits dampened. She leveled the scores on the restart and then Michael Sumares jinked his way through to even up the scores for a second time after Gordon had once again restored Maples lead. Clearly, all the ducks had come to see Gordon’s rugby talents at the SSG. It was weather for ducks after all!

The Davies’s had kept to different sides of the pitch thus far but their pivotal contest came when Martin received the ball from a nice Paul Smith offload and he exploded into the Maples defensive line. Who could stop him going all the way? Guess. None other than Sister Emily who, as cool as a cucumber dropped in a vat of liquid nitrogen, stepped across from her wing to deliver the arresting touch – Sister 1 – Brother 0.

The sides traded attacks until Jyoti Choi, as dummy half, decided he’d had enough of all this and lunged through an offside defensive line to power toward the try line. Dummy halves are prohibited from scoring and a switched-on defense will defend against the supporting runners to prevent the score. Walkers had switched off and Maples’ Marc Randall gave an excellent supporting angle for Choi to offload and the lead was restored. Adam “Huckleberry” Huckle, in his first season on island, added a sixth as Maples exerted a stranglehold which they did not loosen to return a 4-2 victory. All smiles for Emily, all tears for Martin; or was that just raindrops running down his cheek?

Final score WALKERS 2 • MAPLES 4

In their second match-up of the season DART played KPMG. DART are notorious slow-starters and it was unsurprising that KPMG were the brighter of the two. The Neil Montgomery/Dean Curtis double act was in full flow and they took a deserved 2-1 lead courtesy of a Curtis sprint down the wing. The hirsute Wellington speedster cuts a mean figure on the pitch and caused concern in the DART defensive ranks all game.
DART finally managed to crank it up thanks to individual efforts from Riley Mullen and Al Lum to turn in a close half-time lead. In the second half DART managed to exert more pressure on the KPMG offensive line causing a number of quick turnovers of possession. Increasing in confidence, they started to run the ball more and a fine move was finished by captain Stacey Ottenbreit who scored her first ever try in touch rugby – an event I’m sure she will never forget. After all, we all remember our first time, don’t we?

As DART pressed they eventually broke the KPMG spirit – that is, all but for one man – Dean Curtis. In a herculean effort of defence he singularly tracked not one but three DART attackers from halfway right back to his try-line, and made the most deserved touch of the day to foil the attempted score. Unfortunately for Dean his teammates didn’t quite have his energy or passion for the retreat and DARTimmediately scored from the next phase. As he walked off the pitch in desolation he received the accolades of the crowd who recognized a man broken from his ultimately futile efforts. Further tries from Mark Robson and Iain Blackwell sealed the deal and DART ran out 9-5 winners.

Final score: DART 9 • KPMG 5

There’s a saying in sport “Form is temporary, class is permanent”. This was again proved to be true when the crowd witnessed a sight they had not seen for years – Heineken Brew Crew’s Paul “The Cobra” Deegan in full flight. Many have tried to usurp the title of “The Cobra” from Deegan but this guy has longevity, heft and probably copyright on his side. With the game finely poised at 5-4 to Team Black he received the ball 20 metres out. The gap was there and head down, he raced to the line. Closing in fast was Team Black captain Scott McCarty. McCarty, several years younger and several yards faster, would surely reach him before the touchdown. On went the afterburners and the ground scorched as Deegan spied the danger. I swear I heard a sonic boom as he hurtled to the line like a meteor approaching earth. KAPOOM! I am not sure whether he dived or tripped but Deegan crash-landed on the turf leaving a fiery trench in his wake. It was not an impact to cause an Extinction Level Event but the shock waves would have been felt all the way in McCarty’s home town of Upper Hutt, New Zealand as he mystifyingly failed to make the decisive touch and prevent the score.

Up to that point Team Black had been in the ascendency. Leading 4-3 at the break, two tries from Simon Raftopoulous, and one a-piece from Scott McCarty and James Waters were answered by two from Morgan Heyward, and one breakout sprint from Keswick Wright. Waters added a fifth and it seemed that revenge for their early season defeat from Heineken was on the cards. But Phil “Balls of” Fourie had already pegged one back when Deegan made his decisive strike. Pulling the scores level energized Heineken and deflated Team Black in equal measure. Wright scored the winner with only minutes remaining for Heineken’s fifth consecutive win on the bounce.

Final score TEAM BLACK 5 • HEINEKEN BREW CREW 6

Walkers had eased their playing worries with the addition of some extra players including Jacky Rowland who, like the 7th Cavalry, arrived just in time for the start of the game. But it was KPMG that started well and Neil Montgomery opened the scoring with virtually the first attack of the game. Tries were exchanged like hits on a Battleships Grid with Walkers sinking KPMG’s destroyer, and only losing their submarine in response. That’s 4-2 to the uninitiated at the half-time break.

The second half was much more open as KPMG started to throw the ball around. Excellent inter-exchanges between Montgomery and Roger Priaulx threatened and ultimately were rewarded with a Priaulx try but not before Rupert “the” Bell had added an important fifth for Walkers. KPMG can’t buy a win this season despite Montgomery bagging 12 tries to date.

Final Score WALKERS 5 • KPMG 3

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – or in this case cometh James Waters. Up until half-time DART was seriously beginning to put a dent in Team Black’s day. Tenacious defence and some rapid ball movement meant DART were trading punches with the (nearly) all Blacks. True they were getting hit but also managed to land some blows of their own. Michael Mulligan just missed out on his debut score when he made a scintillating break through the heart of the Black defence. The score at the break was 3-1 in favour of Team Black with Vangie Raftopoulous and Ray Galletly getting scores to match that from James Waters. Mullen added the score for DART. But then – step forward James Waters. He made line-break after line-break. Each rapier sprint pierced the very heart of DART.

Again and again and againhe tore DART open like a cheap packet of Salt and Vinegar crisps. His six-try haul, making it 16 in total so far this season, was like death by a thousand cuts to DART or in this case death by thousand (well, eight!) tries. Riley Mullen, pulled one back, but it was a forlorn hope against a better team and, on this occasion, a better man.

Final score DART 2 • TEAM BLACK 8

TEAM OF THE WEEK • DART

DART (300x216).jpgDART are one of the main sponsors of all forms of rugby here in Cayman, and their commitment to touch rugby in these islands has continued with their team taking part in the National Touch Rugby Championships. With a hard core of DART staff at the centre, the team was pulled together by Captain Stacey Ottenbreit. By securing the sponsorship early she was able to recruit players quite easily with many culled from the Summer Touch League. What she may lack in touch rugby experience she makes up for in enthusiasm and is a firebrand on the pitch with or without the ball. DART have had some mixed results thus far but the motivational half-time team talks of Niall “Sully” O’Sullivan are stuff of legend. Churchillian in both their tone and inspiration, these now famous half-time talks ensure that DART never lies down or surrenders. If only he said them at the start of the game! They may well fight them on the beaches, on the landing grounds, and in the fields and the streets but it is on the touch rugby pitch where the battle must be won. Stand firm DART, and victory shall be yours.

Back Row: Lisa Bird, Michael Mulligan, Niall O’Sullivan, Mark Robson, Al Lum, Iain Blackwell.  Middle Row: Sonya Sherman, Kelly Fiebig, Riley Mullen, Stacey Ottenbreit (capt.) Front Row: Debbie Strassburg
Missing:  Fiona Brander, Ross Connerton, Phil Coley, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Nic Schwartz

 

 

Category: Sports

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