Genesis sink a few Heinekens

| 29/04/2013

wk4b (441x500)_1.jpg(CRFU): Match Day 4 of the KRyS Global National Mixed Touch Rugby Championships 2013 turned out to be a day of history, mystery and suspense at Cayman Rugby’s South Sound Ground. It produced the game of the season so far and also the joint biggest winning margin of the season. There were some flashes of supreme touch rugby and more than a few moments of sublime comedy too. The game of the day saw the never-beaten Heineken Brew Crew take on an ever-improving Genesis Trust. Heineken have labored in their efforts this year showing only glimpses of the swagger they had last year. Genesis Trust was the first opponents they have faced this season that could realistically unseat them and so it proved.

Genesis Trust 5 Heineken Brew Crew 4

In a pulsating game the result was never certain until the final whistle. Genesis opened the scoring with an Alex Pineau try involving a fine jumping one-handed catch high above his head. It was worthy of the NBA and he managed to get it down for the first try.
The omens did not look good for the Brew Crew-ers as Genesis dominated with wave after wave of attack. The ball was moving nicely across the line and tries seems inevitable until critical errors were made at key times and the ball spilled. They must have been rightly anxious as we have become all too familiar with Heineken’s ability to score from the unlikeliest of plays. And so it proved. Mark Westin leveled the scores and although Pineau put Genesis in front again, tries from Steve Henshaw and Paul Westin gave Heineken a surprising 3-2 half time lead. 

As the second half progressed, General Neil Montgomery started to dictate the plays with his now famous pitter-patter running style, jack-knifing side-step and majestic ball trickery. Nippier than an attack on Pearl Harbor, Montgomery exploited the space provided by a tiring defence. He was more ubiquitous for Genesis than Phil Collins in the mid-80’s, appearing everywhere Heineken didn’t want him to be. A sublime back-of-the-hand pass and equally impressive one-handed take (again) from Pineau leveled the scores before Monty himself gave Genesis the lead with a typically dashing break.

Still Genesis kept the pressure on and Sharon Stainrod is worthy of mention for her efforts in her first season back in touch rugby for a few years. A calm head under pressure and sure hands make her a valuable addition to the roster.

But for all their chances Genesis could not stretch their lead. Now, I know the RCIPS are very busy these days investigating all manner of crimes here in Cayman but some time must be given to the worrying “Case of the Missing Magic Gloves”. In Genesis’ last game Jerry “Mr. Glover Glover” Beck rattled in five tries dazzlingly bedecked in his porcelain-white sports gloves. These gloves possessed such magical powers that the ball would stick to them like the proverbial [fill in the appropriate euphemism here]. But it would appear that a person or persons unknown have secreted away these gloves and replaced them with a fraudulent copy, a counterfeit so accurate in appearance that they mock the wearer.

Beck seemed cursed as his balls dropped to the ground more than once and his day of torture was complete when he put the ball down believing he had crossed the try line only to find he was five metres short. He isn’t the first person ever to do this, nor will he be the last but in a game as tight as this it could have been a costly error. What price the ransom for these magic gloves? I do not now but pay it man and get them back unharmed with all fingers and thumbs intact.

Back again came Heineken. Like a satisfying belch after an over-sized gulp of the eponymous ale Mark Westin leveled the score with a fine solo effort to make it 4-4. There was still plenty of time on the clock.

The decisive break came from no other than Genesis’ Ruler-in-Chief himself, Roger “Grand” Priaulx. This man is a phenomenon. He is a wonderful husband, amazing father, trusted friend, successful entrepreneur and sporting leviathan – a giant of a man in every aspect… except height, in that he’s just above average.  And he needed all these attributes to break through the massive gap afforded to him by the Heineken defence. He put on the afterburners and headed for the corner with 30 metres between him and glory. Not every forty-something can get away with wearing bright orange boots (these are usually reserved for younger athletes with a few less miles on the clock) but Priaulx showed why he can just about get away with it as he outpaced the defence and dived over the line with all the elegance of Shamu the Orca soaking the punters in the Splash Zone at Sea World.

The end of the game could not come quick enough for Priaulx. He must have felt like he was in the third level of Inception-time as the seconds dragged by. Heineken’s Paul Deegan nearly stole the headlines with a fine break but was touched just short of the line. As the final whistle blew everyone realised they had witnessed history. Heineken Brew Crew’s first ever defeat in touch rugby. But more importantly they had seen a fine game of touch rugby, the season’s best so far. Well done to all.

wk4c (500x403).jpgSteppingStones 14 KMPG 0

I guess “The Fabulous Raftopolous Show” sounds like a mid-morning light entertainment show on Greek National TV. With an ardent viewership of housewives, the unemployed and students, it could well have mildly amusing pieces on how “black” is, for the eight hundredth year running, still the couleur du jour for any fashion-conscious elderly Greek matriarch, or give you killer recipes for moussaka and taramasalata, or even tell you how to operate asuccessful late-night mobile kebab business called Jason’s Doner-van but it is in fact a description of the sensational performance by two of SteppingStones’ South African touch rugby titans Simon and Vangie Raftopolous.

Playing against a KPMG side bereft of player options, SteppingStones spluttered and stumbled in the early exchanges and looked far from the tournament favourites that international Asian betting rings allegedly have them hotly-tipped. KPMG put in 110% for effort but lack quality at vital times. SteppingStones have quality coming out of their ears but found motivation hard to find. The win was, in effect, a guarantee but they made hard work of it early on. It took an opening try from Captain Scott McCarty to settle the nerves and then Morgan Shelver put in a top shelf performance with great running lines and a rolling body swerve akin to a French high-speed TGV train hurtling through the Gallic countryside. He corners so smoothly that you could balance a cold one on top of his head and not spill a drop. More than once Simon Raftopolous played wingman to Shelver’s squadron leader. Always in the right position to support, time and again Raftopolous gratefully gobbled up Shelver’s final pass to run in unchallenged. By the games end he had scored not one, not two, not even three tries… but six. Six of the Best. No-one in the National Touch Rugby Championships has scored more in one game.

But this was not a one-man show because just as influential was his better-half Vangie Raftopolous. As the game wore on her impact became more pronounced and she bagged a couple of fine scores herself. The standout moment though was her interception of a wayward KPMG pass 10 metres from her own try line. With nothing in front of her she set off at a fearsome pace across the dusty plains of the SSG. Could she make it all the way to the try line in the distance? The crowd was on its feet as she covered the terrain with her long stride. However, in pursuit was fellow Saffa Matt “Sticks” Volkwyn. Standing at six foot five, with legs that are five foot six long, the scene reminded me of a slender female Springbok being hunted down by a ravenous baby Giraffe. As the gap closed, the crowd were willing Vangie to score but just as she got to the line Volkwyn made the desperate last ditch try-saving touch. His triple fist pump as he made the kill was probably a bit excessive as SteppingStones scored immediately from the next phase of play. Sadly, the rest of his herd had not retreated with quite the same degree of urgency he had shown and they were hopelessly outnumbered in the wide areas for an easy score to SteppingStones.

A final score of 14-0 was what is technically known as a “pasting” but KPMG will re-group and come out next time and give it their all. In addition to Simon’s six and Vangie’s two, the Weders, Rudolf and Marcia scored three between them, with Jacqui Davies, Wiki Hitchman and Scott McCarty adding the rest.

Walkers 6 DART 4

The opening game of the day pitted Walkers Blue Iguanas against DART. Walkers are a solid team and even without top try scorer Paul Smith, they have enough guile and skill to cause problems to their opponents. Lacking numbers for the third game in a row, DART toiled with the barest of squads. It has become a familiar refrain for them but absences whether through injury or unavailability are hard to combat. DART have a good team on paper however touch rugby is played on grass and they fell to their third defeat in a row.

Walkers opened the score through Vikki Piaso. DART’s Andy Childe equalized with a fine jinking, swerving run that resembled a man weaving his way down the sidewalks of West Bay Road late on a Friday night. Rumours that Childe was practicing those self-same manoeuvres the night before have been discredited. After this, Walkers had an extended period of dominance and raced into a 6-1 lead with tries from Rolf Lindsay, James Melen, Rupert Bell, Emily Vaka-uta and new arrival Elaine Kerr. Kerr’s contribution was telling and she was increasingly involved in Walkers brighter moments. She definitely adds to a fine triumvirate of female talent.

DART had a couple of blistering runs from little Mickey Mulligan. Suffering from bruised ribs, these lung-busting runs left him sucking fumes but showed his commitment to the cause. No-one begrudged him his enumerate extended comfort breaks after that.

DART did receive a boost halfway through the second-half when team captain Stacy Ottenbreit arrived. Falling foul of the difference in time zones between the Rugby Club and the rest of South Sound her belated arrival, along with that of Ruan Van Vuuren, changed the complexion of the game. Suddenly DART started to exert some pressure. Scott “Spaghetti-Man” Murray was as elusive as that last string of pasta in the bottom of the bowl and he and Childe racked up three quick tries. Had the game been ten minutes longer or had DART had a full complement of players from the start the result may have been different. We’ll never know as the final score of 6-4 to Walkers is all the history books will record.

Photos by Caroline Deegan

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "Nippier than an attack on Pearl Harbor"… genius!

    • Anonymous says:

      This guy is good…. very good. Worth grabbing a cup of coffee and a pastry to sit and read this. It brightens my day up no end.