Sheer ‘Choi’ for maples’ 5-try Jyoti

| 27/08/2011

(CRFU): Round 10 of the Cayman Summer Touch rugby season, and chances are beginning to run out for those teams trying to get into the top four division places to make the play-offs. In Division 1, league leaders Maples1 and Appleby played out a fast-paced game that eventually saw Maples1’s experience and fitness hold off a spirited Apples’ team.  Both teams were in with a shout at half-time as Maples1 went into the break with a slender 4-3 lead.  A change of tactics was required as they eventually spotted that the Appleby defence were struggling to get back the requisite 5 metres after each “touch” and Jyoti Choi, with his fine bursts through the defensive line, chalked up a season’s best performance of five tries. (Photos Caroline Deggan)

 Richard Gordon added two more to make him Maples1’s most consistent scorer of late with tries in the last seven consecutive games.

Etienne Duvenage (PWC) and Ben Hart (Ogier) traded scores with each scoring four a-piece as the two teams met for the second time this season.  However, it was PWC that took the spoils 7-4 to record their sixth win of the season.  In the end a double by Marco du Plessis and one from Richard Pooley made the difference.

There are some iconic dates in world history.  August 16th 1977 Elvis Presley died; November 22nd 1963 JFK was shot; November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall came down, and on January 18th 2010 Justin Bieber released his hit debut single “Baby”, thereby ensuring that millions of prepubescent young girls had a new object of desire to salivate over.

These dates are burned into the psyche of society because they affect us all on a deep and visceral level (more like gut-wrenching in the case of that last one admittedly!)  But now, there’s a new date to add to that list – August 15th 2011.  For those that were there at the South Sound Rugby Club to witness this event, they alone will be able to say, “I was there!” Because some 23 years 355 days after Elvis popped his clogs on the toilet, Mark Woollard, the captain of Team LIME, scored his first ever try in rugby.  And what a try! 

Following a real team effort, Woollard, ever alert on the wing, collected a wonderful pass and ran unopposed to the try line.  After dabbing the ball down, a number of possible celebrations went through his mind.  A lap of honour around the pitch?  Nah.   A back-flip somersault?  Nope.  What about an Agassi-style fist pump or a simple wave to a loved one in the crowd? … No, Sir!  They are all good in their own way but somehow the “shirt-pulled-up-over-the-head-with-arms-aloft-and-jumping-up-and-down-like-a-schoolboy” choice seemed the most appropriate.

To put this in context to all those who have scored many tries over many years of rugby – just try and remember the first one, the very first try you ever scored.  If it doesn’t bring a smile to your face then you need to find that inner child, embrace them, buy them an ice-cream (with sprinkles) and when you score another one celebrate as if it was your first.  

It was the winning score too in a game that saw Team LIME defeat Walkers Blue Iguanas 4-1.  The Iguanas started best but they dropped a couple of gilt-edged chances right on the try-line.  Team LIME, with Lisa Bird and Katy Bayles playing as if women possessed, increased the gain-line pressure until Walkers could take no more.  Two tries for Eamon Wilson and one for Lisa Bird sealed the win… and I was there!  Sadly for the crowd, come the final whistle the team decided not to mimic their captain’s shirt-over-the-head celebrations – now that would have been something to remember!

The game between DMS and Genesis Five Nations was postponed to a later date.
In Division 2, Maples2 continued to get over their mid-season slump with a solid 4-1 performance against DART. DART took an early lead through Neil Ainscow, the league’s top scorer, but after that they could only find limited space as they moved the ball along the attacking line. Maples2 found some fluidity to their passing, and their ability to continually create three-on-two overlap situations stretched the DART defence beyond breaking point.

The experienced Andrew Dean, Justin Colgan and Marc Randall were on fine form, ably supported by Chris Palmer, took them to a 3-1 half-time lead. In the second period as DART became increasingly anxious to score it was Maples2’s defence that showed its qualities, quick to stop the attacker making any ground, Rebecca Palmer, Desiree Sampang and Loletta Hanna standing out. When in an attacking position Maples2 always posed a threat and ultimately closed the game out with another Justin Colgan try.

In an exciting matchup between Happyfish Ticklers and Campbells both teams traded scores right into the dying seconds of play. Chandra Friesen (3) had starred for the Ticklers and Dicky Thomas (4) for Campbells. With the scores locked at 7-7 Campbells were pressing the Ticklers line when the final whistle blew indicating there was only one phase of play left to be completed before the referee could end the match. With ball-in-hand Campbells were assured of at least a share of the points unless… well unless someone did something completely daft and throw a speculative pass that could be intercepted by a Tickler to run in a match-winning try at the very death. Step up Mr. Peter A. de Vere. “What the flippin’ heck was he thinking?” enquired his beleaguered team-mates as they trudged off the pitch, all their endeavours and efforts in vain.

The happy recipient of said pass was Simon Crompton, who is proving to be a giant of the touch rugby field since his recent return to the Ticklers, scoring important tries in his last two games. “I can only apologise to my team,” said de Vere at the end, “somehow I managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of … a draw! I’d better buy everyone a drink to make up for it!” The only suitable and acceptable recompense I think, don’t you?

Harmonic ended its long run of disappointing results with a fine 7-5 win over UBS. Harmonic has an easy going style and they like to throw the ball around. With Tony Attenbrough and Danny Santiago as the main providers, and Gavin McMaster (4) and Tim Rossiter (3) as the finishers, running great support lines through the heart of the UBS defence, Harmonic went into a 3-0 lead. However, one thing you can guarantee is that UBS don’t give up without a fight. The teams swapped tries and UBS came back into it with scores by Shane Gallery, James Yonge, Janice Agnew and speed-man Rich Marian (2). Special mention must go to Harmonics’ new recruits this season Alice Aherne, Rochelle Padiernos, Clare Lazenby & Jax McCarty along with Louisa Moynihan and Sophie Broad.

Without their heroic efforts in defence UBS may well have stolen the points.

When two heavyweights clash you expect there will be fireworks. So when league leaders KPMG1 played second place Trident Titans, two teams only separated by points difference, there was an air of anticipation at the kick-off. Both teams have scored freely in the past but on this occasion it was the Titans that took the spoils. The scoreline of 8-3 indicated that when it comes to finishing off moves, the Titans are bang in form. Riley Mullen, the Billy Whizz of Division 2, racked up another hat-trick but he would be first to commend his team for the way they play.

Tries were shared evenly between their guys and girls, illustrating that you can only be successful over the long term if all the team are used to create and execute chances. Sarah Smith, Lisa Bird, Ashley Puschman, Brad Stephenson and Nick Swartz all crossed the white line for the Titans. KPMG1 will be disappointed that they didn’t get their game together, Gerhard Albertyn scored all three tries but it will be of little consolation as their pride will surely be dented by this defeat.

In Division 3, Deloitte continue their assault on this division with a convincing 8-2 win over Island Heritage.   Riley Mullen continued his try scoring form with a hat-trick with a brace for Dean Curtisand tries for John Marrs, Kate Cilliers and Neil Ainscow sealed all three points. 

KPMG2 maintained the pressure on Deloitte at the top of the table with a low-scoring but intriguing 3-1 game against Credit Suisse.  Speedster Johann Prinsloo scored for the Suisse but typically danger men Lopez and Ian Roberton scored a try each and Neil Montgomery added the extra to ensure that KPMG2 will fight to the end of the season to secure that all important top spot.

Aisling Clarke took the MVP award in the game between Rawlinson & Hunter versus Ernst & Young as the Hunters won 7-2 to continue their challenge up the table.  Phil Reed scored three tries to take his season’s tally to four.  The win pushes them up to third.
GCM played Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas in a near bottom-of-the-table clash and due to the use of unlisted players GCM had to default in order for the game to go ahead.  The Old fellas get the points but GCM can claim a moral victory as they ran in seven tries in the game.

Player of the Week
This week’s Heineken Touch Player of the Week goes to Mark Woollard.  If all players experienced the joy of scoring the way he did then there would be some mighty celebrations indeed.  Six cold ones at the bar await you, Sir!

Division 1 Results
Ogier 4 v. 7 PWC
Walkers Blue Iguanas 1 v. 4 Team LIME
Maples 1 9 v. 5 Appleby
Division 2 Results    
Maples2 4 v. 1 DART
UBS 5 v. 7 Harmonic
KPMG1 3 v. 8 Trident Titans
Happyfish Ticklers 8 v. 7 Campbells
Division 3 Results    
GCM x v. x Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas (GCM default-win goes to GOF)
Island heritage 2 v. 8 Deloitte
KPMG2 3 v. 1 Credit Suisse
Rawlinson & Hunter 7 v. 2 Ernst & Young


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