Suisse-Army knifes through Heritage defence

| 01/09/2011

(Cayman Islands Summer Touch Rugby League): In a busy two weeks of touch rugby here in Grand Cayman teams have been pulling out all the stops to secure a place in the play-off finals.  Rounds 11 and 12 were incorporated within Super Saturday Mk.2 and Round 13 (unlucky for some) followed the week after. In Division 1, the best performance over the three rounds came from Ogier.  Winning all three games they beat DMS (4-0), Walkers Blue Iguanas (2-0) and Team LIME (6-2).  They are now challenging for a play-off place, just two points behind Appleby with one game of the regular season to play. (Photo by Caroline Deegan)

They have the onerous task of trying to get past Champions Maples 1 in that game to secure fourth spot.  Ben Hart, with seven tries in the last three games, has been central to this well-timed resurgence in form, and they will want to cover him in bubble-wrap and put him in a padded cell with 24-hour security until that game gets played.

Genesis Five Nations has weathered a difficult period with several key players missing through vacation and injury to win their two games and now sit on top the table.  They beat Walkers (5-1) and Team LIME (5-1).  Howard Byrne, he of the windmill arms and rubber legs, scored four tries and consistently kept defences guessing what he will do next.  Playing by instinct rather than design he adds some devilment into the otherwise well drilled and precise attacking patterns of the Five Nations. 

PWC lie third in the table level on points with Appleby but with a game in hand.  They struggled against a spirited Team LIME (3-2) but a better performance against close rivals Appleby (7-4) means I would expect them to take one of those play-off places.  The deadly duo of Duvenage and Du Plessis is central to their gameand they never disappoint.  Having scored more than half of PWC’s tries throughout the season, opposition would do well to watch these guys closely. 

Appleby are now looking over their shoulders and what once seemed a guaranteed play-off place is now in jeopardy.  Over the three games, good wins against Walkers (7-3) and DMS (9-2) looked to be just the ticket but that loss against PWC means they go into the last game of the season needing at least a draw against the league leaders Genesis Five Nations to be sure of qualifying.  Exciting stuff.

Maples1 haven’t played a game since Round 9 due to postponements as a result of player shortages.  A spokesman for Genesis Five Nations delivered a WWF-style smackdown claiming that Maples1 were running scared of meeting the Nations, as they were going to get their proverbial behind spanked.  Tough talk from Steve “Stone-Cold” Henshaw – we’ll see how you back it up on the pitch!

Sadly, Team LIME, DMS, or Walkers Blue Iguanas could not muster a win between them in these three rounds and now lay 6th, 7th and 8th in the league respectively.   They can reflect on a tough season but all have shown great endeavour and enthusiasm, improving their skills throughout, and gaining respect from their opponents.  They all have one game left of the regular season before they look forward to competing in the Plate tournament come Finals’ Day.  

In Division 2, Trident Titans demonstrated why they are the team to beat as they recorded three wins from three, and now cannot be beaten to first place. They gave Maples2 a real 9-2 womping (this is a technical term to depict something somewhere between a walloping and a thumping), with the usual suspects Riley Mullen, James Waters and Nick Swartz doing the damage on that occasion. This was followed by victories over Happyfish Ticklers (8-2) and Campbells (9-6), Can anyone stop them? Its DART’s turn next in Round 14 and it promises to be a belter.  Tune in next week folks!

The battle for the remainder of the top four places is extremely tight and these will be decided in the last round of matches.  KPMG1, currently second in the standings had a poor Super Saturday 2.0, losing to UBS (3-7), and getting a draw (1-1) against DART.  They have been finding it harder to cross the whitewash of late, which must worry Captain Gerhard Albertyn.  However, he did rally his troops as Round 13 saw them put away Maples2 by 6-2.  Their final game is against Harmonic who will themselves be looking to end their season with a flourish.

Maples2 continued their patchy form with only three wins in the last nine games, all of those against teams in the bottom half of the table.  A narrow 4-3 win over UBS was sandwiched between losses to the Titans (2-9) and KPMG1 (2-6).  They too need to find their early season form when tries seemed easier to come by and it is likely that they have suffered from absences in the playing roster of late. 

Happyfish Ticklers cemented a place in the top four but will be trying to avoid finishing fourth as that would result in a game against the Titans in the play-off semifinal.  They wouldn’t want a repeat of the 8-2 defeat in Round 12, their first loss in six games.  Their tries have mainly been scored by the blond bombshell brothers Riley Mullen and Simon Crompton, both small in stature but as fast a Venezuelan guinea-pig – and trust me they are fast – really fast!

The bottom four (UBS, Campbells, DART and Harmonic) can relax for the last round of matches knowing that it is the Plate tournament for them. A defeat to Happyfish Ticklers in Round 13 (3-4) scuppered UBS’s chances of a top four finish, even though Agueda Broderick scored her first try of the season, it wasn’t enough to get the points.

Campbells continue to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch.  One thing you areguaranteed is a high-scoring game as they are great going forward but defensively frail.  Special mention must go to Dicky Sawle-Thomas.  With 21 tries this season, he is the division’s 2nd highest scorer and can often be seen contorting himself into all sorts of shapes to get through gaps that appear not to exist.  His absence in Rounds 11 and 12 was a blow for Campbells but they welcomed the return of Johnny Doak, his brace of tries helping secure a 4-2 win over Harmonic.

DART, with only two defeats in their last seven games, secured a win over Campbells (6-4) and two draws against KPMG1 (1-1) and Harmonic (6-6).  In a fast game, Gavin McMaster played a blinder for Harmonic running in five tries, whilst Neal Ainscow of DART showed just why he is the top try scorer in the entire league with a well taken triple. 

In Division 3, the teams that will challenge for the division title have also been decided.  With three wins out of three, Deloitte’s march to the summit continues.  They handed heavy defeats to Ernst &Young (7-1), Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas (7-2) and their main rivals KPMG2 (9-3).  The recent performances of Dean Curtis, withseven tries in the last four games, have added an extra dimension to what was already a potent attack.  They have scored 92 tries this season and are the highest scoring team over all three divisions.  What odds on them bringing up the ton in their last match against Credit-Suisse?  It’s Burlington Bertie 100-30!

KPMG2 are secure in second place but that heavy defeat against Deloitte will sting like a lionfish as it ended a six game unbeaten run.  The tries seem to have dried up a bit lately too and they’ll need to get their main scorers back if they are to challenge for the title.

Credit-Suisse and Rawlinson & Hunter lay third and fourth, level on points, separated only by try-difference going into the last game.  Credit Suisse came off a five game winless streak to get two valuable victories against Ernst & Young (6-0) and Island Heritage (7-1).  Hat-trick Hero Dave Bailey, formerly a commissioned officer in the New Zealand Army, engaged and defeated his enemy by out-manoeuvring them, finding gaps big enough to drive a tank through.  Like a Four-Star General on the battlefield he directed the troops, brought the big guns into play and ordered wave after wave of relentless attack that left the Heritage defence in shock and awe.  Adapting the skirmish tactics of “the Four F’s” he helped Suisse find the gaps, fix the defence, out-flank the wide-men and finish with a score – classic military strategy.  In the end, Heritage was forced to surrender.  When I tried to capture Captain Bailey for an in-depth interview after the game he would only divulge his name, rank and number and muttered something about the Geneva Convention.  A tough nut to crack!  Lance Corporal Ryan Black also got three tries and a medal of honour. 

After good wins against Island Heritage (7-0) and GCM (3-2), Rawlinson & Hunter experienced a shock defeat (6-9) to Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas.  They started brightly and led by three scores when onto the pitch stepped one Venassio Toketokevanua.  This Fijian has more magic than David Copperfield, more trickery than David Blaine and faster hands than Quick Draw McGraw (I know he technically had hooves but you get the point!)  He set up Johnny Wagner for four tries and “bang, bang!” – scored two himself. 

Of the four teams in the bottom half of the table only the Old Fellas and GCM recorded wins.  GCM beat Ernst & Young 6-1 with Neil Montgomery getting three.  It’s back to the drawing board for Ernst & Young and Island Heritage for the last stretch of the season.

Player of the Week

This week’s Heineken Touch Player of the Week goes to Ben Hart of Ogier.  A consistent performer all season he really helped his team press on with three important victories, scoring seven tries in the process.  Ben, six cold green ones can be claimed at the bar!

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