Cox conquers the Suisse mountain

| 11/07/2012

week2a (282x300).jpg(CRFU): Ding! Ding! Round 2 of the Cayman Summer Mixed touch Rugby League started with some fiery games, some dazzling strikes, some dodgy footwork and a couple of knockout punches (not literally) in some fantastic touch rugby – all on show at the South Sound Rugby Ground.  The match of Round 2 came in Division 3 when Delta Force took on Credit Suisse. Originally billed as a team who had hardly stepped onto a touch rugby pitch Delta Force is quickly gathering a group of players who not only have some game but also some belief in their team’s ability. (Photo Caroline Deegan)

Division 3
Like all great sporting stories it is the human element behind the game itself that creates the drama. Tales of triumph over tragedy, defiance over defeat and conquest over catastrophe are stuff of Hollywood legend. The greatest sporting movies ever made such as Friday Night Lights, Raging Bull, Rocky, Cool Runnings and Caddyshack all detail how the lowly underdog, often beaten down by tragic events, overcomes adversity to land on top of the pile. Step forward one Shelly Cox. Having had serious back surgery not four months ago, Cox had been told never to play again. Her touch rugby career was finished.

Would the game lose one of its most colourful characters? Like heck it would. It wasn’t a Friday and there weren’t any lights as Cox pulled on her boots and surveyed her opposition with steely resolve. The challenge facing her was the Division Three equivalent of scaling Mont Blanc. Credit Suisse have a number of big name and big game players who perform with an intensity that can be too much for many a Division 3 side.

It was too late to back out or even to put her back out so on she went with a Delta Force team that had no girl substitutes. However, if you are going to climb a mountain, as Yazz once sang, “The Only Way Is Up”. She hassled, she cajoled, she stole ball, she took on the opposition and beat them down. Would her as yet untested back stand up?

I can report that Cox’s lumbar is made of stern stuff. Having not only survived the game she conquered the summit of the Suisse Mountain with a pièce de résistance. Two discs missing and two inches shorter than at her statuesque-best, Cox received a loose pass five metres out in the final minutes of the match. In her desire Cox to score she stretched for the line. I could be wrong but I swear she visibly grew six inches just to touch the ball down over the try-line. Blood pumping through her veins she punched the air. Her comeback was complete. The excited members of her team came over to congratulate her on the score and for providing such a thrilling climax to the game. She came, she scored, she conquered.

LIME are an entertaining team. Both on and off the field they are bold, they are brash and a lot of fun. Taking the game seriously-ish enough on the pitch, and definitely not too seriously off it, they epitomize the fine spirit of touch rugby. In their match against Ernst & Young they ran out 7-4 winners. As the game unfolded, the desire and intensity of both teams ramped up. Ernst & Young hurried and harried LIME like an annoying little terrier with a firm bite on your trouser leg. LIME could not shake off the young pups of Ernst & Young.

Barnaby Richardson, often described as a bit of a bulldog in a china shop himself, made a couple of clean line breaks and gave LIME a well-deserved lead. Ernst & Young pressed the LIME line and it was only the crackerjack performance of the elastic Jonny Hillyard that stopped several certain tries from being scored. It was as if Stretch Armstrong himself had come to Cayman and had joined the LIME defence. Unfortunately for LIME he can’t be on the pitch the whole time and eventually two tries from Ronan McCarthy, and one each from Curtis Wilson and Bronwen Gangler put Ernst & Young in the hunt but were not enough to hold LIME at bay who held on for the win.

Zolfo Cooper, another team in their first season of touch, look more handy than the Hindu God Krishna wearing giant foam fingers at a Miami Dolphins game. Their many hands made light work of Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas with tries from Marc Randall, Loletta Hanna, Iain Gow, Neil Coley, Gwynn Hopkins, Tammy Fu, and Katherine Maw. Following a simple “pass, pass, pass, score” game-plan Zolfo Cooper never needed to get out of second gear. Mind you, they were up against an Old Fellas team which has come to resemble a circus clown’s knockabout car of a side. Self-destruction doesn’t really cover it and for all their endeavour they left gaping holes in their rusty bodywork of a defence.

Dennis Hunter, Captain and quarterback for this team showed some nice touches but the move of the day had to come from the lilliputious Graeme Thomson. His tongue-in-cheek attempt to emulate the hitch-kick of the great Fijian rugby star Waisale Serevi looked more like a long-since-retired Michael Flatley trying to Riverdance his way through the Zolfo Cooper lines. Tickets to the next showing of the Lard of the Dance will be available in Round 3. I’m booking front row seats now.

In the final game of Division 3, GCM ran out comfortable winners over KPMG2. A brace from KPMG2’s Ian Roberton won him the MVP award but all his considerable efforts were fruitless against a well-stocked GCM team who notched up five of their own through Niall O’Sullivan, Paul Hennessy, Colin Travers (2) and Ronan McCarthy.

Division 1
A game of contrasts is always a fascinating prospect and this was true when Maples2 confronted the Genesis Five Nations. Maples2 are the wide-eyed, rabbits-in-the-headlights newcomers to Division 1, Genesis Five Nations the oncoming 40 ton/1000 watts juggernaut of touch rugby.

Both teams were short of some key players but both teams put together an exciting game that kept the crowd sitting on tenterhooks until the final whistle – an eye watering prospect you’ll agree.

Maples2 stunned Five Nations with an early individual strike from Marc Randall. This was an early warning of what Randall had in store for them as he continually tormented the ‘Nations defence with his speed of thought and speed of foot. Ably accompanied by the barnstorming Finn O’Hegarty, Maples2 took a surprising 3-1 lead into half-time. However, just as a tiny snowball rolling downhill slowly builds into a colossal mega-death ball, so Genesis Five Nations started to get their act together in the second half. Exploiting defensive weaknesses out wide first Mick Kehoe, then Laren Gillespie and Caroline Deegan ran in easy tries from two metres out. It looked like Maples2 had shot their bolt but once again Randall and O’Hegarty crossed the whitewash to take a 5-4 lead.

Could they hang on for an unexpected victory? Sadly, no.

Durability is woven through the heavy fabric of the Genesis Five Nations and at the very death, or at least the last rites, of the game they pulled out a score that broke the heart if not the spirit of Maples2. A commendable 5-5 draw left the honours even. Rarely in life can a cute fluffy bunny stop a big truck in its tracks – it did that day!

DART notched up their inaugural Division 1 victory with a great 5-3 win over Ogier. Originally daunted by their inclusion in the highest Division, DART showed that they clearly belong at the top table. A blistering hat-trick from Ryan Ostendorf made all the difference as Ogier struggled with a reduced roster for the second round in a row. The extras were added by Alex Parvnik, down the centre and right-winger Mat Bishop. Jennifer Collins made a valuable contribution for Ogier to win the MVP award but tries from Brad Conolly and David Cooney couldn’t rescue the result for Ogier.

Maples1 gave Trident Titans a lesson in clinical finishing and handed the Titans their first loss of the season. The new season has started well for the Champions with two big wins. Ten Maples1 tries from Jyoti Choi (3), Joanne Ziegler (2) and one a-piece from Scott MacDonald, Adam Huckle, Chris Palmer, Mark Fagan and Joan Murphy were answered by three from Trident Titans’ Nic Swartz, Dean Curtis and David Laau taking the honours – final score 10-3. A special mention must go to Dean Curtis who is departing the island to return to his native New Zealand. A fine player of speed and agility combined with the good humour needed to play touch rugby, he will be sorely missed by his teammates and opponents alike.

Stepping Stones continued their good form of Round 1 with a controlled 6-1 victory over KPMG1. Sharing the tries throughout the team, they use a combination of quick passing and quick thinking to overrun their opponents. Vikki Piaso won the MVP not only for scoring a great try but also for her effervescent performance and encouragement of teammates.

Division 2
Division 2 is rapidly proving to be the most competitive in the league. Harmonic top the table with two wins on the bounce. Quite a contrast to last season performances where they only had a 21% win ratio. They usually suffer from long term absences over the course of the summer so any wins at this stage of the season are points in the bag. 

Vying for second spot are Campbells, Heineken Light Maidens, Island Heritage and UBS all just a single point behind. Their forthcoming match-ups over the next few weeks will be intriguing. Deloitte and Walkers Blue Iguanas have made a steady start with two draws each proving themselves difficult to beat but lacking the killer instinct right now. Rawlinson &Hunter, DMS and Broadhurst find themselves at the wrong end of the table but there are still a lot of games to turn that around. They’ll be looking forward to Round 3 to start their comeback.

Division 2 Results    
Broadhurst 3 v. 8 Harmonic
UBS 7 v. 6 DMS
Deloitte 6 v. 6 Campbells
Walkers Blue Iguanas 2 v. 2 Heineken Light Maidens
Island Heritage 2 v. 1 Rawlinson & Hunter

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  1. Anonymous says:

    top notch pulitzer prize winning reportage. this guy must be some sort of comedy genius – SNL should sign him up!