Race for Rugby League title gets closer

| 19/02/2013

(CRFU): After 4 weeks of top notch rugby action in South Sound the Advance Fire and Plumbing Buccaneers have slowly but surely climbed their way from last place in the opening week of games to 2nd place, with only 2 weeks of the Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy action left in the domestic Rugby season. Having already secured the Heineken Charity Shield with a 2 point win over the Century 21 Cayman Storm, the Buccaneers faltered in the opening league game with a 25-10 loss to the John Doak Architecture Iguanas.

They were held to a 17-17 draw by the Queensgate Pigs Trotters in week 2, but turned their season around in week 3 with an impressive 52-6 win over the Century 21 Cayman Storm, followed quickly by one of the best games of the domestic season in which they defeated the Pigs Trotters 20-11.

The win over the Pigs Trotters, mingled with a week 4 win for the Iguanas over the Cayman Storm saw The Iguanas jump back into first place in the league table, hanging on to a slim 3 point lead while the Buccaneers jumped into second place over the Pigs Trotters on points difference.

The Buccaneers have hit their stride at the right time because a win over the John Doak Iguanas in week 5 could secure them the league trophy, making the Buccaneers the first ever team to hold both the Charity Shieldand the Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy at the same time. The only team to manage something similar was the DHL Cayman Storm, when that in 2010 they held both the Charity Shield and the Waterford Vase (now sponsored by DART).

It looks like it will be a fight to the death as the Iguanas look for their first trophy of the season and a potentially record equalling 5th league trophy victory. Meanwhile the Buccaneers, if they win, will not only have their 6th league trophy but will be well on course to win the first ever “treble” in domestic Rugby history.  

The early fixture on 16 February saw the struggling Century 21 Cayman Storm succumb to their 2nd heavy loss of the season, a crushing 48-3 to the John Doak Architecture Iguanas. The Storm, missing key players in the second and back row and Simon Crompton at scrum half, welcomed back talisman Vanassio Tokotokovanua from long term injury, but the inclusion of the fleet footed Fijian did little to improve the Storm’s fortunes as the absences in the Storm pack meant little lineout ball or scrum ball to work with. When the Iguanas fed the ball with misplaced kicks to the Storm back-line the likes of Keswick Wright, Baron Solomon and Tokotokovanua did causethe Iguanas defence issues but a lone Josh Brown penalty kick resulted in the only points the Storm recorded on the day as the Iguanas ran in 48 unanswered points. The Storm, unfazed by the mounting points deficit, did put in big hits wherever possible thanks to Captain Jacob Macadam, Claudio Sarfati and Hugh Williams.

Whilst the Iguanas win was a tale of one way traffic, the Buccaneers clash against the Pigs Trotters was a tale of two finely balanced rugby teams, one used to winning big games and the other more used to sitting at the bottom of the league table.

The opening minute of the game set the tone for a tough match as the Pigs Trotters lost 2 players and conceded a converted try to the Buccaneers when a big hit on Pigs Trotter scrum half Iain Currie saw him spill the ball to Addae Andrews to run in for the score. Currie’s first touch of the ball was to be his last as the hard blow lead to his removal from the field of play with a concussion, whilst Pig’s young winger Mark Westin broke a finger seeing his match also end early. Unfazed by the early set back the Trotters looked to their bench, made the necessary personnel changes and were soon on the score board themselves when scrum half Neil Montgomery found his way through the strong Buccaneers back line defence.

A Marco du Plessis penalty kick saw the Pigs ring in the half time whistle with the slimmest lead of 8-7.

The second half was also a tight affair but the Buccaneers game plan lead to two unconverted tries and a penalty kick from Mick Kehoe, Paul Murphy and John Murphy compared to a lone drop goal to du Plessis of the Trotters.

The final points of the game, a John Murphy penalty kick denied the Pigs Trotters an all-important losing bonus point.

Whilst the Iguanas top the table with 14 points and the Buccaneers and Pigs sit on 11 points, the top 3 teams know that 2 more wins for any of the top 3 will very likely seal the league!

The next games text place on 23rd February, Century 21 Cayman Storm (Home) vs. Queensgate Pigs Trotters (Away) at 2pm and John Doak Architecture Iguanas (Home) vs. Advance Fire & Plumbing Buccaneers (Away) at 4pm.

Cayman Rugby can be followed on Facebook or on Twitter, @caymanrugby.

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