National touch champs start with a bang

| 14/03/2013

Hein v KPMG (255x300).jpg(CRFU): Hold on to your hats folks because the world of rugby lit the blue “touch” paper last Saturday with the start of the KRyS Global National Touch Rugby Championships 2013. This season there are seven teams competing for the top prize in a round robin tournament spanning the next two months. All the great and the good of Cayman touch rugby will be on show and judging by the first round results there are some strong contenders to challenge last year’s winners Heineken Brew Crew. Heineken Brew Crew Captain/Manager Caroline Deegan is like the Alex Ferguson of touch rugby as she seamlessly manages to build a dynasty of touch rugby teams with the classic mix of old dogs and new tricks.

Fielding a fresh crop of youngsters harvested from the successful Cayman National Rugby Under 20’s team to play alongside some valuable new female recruits and venerable oldies that make up the full squad, Deegan seems to have the Midas touch when putting a team together. My Mum told me to respect my elders and betters and the Brew Crew are a potent mix of both. Teams in thisyear’s competition would do well to heed the old girl’s advice.

Their opponents, KPMG, were a team filled with new players to touch rugby and it was a tall order to play their first match against the reigning Champions. They won’t have thanked the fixtures coordinator for that one. And so their baptism of fire began and, like Bambi on ice, they struggled to get a foothold in the opening exchanges lacking a degree of balance and co-ordination to their play

Within minutes big Phill Thompson broke the line and stretched his legs for the opening score. The crowd could see the writing on the wall. Except no-one told KPMG because up stepped Captain Andrew Mackay who scored a great try in the corner. It was 1-1. Game on. Sadly, the next ten scores all went to the Brew Crew with Steve Henshaw, Jodie McTaggart, Sinead Wagner, Biancca Johnson, Iain Currie, Keswick Wright and Eddie Westin running in tries from all over the field. Biannca Johnson was starting to dictate play with a series of neat off loads and dummies that had KPMG running in circles. A bravura performance of control and skill to be much admired. 

It was a difficult first day at the office for KPMG and they will surely have better ones.   They never gave up and to their credit and even though the match was lost they came back with a couple of consolation scores at the end for Andrew Edwards and Captain Mackay to make the final score 13-3 to Heineken Brew Crew. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award goes to Jodie McTaggart for her three excellent tries and fantastic running support lines.

A quick view of the team sheets for the second match showed it to be a real David versus Goliath affair with DART taking the role of the diminutive sheep-herder against the colossus of SteppingStones. DART were ravaged by injury and absentees which rendered their squad threadbare at best. But in adversity Man (and/or Woman) is capable of dreaming the impossible and touching glory.

Could they slay these giants of touch rugby? Could they strike a blow for underdogs everywhere? Could they defy all odds and bloody the nose of their gargantuan enemy? Nope, not on this day.

Step v DART (286x300).jpgIt wasn’t for a lack of effort and every single one of the DART team can hold their head high for the effort put in. They just happened upon a team ruthless in spirit, showing all the brutal efficiency and deadly force of a Panzer tank division. Reaping blitzkrieg havoc on the DART forces were Rudolf Weder, Scott McCarty, James Waters, Simon Raftopolous and new boy Morgan Shelver who had heads spinning with his movement and pace. He rightly takes the MVP award. Scott Murray scored a fine individual try for DART just before half-time but it was a meagre feast of crumbs from their opponents table. A final score of 12-1 was a bit of a whomping but DART will take solace from the fact that it doesn’t get much more difficult than this.

The final game of the day saw the Cayman touch rugby equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters take on one of Cayman’s longest standing touch teams. SideBar NWNT have set their sights on nothing less than world domination and put together a roster that boasts speed, trickery, panache and oozles of self-confidence. Their first victim, I mean opponent, was Walkers, who have a good deal of touch rugby experience and play a solid game but lack a real firecracker to ignite the scoreboard.

As the game started it was clear the SideBar NWNT tactics were for quick pick-ups, burst through a retreating defensive line then offload to supporting runners to score. Central to this was MVP Chris “Meadowlark” Palmer. Using his “now you see it, now you don’t” bag of ball-tricks he would hoodwink an opponent into grasping at thin air. He put the pace into space with offloads to Jyoti Choi, Simon Crompton and Riley Mullen to burst through the defence. It was great to watch from the side-lines as try after try went in. Racing to a quick 4-0 lead, Walkers had an uphill battle but two excellent tries from Paul Smith and Nick Dunne got them back in the game. However, that was as good as it got and they didn’t manage another score. More tries from Palmer, Choi, Crompton, Jo Ziegler, Chandra Friesen and Adam Huckle sealed an emphatic 12-2 win.

On this evidence three teams have put their hats in the ring and have a realistic chance of winning the title and next week Genesis Trust, who had a week off, get their chance to impress. It promises to be a great season and whoever becomes the KRyS Global National Touch Rugby Champs 2013 will have had to pull out some big performances to get the crown.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Sports

About the Author ()

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    good have this back. some incisive writing, rapier wit and brings the characters in the game of touch rugby to life. Awesome job.