Cayman ride out late Princeton attack

| 27/03/2013

CNM v P 1 A (223x300).jpg(CRFU): The Cayman National Men’s XV squad put to bed any fears of a 2nd poor show of form against a younger, less experienced US College side when Princeton University came to town last week. This time last year Cayman welcomed Dartmouth College and only the Cayman Select sides (made up of players ineligible or not selected to make up the national squad) had any success against their Dartmouth counterparts as the series ended 2-2 with Dartmouth taking the bigger scalp of the Cayman National XV twice. It was an experience the Cayman players clearly learned from as Cayman won the Princeton series 3-1. Photos by Caroline Deegan

The opening game on 18 March between the Cayman National XV and Princeton was a bruising, ugly affair with Cayman racking up a massive penalty count but still managing to keep the Princeton players off the score board. The Game ended 32-0 and although Princeton started brightly up front in the forwards, some big hits from the Cayman backline left the Princeton boys a little gun-shy in attack. The mounting penalty count kept Princeton involved in the game with 3 Caymanian’s sin binned with yellow cards and 1 player red carded for continual infringement at the breakdown but the numbers advantage did little to aid the Princeton efforts.

The 2nd fixture on 19 March between a Cayman Select side made up of Advance Fire and Plumbing Buccaneers and John Doak Architecture Iguanas (dubbed the “Iganeers” by local commentator Koro Vakauta) took on a Princeton B XV which featured some honorary Princetonians in the form of Vanassio Tokotokovanua, Edward Westin, Stuart Geddes & Shaun Gerrard but regardless the Iganeers played a much more controlled game than their national counterparts and marched out a 34-5 win with Princeton buoyed by their first score of the tour. Cayman’s major highlight coming in the form of a hat-trick of tries from Justin Wight home from college for the holidays.

CNM v P 1 B (500x275).jpgThe 3rd Test (21 March) yet again against the Princeton B XV, was to be the highlight of the Princeton Cayman Islands adventure as a Queensgate Pigs Trotters and Century 21 Cayman Storm combined forces team (dubbed “the Porm”) took on a Princeton B XV featuring some faces from the Buccaneers who had earlier piled the points on the visitors in the form of Addae Andrews & Stefan Prior.

The Porm were dominant in the early exchanges and indeed were 17-0 up after only 10 minutes of playing time. The game looked to be heading for a score similar to a cricket match before the Porm took their foot firmly off the gas and only managed 1 more score before the half time break to ring in a score of 22-0 before the Princetonians and their honorary Caymanians responded with 24 points (15 of which were from Stefan Prior and Addae Andrews). The winning score coming from a strong run from Stefan Prior with the last play of the game to leave the Porm shell shocked.

The final test of the Princeton series saw a resurgent Princeton side, clearly more acclimatized and gelled after a weeks’ worth of training in South sound taking on a Cayman National XV intent on playing a cleaner, more controlled game but the change of focus did not improve Cayman’s fortunes on the scoreboard. Cayman could not find the defensive weaknesses the 2nd time round and the scores were only 5-5 at half time. Moreover Cayman continued to infringe at the breakdown allowing Princetona “pressure release valve” when Cayman got within scoring distance and indeed Cayman saw yellow once more and were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes of the fixture.

It was only a concerted 2nd half effort late in the 2nd half the game which saw Cayman score thanks to Fijian lock Severi Tabuaniwera to take the game to a final score of 10-5 and seal a series 3-1 win over Cayman’s visitors.

Pictures (by Caroline Deegan)
Pic1 – Vanassio Tokotokavanua and Eddie Westin line up their tackles against Princeton
Pic2 – Phil Fourie runs from the base of a scrum to feed Simon Crompton

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