Last gasp Shelver try downs Island Air

| 22/07/2013

(CRFU): As the dust settles after Round 3 of the KRyS GLOBAL Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League we can start to see who the movers and shakers are in each Division. The quality on show is getting better with each passing week and all teams have had to up their game to secure valuable wins. In Division 1 SteppingStones took on their closest rivals Island Air in a gripping game that saw few tries as each team seemed to nullify the play of the other. SteppingStones have, over the last eighteen months, been viewed as the newcomers to touch rugby, upsetting the old order. However, even they are starting to look like an old regal aristocracy as compared to the new revolutionaries of Island Air.

As the likes of James Waters, Nic Swartz and Brad Stephenson stormed the ramparts of the ‘Stones defence, they were thwarted by the robust and solid resistance of Scott McCarty, Vikki Piaso and Rudolf Weder. Even when the dashing Neil Ainscow broke through the barricades he was run down as he tired by the retiring Weder. This will not go down well in the Ainscow household as “speed” and “stamina” are generally considered to be his middle names (actually I think they are Rupert and Winston). 

Indeed, it was the diminutive Weder who struck the first blow with a scorching burst. Waters and Swartz grabbed two back and Vangie Steen notched one for SteppingStones. It looked like an honourable draw may be acceptable to both teams but Morgan Shelver had other ideas and in the dying embers of the game his exceptional try to make it 3-2 to SteppingStones was decisive.

So the uprising may have been squashed for now and this skirmish will probably have little bearing on the final outcome of the season as Island Air will feel they did enough to win the match. SteppingStones will applaud their own never-say-die attitude and the crowd can look forward to the return fixture later in the season.

Possibly the most compelling game camewhen Genesis Five Nations took on Maples2. The latter have traditionally been the quieter, younger sibling to the bigger, bolder, brasher and better Maples1. Spending many of their early years in Division 2 they went about their business in a quiet and unassuming manner. However, of late they have been invited up to the big table of Division 1 and many thought they would be found wanting, starved of tries and having to survive on crumbs of possession.

Last year they put paid that idea as they bit chunks out of many an opposition. This game certainly whetted the appetite for touch rugby and the crowd were asking at the end, “Can I have some more?” You see, this is a new, leaner, fitter Maples2 – possibly better described as Maples2.0.

Recent additions of Dave Acutt and Mike Smith to the roster have reduced the average age and increased the average speed. These guys combined with the irresistible Sophia Dilbert, the irrepressible Marc Randall and the irredeemable Andrew Dean have made Maples2.0 a handful for anyone. Dilbert had three magnificent runs in the first half missing out on a stunning hat-trick only by desperate defensive work. She got one though and it was fitting reward for her Velcro hands and electric feet. Up against them Genesis have re-booted their own team-sheet augmenting their familiar line-up with Neil Montgomery and Chris Brussow.

The game itself was intense and frenetic and the score swung from side to side like a smoking thurible in the hands of an overly enthusiastic altar boy. And the play was smoking hot too. The key period came just after half-time when losing 2-1 Geneses’ Montgomery, Brussow and Mick Kehoe combined three times in a signature wrap-around manoeuvre that had the Maples2.0 defence at sixes and sevens – ironic really because if they’d had six or seven defenders they might have been able to stop the scores. For Maples2.0 the alarm bells were ringing more than at the World Campanology Championships as they looked dazed and confused at the turnaround.

Leigh Bottomley scored her first ever touch try with a superb catch, run and dive in the far corner. As she lay prostrate on the floor the crowd feared that the unfortunate collision with the defender may have rendered her mortally wounded. Anyway, she’s a good Yorkshire lass and as hard as nails so no accidental knee in the head was going to get her down. As Maples2.0 travailed they could not break through and Dave Acutt’s try at the death was naught but a consolation. A final score of 5-3 will be recorded in the record books but a thoroughly entertaining game gives it a 10 out of 10 on the judge’s scorecard.

Maples1 recorded their first win of the season, 8-3 over Harmonic. Riley Mullen (4) and Jyoti Choi (3) were the principal scorers as Maples1, bereft of senior squad members, took some time to break down a resolute Harmonic. In return, Brad Cowdroy scored his third in as many games and Mark Soto executed a wonderful solo effort, wriggling between two defenders to score.

DART secured their first win of the season with a good 3-1 win over Deloitte. Securing tries has thus far proved difficult but improved defensive solidity has made them difficult to beat so once the tries came then the win was always a possibility. It was the pacey Ruan Van Vuuren and the buzzing Bryan Fitzgerald who scored the tries but the win was most notable for the team spirit and togetherness which DART demonstrated.

Deloitte pulled one back through Grant Hiley but their second defeat in three will give them cause for concern.

In a tight game, Walkers beat Zolfo Cooper 4-3. In spite of a brace from Kenin Gulrey and another from Joel Edwards, it was the experienced heads and hands of Walkers that eventually put Zolfo to the sword. One a-piece by James Melen, Paul Smith, Vikki Piaso and MVP Nino Dilbert gave Walkers the win and will help erase the memory of last week’s defeat. They should have plenty of guile to do well in this league but will need to keep a full squad available throughout the summer.

The Village Greenies continued their assault on the Division with a third win in three over Delta Force. Karen Hart was pivotal with a well-executed and quickly taken penalty to score. Nick Quin and Dicky Sawle-Thomas both scored twice. Watch this space for the forthcoming “behind-the-scenes-exposé” on all things Greenie as this reporter gets embedded in the frontlines of touch rugby’s most notorious gang. The performance of Justin Vasquez for Delta, particularly in the first half, was mouthwatering with some sublime back-of-the-hand passing and basketball-like offloads. 

Dave Acutt stretched his lead at the top of the Top Try Scorer’s table with four more for Broadhurst in their 6-1 win over Travel Pros Ticklers. Travel Pros would probably have been hoping for a First Class ticket to the bar given his proficiency in crossing the whitewash. Broadhurst are undefeated this season whereas the Ticklers are 1-0-2 so far.
UBS earned a valuable 4-4 draw against the unbeaten PwC. Agueda Blake was sensational with her sprinting ability and Claude Plamondon took the MVP with a fine performance topped off with his first two tries of the campaign.


In Division 3 the front running is still being made by GCM and KPMG2 who both remain undefeated with wins over Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas (8-1) and EFG Bank (4-0) respectively. Joanne Woods was outstanding for GCM with a couple of important tries and her overall energy and quality in both defence and link-play gave her the Most Valuable player accolade. KPMG2 have a number of players who are equipping themselves well and Daniel Jones (2), Emily Le Couteur and Ian Roberton made the decisive scores.
Ogier and Appleby had an interesting duel and James Waters got his fifth try of the season with a brace against his opponents.

DMS sunk Trident3-0 with Joe Rossi standing out with a couple of tries, one a real pearler of a break through a static defence. Taryn Rusnell also deserves special mention for her performance, especially in tenacious defence.

LIME TV notched up their second consecutive win with a 3-0 defeat of Ernst & Young. Rick “Ronnie” Biggs got two, and Jonny Hillyard the other. Ernst & Young, boasting probably the most dedicated squad in terms of numbers turning up, are still seeking their first win but their heads never dropped and kept going to the end.

BDO narrowly missed out in their 2-0 loss to Rawlinson & Hunter. BDO remain the only team now who has not scored a try all season. When it does come there should be fireworks as it will be richly deserved for the passion they bring to their game. If they could mix it with a little more guile the tries will surely come.


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