Island Air ‘touch’ the sky

| 16/09/2013

(CRFU): Island Air sealed the deal and were crowned Division One winners of the KRyS Global Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League 2013 with an final emphatic 11-2 win over Maples2. Over the last few weeks they have turned their potential into reality as recent wins over head-to-head rivals SteppingStones confirmed that their stars are very much in the ascendency. This was their first season together under the Island Air banner and congratulations must go to Captain Brad Stephenson who has put together a potent mix of sizzling pace, solid structure, guile, and a great team spirit.

Gathering a diaspora of touch nomads from a variety of other teams Island Air shook off a couple of early season wobbles and finally started to believe that they could take on reigning champions SteppingStones and not only gain parity but move ahead.

Momentum is key in all sports and the old adage of “It’s not how you start the season that counts, it’s how you finish it” could not be more applicable.

One of the key factors to their success was their strength in depth right across the pitch with both guys and girls playing pivotal roles at different times throughout the season. For sheer speed off the mark and to burst through the gap look no further than James Waters and Neal Ainscow, the former starting the season on fire and the latter revved it up as the season came to its conclusion. Then there was Shaun Hardcastle, a veteran of Touch and in his first season here in Cayman he ran their training sessions and provided the structure to many of their plays.  

However, games of Touch are not just about those who get the glory of scoring tries. In fact, many of their victories were achieved because of the miserliness of their defence. Many an attack aims to find for mismatches – fast against slow, fresh against tired, guys against girls. It is in this regard that Island Air take all the accolades. Major credit must go to their sorority of sisters who, not only weighed in with their fair smattering of tries but also were nigh on impossible to score against. Special shout-outs go to Laney Kerr, Ashley Waters and Chandra Friesen. 

Captain Brad Stephenson was brimming with pride in his description of the season, “It’s a lot of hard work getting a top team out on the park each week, but it really helps having a lot of dedicated touch players in the squad. A good mix of solid structure and champagne rugby is how we got there in the end, especially as the girls we have allow us to spread the ball right across the field. A special thanks to Marcus Cumber and Island Air for sponsoring the season.  Marcus is passionate about the game and was a great addition to the squad.”

So, congratulations toIsland Air – League One winners of the KRyS Global Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League 2013. The question is – can they do the double and also win the Finals Day play-offs? What is for certain is that the likes of SteppingStones, Maples1 and Genesis Five Nations will not lie down and roll over. It should be quite a spectacle.

Island Air Winning Team: Brad Stephenson (capt.), Ashley Waters, Richard Sawle-Thomas, Chandra Friesen, Laney Kerr, Emily Vaka-uta, James Waters, Jacqui Davis, Joanne Remillard, Keswick Wright, Lisa Bird, Marcus Cumber, Neal Ainscow, Nic Swartz, Shaun Hardcastle, Sheila Crosby, Brandon Smith.


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