Cayman Pirates win touch ruggerfest

| 09/03/2014

(CRFU): The Cayman Pirates left these shores last weekend in search of gold and glory and found both with an outstanding win in the Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest Touch Tournament 2014. This merry band of 12 marauders beat all-comers and played some fast and furious Touch, a game similar to Rugby League in that each team get six attempts to move the ball up the field and score a try. It is a game for fast hands, fast feet and quick thinking and the Cayman Pirates had all of these a-plenty.

Sponsored by Trident Trust and captained by Morgan Shelver this team has been working hard on the training paddock and it all paid off as they went through the tournament undefeated. Playing against teams from Orlando, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, the Cayman Pirates showed that when itcomes to pillaging and plundering tries then the real Captain Morgan would have been proud of Cayman’s 2014 version.

In their first game, Cayman gave Orlando a lesson in how to move, switch and score winning 7-3. Tries were spread out across the team sending a message to forthcoming opponents that this team was like a multi-headed serpent striking from anywhere on the pitch.

Next up was Fort Lauderdale who offered a greater challenge and threatened Cayman on several occasions but it was Riley Mullen, Cayman’s own little Billy Whizz that started to show a clean pair of heels to the opposition. He scored three of Cayman’s tries in an ill-tempered affair, eventually running out 4-1 winners.

Game 3 saw West Palm Beach offer the stiffest challenge to the Pirates. It was Captain Morgan who led from the front in this one as he rallied his troops. He scored two tries as did Neal Ainscow, with Riley Mullen adding a fifth. But it was great defence by the whole team that gained the win – 5-3.

Undefeated, the Cayman Pirates headed into the semi-final where they cruised to an easy win over Orlando. Mullen, feasting on the carcass of an Orlando defence, he gobbled up 5 tries all by himself and secured a place in the Final. Some of his most delicious tries were served up on a plate by fine passing and handling by Shelver, Marc Randall and Brandon Smith.

And so to the Grand Final. Captain Morgan and his Pirates would have liked to take a long easy walk all over West Palm Beach but nothing could be further from the truth. The Beach put up a fine performance and by full time the scores were tied at 4-4. Mullen had weighed in with a brace in the first half along with one from Nic Swartz. Brad Stephenson added a fourth in the second half but West Palm Beach would not lie down. It was into sudden-death overtime and a case of who could hold their nerve. On this day, it was the Cayman Pirates.

Their first attack was squashed but their defence held strong as West Palm assaulted the barricades. As Cayman moved the ball left and right it appeared that their next attack would falter until Neal Ainscow saw a gap and like a greasy rat up a drainpipe he slipped through to score the winner. The large crowd cheered and Cayman celebrated as Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest Touch Champions 2014.

Riley Mullen was rightly crowned Most Valuable Player of the tournament but he would be the first to agree that Touch is a team game and that the whole squad was vital for the victory.  

Tour Organizer Chandra Friesen said, “Touch is one of the fastest growing team sports in Cayman and we loved the chance to experience playing other teams from overseas. It was a challenge which we enjoyed and bringing back the trophy is even better!”

Full Squad – Morgan Shelver (cpt), Neal Ainscow, Marc Randall, Nic Swartz, Richie Gordon, Brad Stephenson, Riley Mullen, Brandon Smith, Guy Major, Chandra Friesen, Jax McCarty, Evelyn Ritch.


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