DART drowns as Waters works his magic
The going was good to soft for the runners and riders in the fourth round of the National Touch Rugby Championships at the South Sound Rugby ground on Saturday, 12 May. An early pitch inspection gave the all-clear and the games kicked off in a light drizzle. However, what transpired during the afternoon was nothing less than tempestuous; a veritable blizzard of blistering rugby.
Heineken Brew Crew 5/ Maples 4
In the first match, Heineken Brew Crew took on the Mighty Maples. The start was slow and ponderous as both teams tried to deal with the conditions of wet ball in hand. The Brew Crew, unbeaten so far this season, were missing a few players and looked off the pace, especially when Maples took the lead with a superbly worked try for Emily Davies. She glided round the outside of the defence to score out wide. This was followed up with a second when Andrew “Dogger” Dean, in his first outing of the season, sniffed out the try-line and dumped the ball across the whitewash for a try. Woof! Two-nil.
The introduction of Steve Henshaw to the fray that kick-started Heineken into action. Surprisingly quick for a man his size, he added pace to the attacking drives and made several metres each time he had the ball in hand. Gaps in defence were exploited by Keswick Wright and Morgan Heyward to restore parity at half-time.
As the second half started in heavy rain. Tries from Wright and Will Heyward put some daylight between the teams. Maples showed some determined fighting spirit and replied with a neat exchange of passing that put Chandra Friesen in for the score. They kept slogging away but the quick feet of Morgan Heyward scored his fifth try of the season and restored Heineken’s two try cushion. Dean pulled one back in the final moments for Maples but the Brew Crew’s unbeaten run continued.
Walkers 2/Maples 4
This pitted siblings Emily and Martin Davies against each other. In the blue corner, Martin Davies (Walkers) weighing in at 180 lbs wet-through, and in the red corner Emily Davies (Maples) weighing in at… well it’s rude to ask a lady isn’t it?
In a quirk of the fixtures programme, Maples had a quick turnaround to face their old rivals Walkers who were looking for revenge from their 3-11 drubbing when the two met previously. However, they were clearly not looking that hard as they only turned up with seven players for the start, out of a possible roster of 12 players allowed.
Maples, depleted in energy levels after their first match, struggled to find their rhythm in the first half. It was Richard Gordon, who broke the deadlock with a neat burst of pace through two defenders to touchdown. This took Maples into a 1-0 half time lead. Walkers, led by Vikki Piaso, toiled in the rain and refused to have their spirits dampened. She leveled the scores on the restart and then Michael Sumares jinked his way through to even up the scores for a second time, after Gordon had once again restored Maples’ lead.
The Davies’s had kept to different sides of the pitch, but their pivotal contest came when Martin received the ball from a nice Paul Smith offload and he exploded into the Maples defensive line. Sister Emily stopped him going all the way, as shestepped across from her wing to deliver the arresting touch – Sister 1 – Brother 0.
The sides traded attacks until Jyoti Choi, as dummy half, lunged through an offside defensive line to power toward the try line. Dummy halves are prohibited from scoring and a switched-on defense will defend against the supporting runners to prevent the score. Walkers had switched off and Maples’ Marc Randall gave an excellent supporting angle for Choi to offload and the lead was restored. Adam “Huckleberry” Huckle, in his first season on island, added a sixth as Maples exerted a stranglehold, which they did not loosen to return a 4-2 victory.
DART 9/KPMG 5
In their second match-up of the season, DART played KPMG. DART are notorious slow-starters and it was unsurprising that KPMG were the brighter of the two. The Neil Montgomery/Dean Curtis double act was in full flow and they took a deserved 2-1 lead, courtesy of a Curtis sprint down the wing. The hirsute Wellington speedster cuts a mean figure on the pitch and caused concern in the DART defensive ranks all game.
DART finally managed to crank it up, thanks to individual efforts from Riley Mullen and Al Lum to turn in a close half-time lead. In the second half, DART managed to exert more pressure on the KPMG offensive line causing a number of quick turnovers of possession and Captain Stacey Ottenbreit scored her first ever try in touch rugby. As DART pressed, they eventually broke the KPMG spirit – that is, all but for one man – Dean Curtis. He singularly tracked three DART attackers from halfway right back to his try-line, and made the most deserved touch of the day to foil the attempted score. Unfortunately for Dean, his teammates didn’t quite have his energy or passion for the retreat and DART immediately scored from the next phase. Further tries from Mark Robson and Iain Blackwell sealed the deal and DART ran out 9-5 winners.
Team Black 5/Heineken Brew Crew 6
Heineken Brew Crew’s Paul “The Cobra” Deegan was in full flight. With the game finely poised at 5-4 to Team Black, he received the ball 20 metres out. The gap was there and head down, he raced to the line. Closing in fast was Team Black captain Scott McCarty. McCarty, several years younger and several yards faster, would surely reach him before the touchdown. Deegan crash-landed on the turf and failed to make the decisive touch and prevent the score.
Up to that point, Team Black had been in the ascendency. Leading 4-3 at the break, two tries from Simon Raftopoulous, and one a-piece from Scott McCarty and James Waters were answered by two from Morgan Heyward, and one breakout sprint from Keswick Wright. Waters added a fifth and it seemed that revenge for their early season defeat from Heineken was on the cards. But Phil “Balls of” Fourie had already pegged one back when Deegan made his decisive strike. Pulling the scores level energised Heineken and deflated Team Black in equal measure. Wright scored the winner with only minutes remaining for Heineken’s fifth consecutive win on the bounce.
Walkers 5/KPMG 3
Walkers had eased their playing worries with the addition of some extra players including Jacky Rowland. KPMG started well and Neil Montgomery opened the scoring with virtually the first attack of the game. Tries were exchanged, resulting in a 4-2 score at the half-time break.
The second half was much more open as KPMG started to throw the ball around. Excellent inter-exchanges between Montgomery and Roger Priaulx threatened and ultimately were rewarded with a Priaulx try but not before Rupert Bell had added an important fifth for Walkers.
Dart 2/Team Black 8
Up until half-time DART was seriously beginning to put a dent in Team Black’s day. Tenacious defence and some rapid ball movement meant DART were trading punches with the (nearly) all Blacks. Michael Mulligan just missed out on his debut score when he made a scintillating break through the heart of the Black defence. The score at the break was 3-1 in favour of Team Black with Vangie Raftopoulous and Ray Galletly getting scores to match that from James Waters. Mullen added the score for DART. James Waters then made line-break after line-break. His six-try haul, making it 16 in total so far this season, was like death by a thousand cuts to DART, or in this case death by thousand (well, eight!) tries. Riley Mullen, pulled one back, but it was a forlorn hope against a better team and, on this occasion, a better man.
Team of the week — DART
DART are one of the main sponsors of all forms of rugby in Cayman and their commitment to touch rugby in these islands has continued with their team taking part in the National Touch Rugby Championships. With a corps of DART staff at the centre, the team was pulled together by Captain Stacey Ottenbreit. By securing the sponsorship early, she was able to recruit players quite easily with many culled from the Summer Touch League. What she may lack in touch rugby experience she makes up for in enthusiasm and is a firebrand on the pitch with or without the ball. DART have had some mixed results thus far but the motivational half-time team talks of Niall “Sully” O’Sullivan are stuff of legend.