Maples lead sprint for the touch title
(CRFU): Round 4 of the Cayman Summer Touch Rugby League was completed last week with thrills and spills on show for the massed crowds at the South Sound Rugby Ground. Here are the highlights: When KPMG1 took on Ogier in Division 1, both teams were looking for their first win of the season. Hampered by notable absences in their playing squad, both teams have struggled to score tries so it was not surprising that this was a close game with some much at stake. It was KPMG1, inspired by a fleet-footed, yellow-booted Michael Sumares hat-trick, who notched up their first win of the season. Photos: by Caroline Deegan
Neil and Marida Montgomery, as good a husband and wife double-act since John and Yoko hit the sheets to proclaim “Give Peace a Chance”, drove KPMG1 forward and they also hit the sheets this time too – the score sheets that is! Ogier can hold their heads up high as they gave their all and returned tries for Kathy-Sue Alberga (2) and Brad Conolly. The final score 5-3 for KPMG1.
Sometimes in sport there are games that have a little bit extra when it comes to bragging rights. There is a connection between the teams that goes beyond simple rivalry. It is as if they share a symbiotic relationship, a sharing of their very genetic code. So extensive are their similarities, that it is their differences that define them. In football, there is the Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers, India v. Pakistan in cricket, and of course any (ex)Commonwealth colony against the beloved Motherland England.
And so it was in Round 4 when the mighty Maples1 took on their younger, better looking siblings of Maples2 in a game of touch rugby that would live long in the memory. Maples2 shocked Maples1, the crowd and even themselves by taking a shock but deserved 3-0 lead through the superb Marc Randall, the splendid Sheila Crosby and the sensational Alex Robertson. Maples1 were in disarray, their frustration clearly evident from the volume emanating their bench. It is to their eternal credit that from impending implosion they managed to turn defeat into defiance and come back strongly with six unanswered tries.
The decisive blow came with their two tries scored by Carmel Harms and Jyoti Choi in the last seconds of the first half, bursting Maples2’s bubble with a giant prick. Perhaps Maples2 lacked the belief that they could beat their more experienced opponent, or perhaps they just ran out of steam but the eventual scoreline of 6-3 to Maples the Elder demonstrated two things. Firstly, Maples1 will not give up their title easily and secondly, Maples2 have arrived in the big time and can trouble any team in this division.
In a game that can be taken a tad too seriously at times there was one funny incident that bears repeating. With the game in the balance Maples1 were attacking 5 metres from the Maples2 line. Adam Huckle threw a long speculative pass in an attempt to free his wide runners. With a mind moving in Matrix-time, Mark Robson instinctively saw the pass, moved forward and caught the ball like Michael Jordan going for a slam-dunk. He quickly realised that this interception meant that, with the whole of the Maples1 team behind him, he had only to run 50 metres to score the Try of the Season. Off he set, with Maples1 captain Marty Livingston in hot pursuit. Now there have been some amazing sprinters in the world - Usain Bolt, Osafa Powell, Linford Christie, and Carl Lewis – but these two aren’t among them.
Kiwi Livingston, with a career high of second in the St. Patrick’s College, Wellington’s “Under 14’s sixty-yard Bare Foot Dash”, and Robson, third (of three) in the Chatsworth Infants three-legged Grand Final, were both locked in a race that would have the crowd out of their seats. Cue Chariots of Fire music. So enthralling was the chase that it seemed as if they were running in slow motion. The race to the try line seemed to take forever. Now I’m not saying these guys aren’t quick but I’ve seen paint dry faster. 50 metres, 40, 30, 20, 10, the ground was being eaten up slower than an anaconda swallowing a donkey. What happened next I am not too sure?
Whether it was a disturbance in the Force, a subterranean earth tremor, a butterfly flapping his wings in a Chinese rain forest, a tear in his adductor longus or whether a sudden inner ear infection affected his balance but, like Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National, Robson stumbled and staggered as he closed in for the score. The crowd collectively held their breath. “He’s going… he’s going… he’s gone” they shouted in unison. With arms flailing, he dipped and fell crashing to the ground just short of the finishing line. Livingston finally caught him and made the touch by collapsing on top of him. Eternally grateful to teammates Finn O’Hegarty and Sheila Crosby who arrived like the 7th Cavalry they turned the loss of a certain try into, what can only be extremely optimistically called, a 50 metre gain. A quick O’Hegarty pass to Crosby and the try was finally scored. Mr. Bolt can sleep easy tonight.
The star-studded Stepping Stones were too much for DART running in 7 tries to 2. It was Wiki Hitchman who stole the show with a performance of style, guile and with a smile she rightly took the Most Valuable Player award. Indeed, one of Stepping Stones most potent weapons is the girls on the team. Any good touch team uses all their resources and Stepping Stones exemplify this. Tries for Marsia Weder, Lisa Bird and Wiki Hitchman kept the scoreboard ticking over as Riley Mullen, Steve Henshaw (2) and Simon Raftopolous added the extras. Mat Bishop and the ever running Fiona Brander got the DART scores but it was too little to trouble a Stepping Stones team beginning to hit their straps.
Genesis Five Nations saw off the challenge of Trident Titans with a solid 6-3 win. Genesis Five Nations are struggling for numbers lately but Lisa Kehoe, one of the longest serving touch players, showed why she is one of the most dangerous players in the league scoring a fine hat-trick. Mick Kehoe and Howard Byrne (2) got the others as Trident Titans could not get their game together at the pivotal times to put the Five Nations defence under pressure.
Harmonic continue at the top of the League 2 table with a hard fought 4-2 win over UBS. Orchestrated by Tim Rossiter, they bossed the game but were hit by a severe case of “juggle-itis” virtually any time they got near the try line. As if playing with a super-heated King Edwards or an incandescent Maris Piper, the final pass would be juggled and dropped just when it looked easier to score. At half-time Rossiter must have handed out some invisible oven gloves and things improved with scores from Kieron Lyons (2), Brad Cowdroy and Tim Fitzgerald. Unsurprisingly, it was the Irishman Kieron Lyons who managed to hold on to the hot potato longer than most to score his tries. Colm Moynihan and Dan Allard scored for UBS.
The Heineken Light Maidens dominated a submissive Rawlinson & Hunter giving them a strapping six of the best. Lisa Kehoe walloped them three times with Sharlee Henshaw, Vangie Raftopolous and Ashley Waters rubbing salt in the wound with one a-piece. Final score 6-1 – quite a spanking!
Walkers Blue Iguanas got their first win of the season with a 4-3 victory over Broadhurst, whilst Island Heritage maintained an unbeaten run with a solid 6-4 win against Campbells, two tries each for Marvin Gordon, Ian Robertson and Brandon Smith doing the damage.
Deloitte are building their season nicely with a second win on the bounce. The introduction of Robbie Cribb, Cayman National XV’s player, will add to their already burgeoning reputation and the other teams will do well to pay them some mind. They beat DMS 7-2.
The battle for first and second place in Division 3 was resolved when Zolfo Cooper took on Delta Force and beat them 5-2. At the start of the match both teams were unbeaten and had both shown that they deserved to be at the top of the table with some smart play. Two tries from Marc Randall and one each for Tammy Fu, Loletta Hanna and Neil Coley did the damage as Delta force’s key strike weapons Rupert Bell and Jyoti Choi could only muster one each. The standard of touch rugby on display showed that the quality in the lower divisions is picking up and both teams can look for more success this season.
KPMG2 leapfrogged into second spot with a 5-3 win over struggling Ernst & Young. Ian Roberton scored three to bring his season tally to eight. Miguel Lopez scored the other two.
Credit Suisse bounced back from last week’s defeat with a fine victory over LIME. Dave Bailey, vying with Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas’ Dennis Hunter as the oldest player in touch rugby, was the most influential player on the pitch and not only scored two tries but also won the MVP award.
But anything Bailey can do, Hunter can do too. His performance for the Old Fellas against GCM was so outstanding the ref awarded him the Player of the Match. Unfortunately, GCM had just enough in the tank to steal a 4-3 win against the Division’s perennial losers.
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