Last Saturday, April 1, the Waterford Alex Alexander League Championship was completed with what looked to be a lopsided contest between the undefeated competition heavy-weights, the Don Fosters Dive Iguanas, and the Cayman Storm – who had had their inaugural victory only a few weeks before. In fact, the Don Fosters Dive Iguanas had not lost a round-robin match for the last three seasons – their only two defeats being in the grand-final of each year to the BPC Buccaneers.
The Iguanas could not be dislodged from the top of the table and the 2006 League championship title but were without a trio of star players – the competitions leading try-scorer Chris Bunce; mercurial play-maker Marcus Cumber and ball scavenging flanker Rob Aspinall. The Storm on the other hand had the opportunity to leap-frog the Queensgate Pigs Trotters into third place, and avoid the Don Fosters Dive Iguanas in the Knock Out Cup round 1 on April 22.
From the outset it was indeed lopsided – however it was the Cayman Storm that dominated proceedings. Receiving the ball with a strong wind at their backs, they kicked deep into the Iguanas half, and stole their lineout ball. From the ensuing breakdown they spun the ball wide and put Venasio Tokatokavanua into a huge gap outside the Buccaneers centre. Vanasio beat the cover defense to score untouched.
In a carbon copy of the initial restart, this time with some amazing handling, fullback Stu McMillan shot through the same gap Vanasio had just exploited, stepping inside the faster cover defense, he offloaded to Venasio who duly touched down under the posts. McMillan converted, and within 2 minutes the Storm led 12-0.
Shocked into action, the Iguana defense tightened up and they took the game to the Storm, attacking deep into the Storm half. Iguana full-back Cameron Smith showed his own skills, coming into first receiver and stepping his way through the Storm defense and carrying over the covering defenders. 12-5 and the game was well and truly on.
The game tightened up, with neither side able to penetrate improved defense. Storm Captain Tim Rossiter made a break inside, deep into Iguana territory until solid defense from monster Iguana winger Darren Trickett, and a lack of Storm support, snuffed out the opportunity. Similarly Iguana fly-half Mark Colless made some trade-mark breaks until a recurring ankle injury forced him off. With the half drawing to a close, tiring defense saw the Iguana blind side undefended. Storm winger Venasio, sniffing yet another opportunity shot down the blindside, and with too much pace for the cover to bring his personal tally to 3. The bleachers roared their appreciation, and the Storm lead was 19-5.
As the half-wound down, excellent Storm forward work had them camped on the Iguana 5 metre line. The Storm Scrummage produced excellent ball from the ensuing five meter scrum and winger Vanasio flew in from his wing and a beautiful delayed pop pass from half-back Kramer Bell put him in the gap to crash over for his 4th try – of the half! 24-5 and the half was over.
With the strong breeze at their backs, the Iguanas knew they were still in the game, and clever tactical kicking saw them camped in the Storm half. With the Iguanas dominating possession, and a strong breeze, a rare chance saw the Storm backs try their hand to run out the ball. A mixed up centre switch saw the ball go to ground and replacement Iguana fly-half Adrian Porter pounced. Toeing the ball ahead, he showed excellent pace to beat the cover defense and crash over for the opening score of the half. Unable to convert his own try, it was 24-10 and the Iguanas were on their way back.
The Iguanas continued to dominate, until a mistake at the break-down saw replacement Storm prop, John Wagner break away down the side-line. Running over 60 metres, he was finally brought down by the cover defense. Showing great skill, he offloaded in the tackle to his supporting winger, Justin Vasquez, who beat the first defender, only to be tripped by a desperation covering tackler. Unfortunately he hit the touchline with his foot as he fell, and the Iguanas breathed a sigh of relief.
It was all for nought though, as the Storm flanker duo of Josh Clark & Campbell Law once again turned over the ball. From the break-down the Storm spun it wide to find a flying Vanasio who crashed over for his 5th try! McMillan could not convert but time was running out for the Iguanas and it was 29-10.
In the final seconds of the game, the Storm had a rare second half attacking opportunity. Captain Tim Rossiter beat his man, opposition Captain Jon Rew, and sliced through the defensive line. Showing admirable pace, Rew recovered to tackle Rossiter and they crashed over the line. Despite Rew’s valiant effort, the try was awarded and whistle blew full-time. Final score 34-10, a memorable six try to two victory for the Storm, and an entertaining feast of rugby for the spectators.
With his 5 try effort, Venasio leap-frogged Chris Bunce to take over as the leading try-scorer after the regular season. Similarly, the Storm finished the season third, behind the Don Foster’s Dive Iguanas, BPC Buccaneers and just above the Queensgate Pigs Trotters.
As the Waterford Alex Alexander League championship comes to a halt with the Don Fosters Iguanas to be crowned on the 22nd the Rugby action at the South Sound pitch really heats up.
Next weekend, April 8 at 5pm, is National Team trials (Possibles v Probables) in preparation for the Diamond Law Associates Series versus Canada and Bermuda.
April 22 is the first round of the Waterford Alex Alexander Memorial knock out shield. Match 1 will see the BPC Buccaneers take on the Cayman Storm at 3pm; followed by the Don Fosters Dive Iguanas taking on the Queensgate Pigs Trotters at 5pm. The finals to be played on May 12th
The Diamond Law Associates Series kicks off on April 28, with Cayman A taking on Canada A. April 30 sees the Cayman National side take on Bermudas National team, then a combined Cayman/Bermuda side will take on Canada on Wednesday May 3. The Diamond Law Associates Series culminates on Saturday May 6, with the Cayman National team taking on Canada at 5pm. A veritable feast of international rugby, all held on the all-new South Sound Rugby pitch.