In perfect rugby conditions – overcast and not too hot – the Waterford Knockout Cup Final was played between the Alex Alexander Cup Champions the Don Fosters Dive Iguanas and the reigning premiers the BPC Buccaneers.
The Iguanas were confident, having accounted for the Buccaneers easily during their run to the Alex Alexander Cup victory. However the Buccaneers had beaten them in similar circumstances in the previous two finals and were confident of a repeat.
The game was intense, with both teams penalized brutally, but the Buccaneers controlled proceedings with their dominant pack and the canny boot of scrum-half Sam Sage. However, it took until late in the first half before this dominance was translated into points – with the lively stepping of fly-half Matt McKenzie letting him dance through what looked like an impenetrable Iguana defensive line. Captain Mick Kehoe could not convert, although he did manage to secure a penalty to leave the Buccaneers up 8-0 at half time.
The Iguanas had their opportunities – fly-half Marcus Cumber had broken the line more than once, as had Chris Bunce and Mark Colless, but they could not make their passes, or chose to run rather than use their overlaps. It was not until the second half that they managed to get on the board. Some enterprising play from the Iguanas forwards allowed Kenny Stewart to drive himself over the line. Unfortunately kicking was their nemesis, and despite several opportunities, and multiple kickers, they could not convert their try, or their penalty opportunities.
In the end, it was a tight match that reflected the quality of the competition with the Buccaneers deserved winners 8-5. They played a clever tactical game, not allowing the Iguanas any space, and made took their opportunities to score.
Captain Mick Kehoe was gallant in victory, acknowledging the Iguanas success during the year, including reaching their third successive final. He also thanked the team sponsor BPC and his team-mates for what ultimately turned out to be a very successful season, and concluded by dedicating the game and AA Cup victory to Peter O’Neill.
Cayman rugby does not stop here, Sevens takes over, a shorter, faster version of the game. The second leg of the Cable & Wireless Summer Series will be played this week on the SSG.