The bmobile Cayman Islands national sevens team struggled to find their top form this past weekend in Barbados at the North American West Indies Rugby Association sevens tournament.
The team comprised of young players who participated in the tournament last year and some more wiley veterans and expectations were high despite being drawn in a very tough pool of teams including Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. With only two teams qualifying from day 1 to go into the Cup competition Cayman knew that they had to win one or both of their first two games in the pool to have any chance on the first day.
In the first game against Mexico Cayman struggled in the first half and conceded two early tries to go 12 points down. In the second half Cayman played much better and scored seven points to bring the final score to 12 – 7.
All the pressure was now firmly on the result of the Jamaica match. Jamaica won the tournament last year and destroyed the Bahamas in their first match by 45 points.
Again the Cayman team struggled to find form in the first seven minutes this time conceding fourteen points. Once again the team showed it’s latent promise to come back and score a try of their own. At the end of the game it remained 14 – 7 and was a heartbreaking second loss for the Cayman team.
Cayman’s third match of the day was against the Bahamas and as seemed the norm for the day again conceded two tries in the first half and then completely outplayed their opposition in the second half. Final score 10 – 5 and the third loss of the day.
Lastly came the Dominican Republic and Cayman wasted no time at all seeing them away winning 19 – 0.
So day 2 put Cayman in the Plate competition with the first game against Martinique and again the team struggled to find form loosing 19 – 0. Next was Guadeloupe who also overcame the Cayman side 14 – 7. The last game of the tournament for Cayman was a re match against the Dominican Republic and Cayman won this game 28 – 0.
Guyana won the tournament beating Jamaica in the final.
It was a disappointing weekend for the players and Coach Richard Adams
‘As far as winning and losing goes, obviously it was poor showing, we also placed lower than last year so that is not so good either,’ said Adams. ‘On the positive side, I know that we failed to find our best form at any point this weekend, it was a new squad and obviously we need to go back to the drawing board on some issues. Individually most of the players did very well and I was pleased with the development of many of the players over the past twelve months. We were close with all of the games on day 1 which was pleasing as it indicated that we are closing the gap with the best teams in the tournament.
‘We are just not there yet and the ball really lies in my court now to get this team playing together better and developing some different strategies that we may have more success with. The World Cup qualifiers are still twenty four months away so we still have some time but we need to be doing much better in these tournaments if we are going to be serious contenders in 2008.’
Robert Aspinal was selected to represent the West Indies sevens team.