Knackerfest glory for local old boys

Cayman can boast one of the best middle-aged rugby teams in the region. They won the masters ReMax Knackers tournament over the weekend for teams of vintage years.

Competing were ReMax Knackers, the Cayman Tarnished Turtles, Jamaica and a worldwide Barbarian side made up of guest players from many countries. The tournament started in 2003 for over-35s not playing competitive rugby any more. Hurricane Ivan interrupted the tournament for two years before the ReMax sponsorship restarted in 2006.

There was a big social aspect to it as well. Players’ families met at Sunset House on Friday for the welcoming party and the games were played over Saturday and Sunday before they had a farewell party which included a big barbeque and a certain amount of beer.

In the final, Cayman’s very tarnished turtles faced the combative Jamaica. It was a tight but good natured encounter with Cayman getting four tries to one to win 24-7 and claim the ReMax Trophy. Only serious casualty was Derek Haines, president of the Cayman Islands Rugby Football Union who had a badly split ear which needed six stitches.

‘It was just one of those things, I tackled somebody and landed on my ear,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t in pain. No sense, no feeling. There was a vet on the side who stuck it back on for me but it split the next day and I had to go for stitches. Interestingly enough, the other hooker got his head split as well, but nothing serious. ‘It was exciting stuff and a well fought game. The difference in the sides wasn’t indicated by the score. It was very close old boys’ rugby. Kenny Cole from Jamaica turned up. He’s 60 and still very sprightly. There were four or five of us around the 60 mark and the oldest was a Jamaican, 64.

‘This tournament was very successful, great fun. It did a lot for entertainment and our thanks go to James Bovell at ReMax who sponsored it. I think as the word gets out at how well it went this year we will have more teams for next year. It was a great chance for some of the old boys to lumber out or limber out or whatever you do at that age. The older we get, the better we were!

‘It was certainly not champagne rugby, more like stale beer. Quite a few of us, unfortunately, are quite a way past 35 and a few of us are on the 60 zone, hence we’re knackered, hence the name Knackerfest. Our other name is the Cayman Under-36s which is a bit of a joke. Next year Cayman’s front row will be totaling 180 years, that’s Dave Robinson, Ron Arscott and myself. We’ll be playing on the front row and eligible for a bus pass in England!

‘Jo Murphy plays for the women’s team and she had great fun scoring her try for ReMax much to the disgust of the opposition. She dummied two of them and swerved round.’

Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams, technical director of Cayman rugby, said: ‘It was a great weekend and now we have to focus on the sevens Caribbean Championships in Bahamas this weekend. The coming year is a big one for us because we have the World Cup qualifiers. We’ve gone for a slightly older squad and I’m very happy to have increased the squad from eight or nine to the 18 mark under new community coach Dave Mays. This trip is important to see how we’re developing. We were weak at sevens before Dave came along. In the community, we hope to develop the sevens.’

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