Cayman men’s rugby had their turn in the Caribbean Championships last week and now it’s time for the women to show their mettle.
They have been training extensively for the past year and increased training sessions in recent weeks before departing for Guyana on tomorrow to play in the Caribbean championships.
Cayman will face Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana in three internationals.
This will be the first time that Cayman will participate in the women’s championships
Technical director Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams said: ‘They played a warm up inter squad game on Saturday and overwhelmed their opposition scoring ten tries and looking very strong and well drilled.
‘The line out and scrummages have certainly shown a vast improvement and the three-quarter play and handling also improved. The tackling was very strong and the defence in general is much improved from the Tampa and Orlando trips.’
Captain Caroline Deegan said: ‘It’s going to be a great learning experience for all the teams. I imagine we’re going to be up against some larger, stronger teams because we obviously have a problem with eligibility and high turnover of people.
‘So it’s going to be an experience for these girls who have just started in the last couple of years.’
Deegan is a catering and wedding co-ordinator. She plays prop or hooker and always loved rugby through her father in England and even played a little at school.
She has been playing here since arriving in Cayman eight years ago. ‘We lost a lot of people after Ivan and it’s taken us this long to build up again. We’re 35 strong which is great. Before we used to struggle to get 15 players together.
‘Obviously, many become eligible within the next two years and we’ll have a lot more people to play with.’
Coach Ray Rogers said: ‘We’re playing in Georgetown in Guyana. It’s a round-robin, whoever finishes on top in the three games is the champion.
‘This is the first taste of international rugby for the majority of them. As long as they have fun and perform to the best of their ability I think they’ll be okay. I’m not going to make any predictions about winning because they’re raw on experience.
‘We know nothing about the opposition, just a lot of hearsay and innuendo about them being big and quick. I’m fairly confident about our girls’ abilities. Since we started the programme a year ago we’ve come a huge way. I think we’ll perform quite well.’
It will be a trek to get there as they have to travel first to Jamaica, then Barbados, then Antigua and finally Guyana. They will play Guyana Monday morning, the Trinis Wednesday afternoon and Jamaica next Saturday.
‘Jenna Gaio is our fastest girl on the wing. She’s Keswick Wright’s partner so speed runs in the family. I think she’s got a lot of talent and if you take the experience of Caroline Deegan and Jane Robson and put that in the mix and we’ve got a good balance.’
Many players are thankful to their employer’s, particularly Maples and Calder, for the time off to represent their countries.