With rain clouds looming at the Cayman Rugby Club the finals started early Saturday morning with the IRG/Knight Frank Challenge and built to a massive crescendo with the Waterford Trophy Final between the DHL Storm and the BPC Buccaneers.
Thankfully the predicted heavy downfalls never materialised and the South Sound pitch was in good shape for a day of rugby.
The Touch Finals saw Midas Touch defeating Touch & Go in the Ladies Top Drawer series and Flour beat surprise package Maples and Calder in the Ogier Winter touch series. Maples had upset favourites Random Touchers whose star players were all missing.
The moment all had been waiting for came at 5:30 when the DHL Storm took the field against the BPC Buccaneers. The Storm was looking for their second trophy of the season. The Buccaneers, who had beaten the powerful Don Foster’s Dive Iguanas only two days earlier, were looking to upset the Storm.
Before the game, Rugby Club Technical Director Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams was keen to reminisce over their five year history.
‘When we first started the Storm team we used to think a loss by less than 50 points was a pretty good score…now look at the team…we’re favourites to win two trophies.’
From the kick off the game was played at a feverish pace. All eyes were on Storm captain Keswick Wright. Spectators wondered if Wright could reach his target of 30 tries for the season, a feat which would require eight in the game.
Even more surprising was seeing Stephen ‘Bluey’ Hannon back on the pitch. Hannon made a miraculous recovery from his neck injury which required hospital attention only four days earlier.
Both teams exchanged blows for the opening minutes and neither side could really find the space for long runs. The crowds were entertained with bullish runs from Storm Flanker and centre Andre Ormond along with Barnaby Richardson and Buccaneer Prop Ben McDonald.
The first points of the game came from Storm winger Phil O’Connor. He broke off one of his trademark pumping runs that resulted in three broken tackles and a fabulous try in the corner.
The game continued with the Storm dominating the first half. Hannon kept the Buccs in contention with some clever kicking. Although the Buccaneers were fighting tooth-and-nail to stay in the game, they simply lacked lustre next to the fired-up Storm.
However, the game took on a different flavour when Buccaneer fly half and former Iguana Sean Murphy took the field in the second half. Murphy has caused defensive lines many headaches all season with his blistering change of pace and fantastic handling skills.
The Buccaneers were quickly back in the game but it was too little too late. Storm won 30-11.
Wright proudly lifted both the Alex Alexander Cup and the Waterford Vase for the season. Though Wright didn’t manage to score on the day, nothing was going to wipe the smile off his face or pry the trophies from him.
Buccaneers captain Mick Kehoe was gracious in defeat.
‘We didn’t make any major mistakes but when we had the pressure on them in the second half, Bluey’s kicking took them out of danger every time. Also missing Murphy in the first half, due to an injury had a large impact on our game.
‘Congratulations to Keswick and his Storm team on a very successful season, well done. Just watch out next year because we will be looking to take back the AA cup and the Waterford Trophy.’