The Queensgate Pigs Trotters played the Heineken Surge in the last AA Cup match of the season last Saturday and literally trotted it.
Although the match would not alter the final table positions, it was a good chance for the Pigs to dust off a few cobwebs after not playing for a month before the following week’s Waterford Vase semi-final against the Storm, and for the Surge to bed in their younger players ahead of the Under 19 Caribbean Championships next month.
It was also an opportunity for the crowd at the South Sound Rugby Ground to bid farewell to Dave Burton, a Pigs stalwart since 2006 and one of the most skilful players in Cayman in recent times.
The Pigs went into the match trying out some new combinations in the team ahead of the forthcoming season climax.
Johan Louw, normally their talismanic No.8 started in the centres in an effort to intimidate the younger opposition and Gus Dacker, normally playing inside centre, started at scrum half to see if he could provide the speedy delivery that the electric Pigs backs required.
The Pigs also handed a debut to winger Lawrence Heffernan, and welcomed back the experience and wily winger, Anthony Akiwumi.
The kick off set the stall out for what would be a hard fought and physical contest by teams less concerned about league points and more interested in the pride of winning.
The contrasting approaches proved to create a fast and entertaining afternoon. The Pigs, as expected, sought to dominate the set pieces and did so from the first scrum following a knock on, only minutes after the start.
The youthful Surge front row battled hard against the experience and guile of the Pigs front three in the form of Paul Parker, Todd Stewart and Al Forget, but were unable to create any secure platform.
Under pressure, the Surge fired the ball to their centre line trying to move the heavier Pig pack around the park, but seemed unable to make any significant break through.
The Pigs were able to retrieve control of the ball following an infringement by the over zealous youngsters observed by the ever-present and eagled eyed referee Campbell Law, who had a superb game in his first official season as a referee.
The ball was sped out to Johann Louw, the South African ex-wrestler, who created havoc both amongst the Surge line in attack and his own line in defence.
Each burst took two or three Surge to pull him down leaving the obvious overlaps exploited by James Waters, Pigs fullback who carved his way through using his height and weight advantage in a superb try.
Further scores followed, and it may have been more if it wasn’t for the heart and determination displayed by the young Caymanians, who themselves managed a few penalties to keep them within touching distance.
The determination of the Surge disrupted the Pigs and would have caused more problems had it not been for Pigs team manager Jan Golaszewski controlling his team like a master puppeteer from the side-line.
The speed of the game was being dictated by Surge, but the experience and fitness of the Pigs back row as exemplified by No.8 Conan Hill, shored up the gaps.
The half ended 16-9 to the Pigs, that belied the fierce battle that had ensued.
In the second half, the Pigs introduced Nantes Booysen, replacing the veteran Graeme Thompson.
The young South African made an immediate impact with his strong running from the midfield, as he made hard yards with Surge players literally hanging off him in an effort to stop his advance.
This was combined with some clever forward play which meant that the Pigs added tries in the second half from Booysen, Steve Worthington (another impact sub), a debut try for Lawrence Heffernan and a farewell score for Burton.
The Surge also added a try of their own and threatened further scores, but their strong bursts were often let down by a poor final ball. The match ended 63-13 to the Pigs.
The result means that the Buccaneers, Storm and Pigs all finished with the same win/loss record in the tournament, with the Buccaneers taking the glory thanks to superior bonus points.
The convincing win will however encourage the Pigs ahead of the match against The Storm, but if they are to win that, and then go onto to win the final, which in all probability will be against the Buccaneers who face a weakened Iguanas in the other semi-final, they will need to be more structured in attack and more organised in defence.