Rugby’s most exciting format, sevens, got under way over the weekend and it was entertaining stuff all the way.
The first of five legs of the LIME summer sevens series was played at the South Sound Ground last Saturday with the remaining tournaments set for the next four weeks.
This year sees three teams in the Premier division with the BPC Buccaneers, The Butterfield O’Neill Irish Wolfhounds and the Maples national sevens academy.
There are two teams in the women’s division with the X107.1 National VII taking on the X107.1 Eagle Rays. In the social division there are five teams with the RE/MAX Knackers, Caybrew Clydesdales, Maples, Cayman Management Ltd Ama Tsotsi and the brand new national Under-17 academy.
The tournament caters to all levels of the sevens fraternity from the elite teams of the premier divisions to the social and developing teams.
The U17 got their feet wet in the tournament with a loss to CML Ama Tsotsi and a fine comeback win over Maples in the social division. The RE/MAX Knackers had a tougher day with losses against the Caybrew Clydesdales and Maples while CML Ama Tsotsi cleaned up the division with wins over the U17, Caybrew Clydesdales and RE/MAX.
The National women’s X107.1 team are using the tournament as a warm up to the NACRA sevens that will be held in Mexico 14-15 November and looked vastly improved from last year’s squad, overcoming the X107.1 Eagle Rays in all three matches.
They are expected to perform well in Mexico after finishing second in the 2009 NAWIRA XV a side championships.
The Maples Academy came unstuck early against the Butterfield O’Neill Irish Wolfhounds who ran out overall winners 24-14. The National Maples Academy has been training since January to prepare for the NACRA sevens in Mexico which also serves as a qualifying tournament for the International Rugby Board World Sevens Series to be held in Las Vegas in February 2010, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi next year and the CACSO Games in Guyana in July 2010, so there is a raft of tournaments on the line.
National sevens coach Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams was concerned after the teams defeat in their first real test.
He said: ‘The Maples academy squad has worked very hard to lift its performances from the fourth place achieved last year in the Caribbean, so this game we have just lost is disappointing as we have failed to execute a few of the areas we have worked so hard to get right.
‘The LIME national sevens squad from Mexico will come directly from the Maples sevens academy and I was expecting a little better in the first game. Hopefully we can put it down to some confusion and do better in the next game.’
The second premiership game was between the Butterfield O’Neill Irish Wolfhounds and the BPC Buccaneers and the BPC Buccaneers ran away with it 24-7 in a great display of hard running sevens.
This meant that the Maples Academy had to beat the BPC Buccaneers and by a margin of 18 points to make the final.
In their second game the Maples academy did indeed come out a different team beating the BPC Buccaneers in a dominant display 33-12 and earning the 18 point difference needed for a finals spot against the BPC Buccaneers once more.
The final was a repeat with the Maples Academy running out eventual winners 42-14 and taking leg one of the tournament.
Coach Adams was much happier at the end of the day. ‘I guess we have to work on being ready for each and every game, we cannot afford to have a start like that in Mexico but I am pleased with the way the players have come back into the tournament and won in fine style against some good solid sevens teams here today.
‘Maples academy has really been boosted this year with a great priority pout on training and performance and we hope that this weekend we will be reinstated as an Olympic sport and the past four years of development with Maples and LIME will pay off in a big way as we prepare for 2016 and beyond.’