Bermuda retain the Conyers Cup

In a spectacle only seen on these
shores every two years, the Cayman Islands Rugby Club was descended upon by
hoards of Bermudan players, their supporters and their Caymanian counterparts
and families.

For two days organisers from the
Cayman Rugby Union and the Bermudan RFC were in high gear to mobilize hundreds
of children aged seven to 15 on and off the rugby pitch.

Indeed, to make the trip from
Bermuda to Cayman possible for the party of 120 players, coaches and chaperones,
a Boeing 737-800 of 172 seats plane was chartered from Miami Air.

The Conyers Cup Competition, first
played for in Bermuda last year, is a youth rugby tournament competed for
between the old rugby rival nations for youngsters competing in the Under-10,
U12, U14 and U16 age groups.

However, this year as an added bonus
the junior teams were joined by their senior men’s counterparts who faced off
in a fully sanctioned International Rugby Board international on 2 May.

Whilst Cayman were buoyed by strong
performances in the Saturday warm up games the spoils ultimately went to Bermuda.

In the first game of the Conyers
Youth Challenge Cup, Bermuda won the Under-10 match 20-5 after a strong
performance.

Tries from Padraic O’Shaugnessy who
scored two, and one apiece from Tyler Kendall and William Montgomery, were
enough to see off the host’s challenge.

The U12 match was more one-sided,
as Bermuda put in a dominant performance to run out 35-0 winners over their Cayman
counterparts.

Their try scorers were Mikiel
Thomas, Liam Bird, James Collins, Logan Ball, Grenville Lines, Tom Hill and
Will Lorimer-Turner. The Under-14 match turned out to be a tense affair, as
Bermuda dug deep to edge Cayman out 14-5.

Cayman were favourites to win the
fixture having never lost at this age group. Bermuda captain Graham Cooke put
in a huge performance in leading from the front. Micah Perozzi and Tadhg O’Shaughnessy
scored a try each and Daniel Nash kicked two conversions.

Cayman were saved from a Bermudan
white wash in the U16 division. The Bermuda side was playing in their first
ever 15-a-side match and put a brave performance in, but went down 48-7 to
their more experienced opponents.

Bermuda retained the Cup with a 3-1
win, again showing the strength of the youth set up on the island whilst the
Cayman players and coaches aim to rebuild for their 2011 trip to Bermuda and
win their first ever Conyers Cup.

In the men’s fixture, Bermuda got
off to the perfect start when a good move ended with the young winger Shauntino
Simons stepping off the wing to take a beautiful switch pass to go over near
the posts for the opening try.

Rich Holden converted to give
Bermuda a 7-0 lead. A fantastic scrum from the pack saw them steal the ball and
when the ball was swung wide, it was knocked on with a try looking certain.

Cayman were boosted by this and
they struck back through flanker Shaun Gerrard, after a line-out and maul
pushed them close to the line.

Josh Brown, playing at full back,
converted superbly from the touchline to tie the game up.

An error from Neville Zuill from a
mark saw a hurried clearance that didn’t find touch and Cayman returned it down
the line for Phil O’Connor to go over in the corner.

Brown missed the conversion but
made up for it before half-time when cheekily drop kicking a penalty over after
the ball wouldn’t stay upright for a placed kick.

It left Bermuda trailing 15-7 at
half-time. Even with the half time lead Cayman failed to capitalize on their
lead and failed to play the game in the Bermudan half of the field.

Excellent pressure from a kick
forward saw Bermuda drive Cayman backwards, and Cayman collapsed the maul.

Half-time replacement Greg Fraser
calmly slotted the kick. An offside infringement gave Fraser another shot at
goal which he duly converted.

Impressive flanker Rich Brown then
intercepted a wayward Cayman pass and after marauding his way up the pitch,
offloaded to Tom Edwards who was taken down with a high tackle. The resultant
penalty was again successfully dispatched by Fraser as

Bermuda edged back in front.
Bermuda then presented Cayman with a chance to regain the lead after an
infringement at the breakdown, but Brown missed to the right of the posts.

More pressure from Bermuda put them
deep in the Cayman 22 with a scrum, and after a couple of quick phases, spun it
wide to Dave Porter to gleefully dive over in the corner. Fraser wonderfully converted
from the touchline and then continued his flawless display with the boot to
kick another penalty after another high tackle by Cayman.

It secured a fine 26-15 win over
tricky opponents. Cayman national coach Brad Cowdroy saw his first game in
charge slip out of his hands due largely in part to a mixture of panic and
inexperience.

When the game should have been
firmly in hand for the Caymanians it slipped to the Bermudans who showed great
character to come back from the half-time deficit. Bermuda have risen one place
in the IRB world rankings to 55, while the result sees Cayman drop seven places
to 69.

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