Bulldog loved his bite at Luca

The Cayman Islands Rugby Club held
its annual players dinner recently at Luca, and it was a huge success.

The guest speaker at the event on 4
June was former England and British and Irish Lions player Brian Moore, who is famous
throughout the rugby world for his no-nonsense approach to the game as a player
(where he earned the nickname ‘The Bulldog’) and more recently as a flamboyant
commentator on the BBC and as a regular contributor for the Daily Telegraph
newspaper.

Moore and his young family stayed
in Cayman for a week and loved the Island. “They couldn’t get enough of the
warm weather and the beaches,” said the rugby union’s vice-president of
operations, Mat Bishop. “The day after they got back to the UK, I received an
email from them saying the kids were missing the turtles. They are already
talking about coming back.”

Bishop also said it was only a week
before the Moores arrived that they received final confirmation that the they
were actually coming. “They had a very tight travel window and the ongoing
industrial action by British Airways cabin crew meant that we had a few
sleepless nights worrying that we might have a dinner without a speaker.
Thankfully, we were able to get them re-booked through Miami, but it was a
close call.”

The annual players dinner is the
largest social gathering on the Cayman rugby calendar, but in recent years
there has been a steady decline in the numbers of playing members in
attendance.

Organisers of this year’s event
were charged with reversing this trend, and they did so by reducing the ticket
prices. “It was a big task,” said Bishop. “We knew that a large number of our
playing members simply could not afford to attend in recent years. We worked to
offset some of our costs onto sponsors and the end result was very successful.”

Moore’s visit to Cayman was
sponsored by Trinity Fund Administration. Led by former national rugby captain
Brad Cowdroy, Trinity Fund Administration was the first sponsor on board. “To
be honest, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Cowdroy. “Brian Moore is a
world-famous rugby personality and I am delighted that we could bring him to
the island on behalf of the club that I love. His speech was one of the best we
have had in recent years, while the food and atmosphere of Luca made it a night
to remember.”

Local personality Ryhal Gallagher
set the stage for Moore with a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek satire of island
life, which had more than few guests checking to see who was in the room. “The
rugby club is extremely lucky to have someone with the oratory skills of
Ryhal,” said Campbell Law, vice-president of rugby. “For many years he has
fulfilled this role for the club, and I can tell you there are very few
professional speakers that have his abilities.”

The award for the best junior
player of the year went to Morgan Haywood, whose father Russell was there to
congratulate him. The most improved player of the year went to Jeffrey
Robinson, while the prestigious men’s player of the year award went to the
dynamic Fijian, Ratu Wakanibua.

The women’s player of the year
award went to Bernadette Beckles. Cara Hennessey picked up the players’ player
award, and Ann-Marie Douglas received the award for most improved player. The
final award of the night went to Dave Bailey, who became the clubman of the
year for his extraordinary voluntary contributions around the club over the
past 12 months.

The dinner concluded with the
drawing of the CRFU’s 2010 raffle, which had a grand prize of $25,000. Moore
pulled the winning ticket out of the barrel and the lucky winner was Emil
Terry, who was not in attendance but was contacted later by his friend Jonathan
Doak, who had sold him the ticket several weeks before.

“He thought I was joking, and it
was only after several minutes that it began to sink in that he had just won 25
grand,” said Doak. Even the next day he was still suspicious.”

Terry collected his cheque several
days later from the Cayman Rugby Club. When asked what he would do with the
money, he said “his friends were already trying to spend it for him, but he
would try to put as much of it into his apartments as possible.”

The prize for the most tickets sold
went to Geoff Beck, whose daughter Caitlyn also managed to win one of the
lesser prizes of $500. “She was very happy,” said Beck. “Although my wife and I
made her share it with her sister.”

Raffle organiser Mat Bishop thanked
Beck for his outstanding sales efforts. “Thanks to people like Geoff, the
CRFU’s raffle was a success. We made a good profit and all of those funds will
be used to support the various activities outlined in the CRFU’s strategic
plan. To everyone that purchased tickets or helped to sell them we are very
grateful for your support.”

For a complete list of winners and for more information on the
raffle visit www.caymanrugby.com

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Moore and Cowdroy had a great time.
Photo: File

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