The Cayman Rugby Football Union celebrated its 2011/12 local rugby season with their annual player’s dinner.
The traditionally all male affair which is now open to female rugby players and more recently guests and partners, was attended by over 200 people at Ristorante Papagallo on 29 June.
The evening’s focus was the opportunity to join with friends, family, colleagues and team mates to celebrate a year of all things rugby in Cayman and to give thanks to the volunteers, staff members and sponsors without whose support the continued successes of rugby in the Cayman Islands would not be possible.
Successes included Cayman’s rise to being ranked second in the Caribbean at sevens, fourth in the Caribbean in men’s XVs and 66th in the International Rugby Board World Rankings and first in Under-19s men’s game.
Guest speaker for the event, Welsh legend Shane Williams, MBE, was a big hit with the local rugby fans answering questions on his professional and international career and making himself available for autographs and photos whenever asked.
Williams was a winger with Ospreys for most of his career who also occasionally played scrum-half. He is the record try scorer for Wales, and is third on the international list of leading rugby union Test try scorers behind Daisuke Ohataand David Campese. Williams, 35, is also Wales’ most capped winger with 87 caps.
The following day he took part in the John Gibson Hangover match taking on the Cayman U-19 squad before their departure to Mexico to compete at the NACRA U19s Championship where the team will be looking to retain their championship earned on home soil.
No doubt the hangover match was not Williams’ biggest test since his retirement from international rugby last December but having come out of professional retirement to take a contract in Japan with the Mitsubishi Dynaboars in June, he showed all the flair and skill which saw him named International Rugby Board International Player of the year in 2008 and was no doubt be a huge inspiration for the U19s on their Mexico adventure.
The club Person of the Year award, which is awarded to the individual who volunteers the most time and effort to Cayman rugby, went to Mark Lea for his dedicated service to the Cayman Rugby Union in keeping the South Sound rugby pitch manicured and marked throughout the season.
The CRFU thanked all their partners and sponsors for the 2011/12 season especially the platinum sponsors: MAPLES, Heineken, Z99, IT Outsource, Hews, Caymanian Compass, International Rugby Board, North American Caribbean Rugby Association, Cayman Islands Government Department of Sport and Cayman Islands Olympic Committee.
The gold sponsors were DART, Greenlight RE. The silver sponsors were PWC, KPMG, Cayman Rehab Services and the bronze sponsors were Fidelity, Clan Construction, Krys Global, DHL, Queensgate, John Doak Architecture, Cayman Islands Helicopters, Global Captive Management Ltd, Comfort Suites and Water Authority.