Stepping Stones trotting along

The summer sun scorched Super Saturday as touch teams showed up and sweated for the first all-dayer of the season. Twenty-four teams, 26 games, 175 tries, 573 bottles of water and 3,744 touches all featured in rounds five and six of the Cayman Summer Touch Rugby at the South Sound Rugby Ground.

DIVISION 1

The spoils of division one went to Stepping Stones who rose to the top of the table with two great wins. Their first match, a top of the table clash with reigning champions Maples1, saw them unseat the three times titleholders 4-2. Scott McCarty, Riley Mullen, Dougie Anderson and Vangie Raftopolous converted the chances for Stepping Stones with Adam Huckle and Jo Ziegler replying for Maples1.

Ziegler, who is having a fine season with four tries in five games, did more than most to drag Maples1 back into the game, but this was not going to be her day. This is their first loss of the season but Stepping Stones have not lost a match since their inception. Is it a case of “The King is Dead, Long Live the King”? It is too early to tell as we approach the mid-point of the season but the Stones’ play with a great fluidity that is hard to repel. One thing is for sure, Maples1 won’t go down without a fight.

Stepping Stones easily beat Ogier in their second match 10-1 to consolidate their position at the top of the table, Lisa Bird putting in an Most Valuable Player performance with two tries. Maples1, playing with the fury of a lover scorned, took DART apart and registered a 10-1 scoreline.

Trident Titans continued their sporadic season with a win (3-2 against DART) and a loss (0-1 Maples2). Against DART, the tries came from Brad Stephenson, resplendent in Chernobyl-esque glowing orange boots and the dashing Riley Mullen. The try of the game came from DART’s big hitter Mat Bishop. Mat usually likes to position himself right of centre for the most part but uncharacteristically found himself on the left wing.

Majorly uncomfortable in this ultra neo-leftist role, Bishop took the ball and made a strong diagonal run across the pitch to his more familiar far-right position. Chased all the way by the Titans defence he dived full length registering on impact a whopping 6.9 on the Richter scale and a 1.0 on the scoresheet.

Maples2 pushed themselves into third with a 2-2 draw against KPMG1 and a hard fought 1-0 win over Trident Titans. KPMG1 bossed the early exchanges and scored two first half tries much to the chagrin of the Maples2 players. Upping the tempo, they replied with tries from Marc Randall and Justin Colgan. In the end they had the majority of possession but could not convert their chances.

Against Trident Titans, it was Andrew Dean who profited from an excellent break from Marc Randall at dummy half to score the only try of the game. It may have been low-scoring but the quality was high and the intensity extreme. The Titans could not break through, often only a fingertip touch away from a vital score.

Ogier maintained their 100 per cent record in the “L” column. Losses to Genesis Five Nations (2-5) and Stepping Stones (1-10) hide the fact that Ogier have a great team spirit and work very hard during games. But they struggle to score and with only 12 tries all season, the need for some game-breakers is evident.

Genesis Five Nations had a mixed bag of results with a win over Ogier (5-2) and a defeat to KPMG1 (4-5). Their day reflected their season so far but the spirit in the camp stays strong as they look toward players returning for a playoff push.

After three defeats at the start of the season, KPMG1 are now undefeated in three and are showing real signs of promise and progress. In their second game against Genesis Five Nations, Michael Sumares again showed why he was missed in the early part of the season by scoring another hat-trick. His shuffling side-step caught the Five Nations defence flat-footed. Dan Andersen, captain of Genesis Five Nations, weighed in with two tries and an MVP performance but further KMPG1 tries for Ryan Eisenhammer and Grant Cellier sealed a valuable win 5-4.

DIVISION 2

Division two saw its own top of the table clash between Harmonic and the Heineken Light Maidens. With both teams undefeated this season everyone was expecting fireworks. Sadly, it was not to be as Harmonic suffered from a much depleted squad, starting the match with only four players instead of the pre-requisite six. Heineken Light were stunned when Rob Aspinall crossed for the opening try, off a superb offload from Scott McCarty.

The Maidens’ three first half tries were a decisive blow. By the time the rest of the Harmonic squad eventually turned up, the writing was already on the wall and it said, “Heineken Light Maidens 6, Harmonic 1.”

Broadhurst got their first win of the season with a 4-1 win against Rawlinson and Hunter. Broadhurst ran in four tries with Scott Murray (two), Tess O’Connor and team captain Kate McClymont providing the inspiration for victory. Defeat for Rawlinson and Hunter saw them hit the bottom of the table and with a further defeat from Harmonic in round six they are in bad shape.

Walkers Blue Iguanas had a splendid time with two victories. Walkers’ James Melen had an awesome day at the office with three tries against DMS and another in their 5-2 win over Campbells. Their fabulous five-piece band of boys – Rolf Lindsey, Melen, Paul Smith, Martin Davies and David Byrne displayed great coordinated footwork.

Interestingly, Melen states he is not pleased with the overall effort.

“We need to quit playing games because I want to play it that way in every game!”

After a slow start to the season, Deloitte are starting to realise some of their potential. Two wins over DMS (7-2) and Island Heritage (7-1) moved them into second spot. Recently shorn Alastair Lum contributed two tries per game, but it has been the addition of Robbie Cribb which has taken this team to the next level. Four tries against DMS and another against Island Heritage made him joint highest scorer on the day.

They will need to spread the tries out though if they are going to challenge the Maidens for the title as any key injuries or absences later in the season could de-rail their campaign.

UBS and DMS suffered double defeats. UBS seem to have found themselves a little firecracker of a player in Agueda Broderick, who outsprinted Campbells’ nippy Dicky Thomas for her inaugural try in touch rugby. In the match itself though, Campbells proved too strong as their experienced players started to become increasingly influential. Tries for Wiki Hitchman (two) and the venerable old guard of Peter de Vere (two), Marcus Cumber and Johnny Doak secured all three points. DMS lost to Walkers (2-7) and Maidens (1-8) in a day they might rather forget.

Island Heritage’s unbeaten record came to an end with two crushing 7-1 defeats to Deloitte and Broadhurst. They need to recapture their early season form if they are going to the postseason.

Division 3

The top two in division three, Zolfo Cooper and Delta Force, both recorded valuable wins. Zolfo Cooper beat Ernst and Young (5-1) and Credit Suisse (3-0). Katherine Maw was a stand-out player for Zolfo Cooper. Then again, the squad shares out the tries nicely, which goes some part in explaining why they top the table.

Delta Force, with captain Jyoti Choi as their guru and inspiration, notched up close wins against KPMG2 (5-3) and LIME (5-4). There was always the sense that Jyoti could pull something special out of the bag and he ran in his third try against KPMG2. In their second game against LIME it was Rupert “the” Bell whose adventures on the pitch gained him two tries and an MVP award.

Credit Suisse, GCM, LIME and KPMG2 came away from the day with one win and one defeat each. Whether the glass is half full or half empty for these guys will depend on how they perceive their performance in the games. Special mention must go to Natalie Larkman (KPMG2), Niall O’Sullivan (GCM) and Johann Prinsloo (Credit Suisse) who, although ending up on the losing team, all won the Player of the Match award.

Ernst and Young and Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas are locked in battle in the basement of division three. The Old Fellas haven’t won a game and Ernst and Young’s only win was against the Old Fellas. It doesn’t really matter though, this division is meant to be the “friendly” league and these two teams typify that ethos. Points are few and far between and they may have to wait until they meet again in Round 10 before they get the chance for anymore.