The Charity Touch Rugby Tournament sponsored by Stella Artois took place last Saturday under the floodlights at the Camana Bay sports field.
Raising money for the Feed Our Future organisation that provides school meals to underprivileged children, 11 teams played in two pool groups to determine who went into the semi-finals and final in the first of what will be an annual event.
Mixed teams, with three men and three women, played under an interesting variation on the usual rules with a try scored by a woman counted double. This often proved decisive as the games were hard fought and usually close. The teams that used their female contingent the best were likely to win.
The first semi-final was between Baker-Tilley and Team UBS. Given their respective results in the pool stages, no-one gave Team UBS a realistic chance but sport can wonderfully confound the most ardent of armchair expert and UBS scored first and early and then hung on to their lead with their renowned defence as Baker-Tilley ran out of time and ideas. The 3-2 score a reflection on the spirit within their team, Joanne Remillard a stand out player in defence.
The second semi-final saw No Woman No Try take on Rainbow Warriors. This game was always going to be frantic and so it proved. These players know each other very well from previous encounters in varying incarnations and No Woman No Try, with Neal Ainscow in the ascendency, came out victorious this time, the final score 2-1.
In the final, No Woman No Try, with their tried and tested driving plays pinning back the UBS defence, unleashed those well-rehearsed killer moves closer to the line. The score was close and the match tense, but frustration got the better of some of the UBS players causing referee Mick Kehoe to give one of them time for some inner-contemplation and reflection on the sidelines for the persistent questioning of his decisions.
No Woman No Try was only one-up at this point and the exclusion deflated UBS as they leaked more tries, and the final score was 5-1 to No Woman No Try. Special mention must go to the girls on the team – Jo Ziegler, Sharlee Henshaw, Chandra Friesen, and Lisa Bird. Captain Jyoti Choi said: “The lights were great and it was fun to try out something different. We’ll definitely be back next year to defend our title.”
Organiser Mat Bishop said: “I am delighted that we were able to put this tournament together to help children in Cayman that are in need. Stella Artois were fantastic to help us put on this event. There is a very strong Touch Rugby community here and this type of event gives us the chance to enjoy our sport whilst giving something back to the community.”
Everyone agreed the tournament was an enormous success with just under $3,000 raised for Feed Our Future. Stacey Vandevelde from Feed Our Future said: “We are very grateful for the help this tournament has provided.”
The tournament is indebted to the wonderful support of sponsors Cayman Distributors, Stella Artois and Black Trumpet. Organisers also thanked Dart Enterprises and DJ Chris Jackson for their contributions to the night.