The Advance Fire and Plumbing Buccaneers have steadily climbed from last place in the opening week to second with only two weeks of Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy action left in the domestic rugby season.
After four weeks of top notch action in South Sound and having already secured the Heineken Charity Shield with a two-point win over the Century 21 Cayman Storm, the Buccaneers faltered in the opening league game with a 25-10 loss to the John Doak Architecture Iguanas.
Buccs were held to a 17-17 draw by the Queensgate Pigs Trotters in week two only to turn their season around the following week with a large win over the Century 21 Cayman Storm, 52-6, followed quickly by one of the best games of the domestic season to defeat the Pigs Trotters, 20-11.
The win over the Pigs Trotters, mingled with a week four victory for the Iguanas over the Cayman Storm saw the Iguanas jump back to the top of the league table hanging onto a slim three-point lead with the Buccaneers rising into second place over the Pigs Trotters on points difference.
Buccs appear to have hit their stride at the right time and a win over the John Doak Iguanas in week five could secure the league trophy, making them the first team to hold the Charity Shield and the Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy simultaneously.
The only team to manage something similar were the DHL Cayman Storm in 2010, when they held the Charity Shield and the Waterford Vase (now sponsored by DART).
It will certainly be a close fight as the Iguanas look for their first trophy of the season and a potentially record-equalling fifth league trophy victory. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers, if they win, will not only have their sixth league trophy but will be on track to win the first ever treble in domestic rugby.
The early fixture on Saturday saw the struggling Century 21 Cayman Storm succumb to their second heavy loss of the season 48-3 to the John Doak Architecture Iguanas.
The Storm, missing key players in the second and back row and Simon Crompton at scrum half, welcomed back talisman Vanassio Tokotokovanua from long-term injury. But the inclusion of the fleet-footed Fijian did little to improve the Storm’s fortunes as the absences in their pack meant little lineout ball or scrum ball.
When the Iguanas fed the ball with misplaced kicks to the Storm back line the likes of Keswick Wright, Baron Solomon and Tokotokovanua caused the Iguanas defence issues. But a lone Josh Brown penalty kick was the only points they recorded as Iguanas ran in 48 unanswered.
The Storm put in big hits wherever possible thanks to captain Jacob Macadam, Claudio Sarfati and Hugh Williams.
Whilst the Iguanas win was one-way traffic, the Buccaneers clash against the Pigs Trotters was about two finely balanced teams, one used to winning big games and the other to sitting at the bottom of the league.
The opening minute set the tone for a tough match as the Pigs Trotters lost two players and conceded a converted try to the Buccaneers when a big hit on Trotters scrum half Iain Currie saw him spill the ball to Addae Andrews to run in for the score.
Currie’s first touch of the ball was to be his last as the hard blow led to his removal from the field of play with a concussion, whilst Pig’s young winger Mark Westin broke a finge, ending his match early. The Trotters looked to their bench, made necessary personnel changes and were soon on the scoreboard themselves when scrum half Neil Montgomery found his way through the Buccaneers back line defence.
A Marco du Plessis penalty kick saw the Pigs ring in the halftime with an 8-7 lead.
The second half was also a tight affair. But the Buccaneers game plan led to two unconverted tries and a penalty kick from Mick Kehoe, Paul Murphy and John Murphy, compared to a lone drop goal to du Plessis of the Trotters.
The final points of the game, a John Murphy penalty kick, denied the Pigs Trotters an all-important losing bonus point.
Whilst the Iguanas top the table with 14 points and the Buccaneers and Pigs sit on 11 points, the top three teams know that two more wins for any them will likely seal the league.