Caribbean champs once more

The Cayman Islands Under-19s won their fifth North American Caribbean Rugby Association regional championship, beating Mexico 42-17 in Port of Spain, Trinidad over the weekend.  

In a powerful display of fast, hard running rugby, Cayman won their third successive championship and fifth in the past six years on Saturday.  

Mexico scored first after a Cayman mistake and then converted to take the lead 7-0.  

Cayman were unsettled and made lots of unforced errors and Mexico took full advantage for the first 20 minutes. Then Cayman came back with a strong series of phases that ended in Henry Bolton going over for their first try. 

Michael Peck converted from the touch line and bounced it off the cross bar to tie the game up. From there, Cayman never lost the lead.  

Peck followed up with a penalty just before half-time and then a second before Mexico came back with a penalty of their own to end the half with Cayman leading 13-10. 

Head coach Noel Phillips and his assistant Garry Southway revised Cayman’s game plan at the interval and they settled down and took total control in the second half.  

Bolton went in for his second try seven minutes into the second half and then Andy Hall crossed the line and Peck converted to take it to 25-10.  

Miles Campbell joined the act and Peck converted again to make it 32-10.  

Mexico never gave up and scored a try and converted to take their tally to 17.  

Work horse Jonny Gibson also made it over and Mark Westin went over to round out the scoring. 

Director of rugby Richard “Grizz” Adams watched the game from the stands and was delighted with the result. 

“It’s been a very good week,” he said. “The coaches have done an excellent job preparing these guys and the medical team and manager have all been excellent.  

“We are about to take the U-19 programme under the high performance umbrella for 2014 so I know that there will be an even bigger improvement in the team for next year and that is exciting, considering we have won all the games we have played here by very good margins. 

“Once we get fitter, stronger and bigger, we will be that much better again and lots of the small unforced errors we had that are caused by fatigue will go away.  

“Mexico played very well and caused us a heap of problems early on until the guys relaxed and started to enjoy the game and remember their coaching. 

“From then on, they were in total control really and that is pleasing as we move forward with this feeder programme to the national teams. It is a testament of all the work that has gone into the programme and the sponsorship of Maples and Calder, Greenlight RE, Queensgate Bank and Trust, and Dart, the team sponsor, and I am delighted that the players will be bringing back the trophy again.” 

Rugby president Derek Haines was extremely happy. He said: “What a great day. It’s brilliant. I can’t remember a better result and these guys just keep getting better and better and that can only mean that the programmes we have in place to prepare and deliver high performance athletes is working for us.  

“We will go from strength to strength in the coming years, which has been the goal of our strategic development plan.” 

Rugby-Cayman-Islands-Story

Cayman are Caribbean Under-19 champs for the fifth time in six years.
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