Island Air’s brilliance had the ‘Stones rocking and rolling

Touch rugby’s latest round of games saw two of the heavyweights of the game come together in a potential league decider.

Match Day 4 in the Cayman Rugby Football Union National Mixed Touch Rugby Championship saw previously dominant side SteppingStones halted by the younger and fitter Maples Reserves. 

Early tries by Riley Mullen, Dave Acutt, Neil Montgomery and Jyoti Choi were evidence of the clinical efficiency that has typified Island Air’s play this season. 

The Stones had some early opportunities but either dropped or missed or made wrong choice of options. 

Maples Reserves makes the game look easy at times, being well-drilled and well-disciplined. They make the hard yards through the early touches, focusing the attack at one point in the defense in order to suck in defenders or break through a defensive line struggling to get on side. SteppingStones had no answer.

Emily Davies managed to grab a try for the Stones’ back line just before half-time, but the damage was done. Momentum is everything and Maples Reserves had plenty. A try from the Stones’ Rudolf Weder gave a brief glimmer of hope but Choi (twice) and Vikki Piaso stretched the Maples Reserves lead. A brief scoring cameo from Simon Raftopolous brought some consolation for SteppingStones, but the final score of 9-4 was as emphatic a drubbing as SteppingStones has received for well over two years.

Rarely in touch rugby does a match get dominated by one person, but when Island Air faced KPMG, Elaine Kerr took over for Island Air.  

Fast, nimble and able to side-step off both feet, she has it all and was the main reason for her side’s 14-0 win. Kerr’s return of four tries, with three coming in the first four scored, set the tone for the victory. 

Her fourth try was simply sensational. Spinning through two attempted tacklers, she pirouetted between them before dashing 30 meters to score. 

The crowd rightly got to their feet to applaud that one. She inspired her teammates to play with confidence, and Brandon Smith, Nic Swartz and Brad Stephenson took full advantage. 

As Kerr took a well-deserved rest, Brid Verling finished the game with a well-taken hat-trick of tries, the pick of which was a pitch-length sprint that left a bunch of KPMG defenders floundering. 

KPMG have had a tough season but never gave up, and with players such as Kim Denison, Tanya Potiyenko, Andrew Edwards and Richard Kerr, they showed commitment. 

Island Air is back into the top four and more importantly, into those end-of-season playoff places.

In the day’s early game, Heineken Brew Crew took on Maples1. In a game affected by the heat, the pace was understandably slow. Eddie Westin scored a fine brace, with Alex Pineau, Biannca Johnson and Dave Bailey adding the extras for a 5-0 win. 

The try of the game came as Heineken’s Biannca Johnson took the ball past the Maples 5-meter line, and throwing a dummy pass, she drifted easily past opposition namesake Paul Johnson for the score.  

Early tries by Riley Mullen, Dave Acutt, Neil Montgomery and Jyoti Choi were evidence of the clinical efficiency that has typified Island Air’s play this season.

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