Touch rugby held its finals night at the Camana Bay field on Saturday and there was plenty of wonderful action and drama throughout the evening.
It was the finals of the Men’s Touch League 2014 and the Millennium Falcons Women’s Touch League 2014.
The men’s first semifinal was between the Raptors and the Samurais. The first half was played at a breakneck speed and the quality was impressive. The half-time score of 0-0 belied the fact that this was some top quality touch. Players were running on fumes toward the end and eventually the breakthrough came in the dying minutes when Riley Mullen and Scott MacDonald put the Samurais to the sword with dynamic running to score sending the Raptors into the final.
In the second semifinal the Stallions took on the Wolverines. Stallions were seeded one having finished on top of the league table and the Wolverines hadn’t won a game all tournament.
As the game started, both teams were making impressive yardage with their early settles but gaps were starting to show and both squandered gilt-edged chances through either a stray forward pass or by dropping the ball in the act of scoring.
Neil Montgomery, the Wolverines captain, started opened the scoring with a fine solo effort.
As the pressure mounted, Wolverines scored again with a nippy effort from their newbie Sandipan Bhomik.
Stallions captain Ian Smith pulled one back but Mark Robson’s close range score kept Wolverines comfortably ahead.
Further scores from Dennis Lee for the Stallions and Montgomery again kept the scoreboard ticking. It was a 4-2 shock win for Wolverines and they were into the final.
The final itself proved a step too far for Wolverines. Raptors, marshalled by their captain Marc Randall, may play more as individuals than as a team but the quality of those individuals meant that it was one-way traffic for much of the game. Stand-out performances from Riley Mullen and Chris Palmer meant that tries came at regular intervals.
Wolverines pressed in the second-half but two interceptions and breakout tries killed the game.
Randall’s Raptors deservedly took the final 7-1 with scores to Mullen (3), Iain Currie, Chris Palmer and Richard Kerr.
The Samurais beat the Stallions 5-3 in the third place play-off.
In the women’s first semifinal Ebon Hawk played Eagle Transporter. The Hawks soaked up some early pressure but always looked like they had a bit extra when they needed it.
Choreographed by Jane Smith, the Hawks exerted the pressure needed to break the Eagles defense.
Boasting a trio of Cayman national level players in Smith, Kate Scarff and Jo Ziegler (2) they kept the scoreboard turning over, Scarff scoring superbly.
The standout moment came from young Molly Kehoe, aged 10, who was the subject of much debate in the days prior to the finals to see who could capture her signature to play on their roster.
The Hawks won that battle and were well rewarded with an excellent performance and a try as well.
The Eagles, with Karen Hart and Sharlee Henshaw making major yardage in the early phases of play could not convert their chances, their only visit across the whitewash by Carmel Harms and so a final score of 5-1 saw the Hawks go through.
The second semi-final was a much closer affair as Millennium Falcons took on Raven’s Claw.
A fine brace from Emma Santiago and a score from Marida Montgomery were not quite enough to see off the experience of the Ravens.
Tries were evenly spread with one each for Katie Bayles, Jo Remillard, Lisa Kehoe and Caroline Deegan – Raven’s Claw winning 4-3. The final between Ebon Hawk and Raven’s Claw was a scintillating affair.
Raven’s Claw ultimately won thanks mainly to the same quartet of scorers – Deegan, Remillard, Kehoe (2) and Bayles. Lisa Kehoe managed, only just, to outsprint daughter Molly for a try from halfway.
A double for Kate Scarff and two for Karlie Cross were not quite enough to catch the Ravens.
The Millennium Falcons beat the Eagle Transporters 2-0 in the third place playoff. The Eagles were quicker to the ruck but struggled on fourth and fifth touch options. Emma Santiago scored both for the Falcons and a breakaway sprint with Sharlee Henshaw in hot pursuit was the defining score in the game.
Jane Smith and Neil Montgomery were voted most valuable players in their respective leagues.