The inaugural Halloween Women’s 7s was a great success, and on the strength of its staging there will be no problem having a bigger tournament next year because teams have already committed to playing.
Following a full day of hard-hitting, fast-paced action at Truman Bodden Stadium last Friday, Rugby Ecosse, the Scottish select side boasting four professionals, won the tournament by beating the Mexico national side in the final 34-12.
Rugby Ecosse were welcomed here by Angus Binnie from Lochaber, West Highlands, who played the bagpipes.
The Cayman national team made it to the Bowl Final, where they lost an incredibly close game to the Dallas Harlequins in overtime 15-10 after the scores were level at 10-10 at full time. There was also a Cayman Select side in the tournament.
Both Cayman teams said they learned a lot from the tournament against elite level players, and they can certainly build on their performances.
Their best game was a 31-5 mauling of the Dallas Harlequins, with Biannca Johnson and Annie Rankine running in several tries.
Rankine looked impressive all afternoon and was voted third-best player of the tournament. Voted second-best was Sarah Dixon of Rugby Ecosse.
Top accolade went to Rugby Ecosse’s Annemarije van Rossum, who clearly showed why she is paid in Holland to play rugby, with several flashy scores and hard hits.
Remke van der Kade, a Holland international, was eager to bring a team from her homeland but could not make arrangements. She was so enthusiastic that she came and played for Cayman Select and had such a wonderful time that she got a tattoo on Sunday to commemorate her first of many visits to Grand Cayman. Next year, she said, she is definitely coming with her own team.
Mark Woollard, the Cayman national women’s team manager and tournament organizer, said, “This tournament was a huge learning curve for the girls on defense and putting defensive schemes they have been learning into practice.
“This is the first time they have played as a team really, so they were bound to learn a ton.”
Woollard added that they showed that the talent pool in Cayman is deep when non-eligibles are included. The select side featured many who are not eligible to play for Cayman, and many had strong showings.
Woollard said, “Thanks to sponsors Elite Marble & Granite, Conyers Dill & Pearman and the government for their support.”
The only negative Cayman had from this was that star player Shenel Gall was taken to hospital with a serious knee injury after only 30 seconds, which puts her in doubt for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, from Nov. 14-30.
Cayman Select stalwart Lisa Kehoe, whose husband Mick was an assistant referee, played her last games in the sport she loves before retiring.
Woollard added, “The visiting teams have all committed to attending next year’s tournament, which will now become an annual event.
“Many other teams have shown interest in attending next year providing a boost to both the tournament and Cayman’s sports tourism product.”