The Queensgate Pigs Trotters left it late to defeat the Advance Fire & Plumbing Buccaneers and take the Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy for the second year running.
Going into the game, the Pigs trailed the Buccaneers by three points in the table, so it was a matter of winner takes all – unless the Buccaneers could manage to lose by seven points or less, in which case the Buccaneers would earn a losing bonus point and potentially take the league on points difference.
The game was a nail-biting affair and it appeared that the Buccaneers had done enough to secure the win, but in typical fashion it was Keswick Wright who managed to create tries out of thin air and run in points for the Pigs in the dying minutes to secure a 27-14 victory.
Earlier, the Fidelity Cayman Storm defeated the John Doak Architecture Iguanas in another entertaining fixture.
The Iguanas mounted a 20-point lead in the first 20 minutes before a yellow card for the Iguanas gave the Storm a 10-minute window to mount a comeback. And come back they did, with a brilliant second quarter display to bring the game back to within one point.
The second half was a hard-fought affair, but the Storm managed to hold out and squeeze in a four-point win to close out the regular season.
While the domestic league has wrapped up, the Dart Knockout Vase is on the horizon with the semifinals set for Feb. 21. The Cayman Storm face the Buccaneers, and the Pigs Trotters will take on the Iguanas.
With the Iguanas and the Pigs Trotters the only teams to earn silverware so far this season, all eyes will be on the South Sound field to see if another team will take the double, or if the Cayman Storm or Buccaneers will secure a trophy for the season.
Paul Parker, who used to be a regular Pigs player, now concentrates on helping to manage the side. “The Alex Alexander League has been a hugely competitive tournament this year with every team suffering at least one defeat,” he said.
“From a spectator’s perspective, the fact that the league was still undecided until the last few minutes of the final game was great.
“From a coaching and management perspective, the dramatic end to the season was certainly not the aim and caused more than a few heart palpitations, but was a fine testament to the determination, fitness and competitive spirit of the Queensgate Pigs Trotters players.”
Parker said the two tries from Conor Fee and Kes Wright were absolutely crucial to the game. “Both players worked exceptionally hard and had fine games.”
Parker added that the Pigs have a strong team spirit and work hard to ensure that every player on the bench gets some game time every week. The fact that the Pigs were able to put most of their substitutes on the field in the last few minutes of the final league match and still perform so well epitomizes the success of their team approach, he said. “That is not to say the Pigs do not have any very talented individuals. In the pack, Al Lum has led the way, with the Westin brothers being stalwarts alongside the ever-dependable Shane Aquart, Sam Andersen and Doug Anderson.”
Parker also praised the Pigs back line with the hard-working Justin Wight regularly causing havoc with opposition defenses, and Wright, Dave Acutt and Fee all deadly finishers.
“Shaun McDermott has enjoyed a particularly successful season, having moved from wing to the out-half role with great aplomb.”
There is no doubt that the Pigs are a well-drilled side with a game plan that has proved to be extremely successful over the past couple of seasons, thanks to the tireless input from coach Garry Southway.
However, going into this particular game, it was clear that in order to stick to their game plan the Pigs would have to prevent the Buccs forwards from gaining any momentum by working exceptionally hard in the scrums and lineouts. They did that and ensured that any ball that the celebrated Buccs back line would receive would be slow, cutting down their attacking options.
The Pigs are looking forward to the Dart Vase Cup competition.
More long-term, there are a few Pigs players who are considering retirement, and the next challenge will be recruiting replacements and building a new team for next season.
Parker added, “Thanks to the sponsors, spectators and officials from the rugby club without whom there would be no Alex Alexander League.”