The Tradeview Markets Corporate Summer Touch Rugby League 2018, which runs until late September, is under way.
Participation in the sport has been growing rapidly, and this year a record-breaking 38 teams signed up to compete in three divisions, with more than 500 players taking to the South Sound rugby pitches to test their mettle and run, pass and touch their way to silverware and glory at the end of the season.
Touch is loved for its simple rules compared to the more traditional forms of rugby and the level of play ranges across the spectrum from highly competitive to very social.
Teams have three men and three women on the pitch at any one time.
The basic principles are simple – run forward, pass backward and each team attempts to advance the ball up the field to score a touchdown. If you have the ball and get “touched,” you have to stop and start the next phase. After six phases or “touches,” if a touchdown is not scored, the ball gets turned over and the opposition have a go.
This year, the Premier Division has been stripped down to seven teams, which will ensure every game is highly competitive.
Last year’s champions, Delta, are back and looking to defend their title, but will face stiff opposition from the young bucks of FFP and a representative side of the Cayman Touch Association looking to players for the National Team, which regularly travels to compete in the U.S. Nationals.
Returning teams such as Genesis Trust, Island Air, Walkers and Stepping Stones will all be keen to show their skills and grab vital points toward the playoff spots.
The Invitational Division is for teams of a standard just below that of the Premier League, but this will still be a tough division, full of players that like to pass the ball and score tries. Some teams such as Heineken have come down from the Premier League, and others such as the Titan Development Titans, an Under-14 team stacked with the next generation of Cayman developing rugby players, will endeavor to make their mark in a challenging division where the standard is pretty even from top to bottom. Teams include DMS, Collas Crill, Harmonic, Heineken, Titan Development Titans, MUFG, Rawlinson & Hunter, Maples 1, Estera, KPMG 1, Deloitte Wildehonde, Island Heritage, Dart and PwC.
The Recreational Division is for relatively inexperienced teams, or those who prefer to take the sport less seriously. It is a perfect opportunity for those teams with new players to learn the ropes without being overwhelmed by the elite touch athletes that dominate the Premier Division.
Demonstrating how inclusive the sport is, the Cayman Rugby Trust has sponsored an Under-12 team to pit their skills against their adult opposition. In this division, touchdowns scored by female players will score double. Teams using their full complement of players are expected do well in these divisions.
Teams competing in the Recreational Division include Harneys, Align, FTI Consulting, IT Outsource, Cayman Rugby Trust, CML:Nova, Aon, Maples 2, KPMG 2, Kensington, Mourant Ozannes, EY Cayman Ltd., Queensgate, Grant Thornton, Ogier, GCM and Intertrust.