Cayman Rugby made history on Saturday as the Cayman National Men’s XV scored a one-sided 58-14 win over Guyana to qualify for the Tier II Americas Championship 2019, known as the Americas Rugby Challenge, against Paraguay, Colombia and Mexico.
This marks the furthest Cayman has gone in the regional rugby championship in its 48-year history.
Bumped from the national side’s usual venue at Truman Bodden Sports Complex, the South Sound Rugby Club played host to the match and the intimate surroundings made for a rousing atmosphere as several hundred spectators gathered to witness the event.
Guyana have traditionally been very strong in Sevens rugby and the crowd wondered if they would carry their free-flowing style over to the 15’s game. However, they were not given a chance by a Cayman team that came fast out of the blocks.
Strong running from Jonny Gibson and Justin Wight set the template for early pressure and forced several errors from the Guyanese.
An overthrow from a 5m lineout gifted Cayman scrumhalf Dave Stringer with the easiest of walk-ins for the first score. This was closely followed by a second for Mikey Wilson after a beautiful long pass from fly half Morgan Hayward.
Hayward controlled the game with a fine orchestration of back-play and kicking which positioned his forwards in the ascendency. This increasing pressure forced another error from Guyana, when a long, speculative pass on their own try line was intercepted by Captain Killian Everard for Cayman’s third try.
When Paul Westin broke through two tackles to race 40m to score the fourth on the stroke of halftime, the crowd erupted.
The second half turned into a procession as Guyanese heads dropped. The dominance of Cayman’s forward pack was very much in evidence as scrum after scrum resulted in Cayman advancing. A penalty try was ample reward for their cohesiveness and teamwork.
Further tries to Justin Wight, another for Paul Westin, Barry Goude and Shane Westin wrapped up an emphatic win, with Guyana only managing two consolation scores near the end, from Godfrey Broomes and Ronald Mayers.
The final score of 58-14 will give the Cayman National Men’s XV a real boost as they now head to Tier II, tentatively scheduled to be played in August 2019.