Delta fly high over Island Air as Juniors rule

Delta celebrate their championship.

By Mark Robson

The TRADEVIEW MARKETS Corporate Summer Touch Rugby League 2017 is over and it time to pick over the bones of the biggest touch season ever – thirty-six teams and close to four hundred players, the oldest in his sixties, the youngest just 10.

Finals Day on 9 September was a cavalcade of camaraderie as all thirty-six teams turned up to enjoy a full day of touch rugby starting at 8:30 a.m. and finishing as the sun sank over the yardarm.

There was enough computation, ciphering and crypto-analysis of scores and results to make Alan Turing salivate like a rapacious bloodhound and CRFU’s Tournament Manager Caroline Deegan did a fantastic job in making the whole day run smoother than Silky the Silk Worms sexiest bedsheets.

Every team played at least once, and most played twice to determine the Plate, Shield, Vase and Cup winners in all three Divisions.

Firstly, Cayman Turtles U14s were crowned Recreational League Champions after they defeated DMS in a re-arranged league game. This is a massive achievement for the kids, some in their very first season of touch rugby. As stated the youngest was 10 at the start of the season. Much kudos must go to all the players whose energy, skill and sheer overwhelming enthusiasm blew away the older opposition. Credit must also be given to Lisa Kehoe and Mat Bishop for organising, coaching and developing the team throughout the summer.

And so, after a busy morning of semi-finals, the afternoon saw nine Finals played out under cloudy skies on the outer edge of Hurricane Irma.


Recreational Cup Final

The Cup Final saw a showdown between Cayman Turtles U14’s and DMS – a repeat of their early morning League match. The Turtles had earlier beaten EY, while DMS had blown Island Heritage out of the water.

As the Final began it became clear that the Turtles were on a mission. Not since Leo, Mikey, Raph and Donno round-housed Shredder in the rear end have Turtles kicked butt quite this hard. They may only have six players on the pitch like everyone else but it sure seems like a heck of a lot more.

Swarming around a victim – I mean opponent – like rabid piranhas on an unsuspecting swimmer they leave little room for manoeuvre, forcing errors and leaving adversaries bewitched, bothered and bewildered. Credit must go to DMS who did not give up without a fight. Time and again they would engineer a half break or create chances that could only be thwarted by the athleticism of their diminutive opposition.

The first score, whilst inevitable, took a while to come due. It was Freddie Robson who broke the deadlock with his first try of the season receiving a great pass from Molly Kehoe to instinctively dot the ball down. The crowd (of parents (this one especially) went wild.

Energy levels do not seem to be a problem for these youngsters and more scoring chances soon came and although some were squandered the whitewash was crossed enough times to make the result increasingly predictable. Scores from Cameron Sinclair, Jake Bailey and Finn Bishop stretched the lead. DMS replied with one of their own.

So, Cayman Turtles U14’s secured a fantastic League and Cup Double – a tribute not to any individuals in particular but to the team ethic, teamwork and sporting ability they possess. An excellent achievement all round.

Cayman U14 Turtles

Promotional Cup Final

As the Turtles U14’s went off for their celebratory milk and cookies it was the turn of the Fund Fiduciary Partners (FFP) U16’s to step forward in the Promotional Cup Final. Their opponents Estera had played all season in the Premier Division and were highly motivated to stop a team from the division below being victorious. FFP were the Invitational League winners and going for their own League and Cup double. They did not disappoint. Admirably led by Tommy Kehoe and Ewan Wilson this team quickly learned that to be successful you have to involve all six players on the pitch. Their use of the girls as the season progressed was pivotal to turn dominance of possession into dominance on the scoreboard. FFP were too strong for Estera and ran out 6-4 winners.


Premier Cup Final

The Premier Cup Final was played between Premier League winners Delta and Island Air. Both teams use speed as a weapon to over-run their opponent but Delta just did it better, faster, for longer.

Like a tug-of-war the battle commenced with both teams making and conceding ground but ultimately the defences held on the sixth touch. Then, at first imperceptibly, but increasingly apparent, Delta started to win the important exchanges. Their attacks had greater potency, their defence more vigorous until eventually the opening try was scored by Riley Mullen. Mullen has refined his game concentrating on what he does well and taking less nomadic wanderings across the pitch. As such his value has increased and in scoring his team’s first and final try he showed his true worth.

“Our game plan was to keep it simple and drive our arrows hard. It worked well when we followed that strategy, but Island Air are a difficult team to play against and they proved that again in the final,” said captain Jyoti Choi.

Strong smooth drives by Andrew James West, Adam “Champagne” Huckle and Conor “Bunch” Brady were augmented by hard running from Karen Hart and Lauren Christie and the languid control of Choi. The Delta plan was get to the business end as quickly as possible and then let the magic flow. Cheri Langston kept her wing closed down to all comers. Jane Hale added athleticism and nimble handling whilst Dave Acutt provided penetration.

Island Air like to employ an aggressive game plan both in defence and attack which can disrupt a team’s rhythm but Delta hardly put a foot out of place as Cheri Langston, Andrew Westy-West, Conor Brady and Dave Acutt kept the score board ticking over. Olly Braithwaite added a couple for Island Air but it was not to be. A big shout must go to Jane Hale who has been a stand-out player for Delta and this is her last season before moving on to pastures new. The final score 6-2 to Delta.

Clearly, the Delta team spirit has been high this year and both Choi and Huckle added after the match, “A big thank you to Delta for sponsoring, and to Jo Ziegler and Evelin Sabillon Ritch who unfortunately couldn’t play today. The season was well run as always, thank you to Caroline and her team for coordinating everything and to all the refs for helping out,” Well said.

So, the League Winners in all three Divisions demonstrated their superiority and dominance by taking the Cups home too.

Of course, touch is more than just about the best of the best. Trophies were on offer at all levels and other winners on the day were:

  • Premier Plate winners – Maples 1
  • Invitational Cup winners – Dart
  • Invitational Plate winners – Harmonic
  • Invitational Plate Winners – Grant Thornton
  • Invitational Vase winners – Align
  • Invitational Shield winners – CML-NOVA

Also, a massive thank you Tournament Sponsors TRADEVIEW MARKETS who have wonderfully supported this sport that truly is for all comers. It’s been an awesome summer of touch rugby and bring on 2018.


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