Iguanas win 4th trophy in a row

It was a fourth trophy in a row for the John Doak Architecture & Tradeview Markets Iguanas as they continued their domination of rugby in the Cayman Islands, winning the Heineken Charity Shield on Saturday, 8 December 2018.

The start of a new season always has an air of blowing off cobwebs, but the new management team of Johnny Doak and Angel Hawkins should be pleased with this run out and a 31-15 win over the Advance Fire & Plumbing Buccaneers.

Both teams took to the field knowing that whilst the big awards are not won on the opening day of the season, it certainly sets out the stall for who will be favourites to clean out the Trophy Cabinet come April/May next year.

Craig Saunders forces his way through a crowd of Buccaneers.

The Iguanas started brightly enough although points were hard to come by until captain, fly-half and last season’s CRFU Player of the Year Craig Saunders slotted a penalty to give the Iguanas the lead. This was soon followed by a Grabe Van Huysteen try from an excellent bursting run to give the Iguanas some breathing room.

Buccaneers were tenacious all day and fought hard for territory and possession with Mike Luxton outstanding in his “lead-by-example” performance. Always ready to make himself available for the hard yards he rampaged down the right wing only to be stopped just short of the line in what was a first half of few opportunities for the Bucs – their only return being a penalty slotted by Lee Jones.

The Iguana heavyweights got some good runs from forwards Jon Stott and Jesse Childs before flanker James Macfee stretched the lead with a fortuitous score after a mix up at a 5m line up. The team huddle led by Christof du Toit clearly confused not only his teammates but the Buccaneer defence too, allowing Macfee to fall on the loose ball to score the easiest of tries.

The Iguanas picked up where they ended last season.

The Bucs rallied briefly in the second half and tried to enact an Iguana culling of their own and, after several drives for the line, it was Dow Travers who picked up from the base of a ruck to dive under the tackles to dot down out wide. It was an opportunistic effort that gave the Bucs a breath of hope and chance of a recovery.

That breath was soon to be squeezed out of the Bucs as the Iguana stranglehold became increasingly evident. Time and again players such as du Toit, Walter “the Hot Stepper” Myers and Craig Saunders came close to scoring but were either held back by stoical defence or by frustratingly dropping the ball in the act of scoring.

The final gasp of life was snuffed out by Peter De Vere who, muscled his way over the line knocking defenders over ion the process.

At 24-8 the game was effectively over but the Bucs kept fighting to the end and Mike Luxton won a penalty try taking a short pass from a penalty to catch a napping Iguana defence. The resultant high tackle which stopped him scoring was enough for Referee Justin Colgan to award the 7-pointer.

Walter Myers pushes forward.

In the dying embers of the game du Toit finally got the reward his efforts deserved. From the base of a 10m scrum he cleverly exploited the blind side and with more twists than a Vegas blackjack dealer script-writing for Breaking Bad he dropped over the whitewash and secured the first CRTV Man of the Match Ice Cube award of the season.

Iguana’s captain Craig Saunders spoke to reporters after the win. “We have been fortunate with the quality of players we have been able to get through the draft. We carried that through from last season. It’s very good to get another piece of silverware and to start the season off on the right foot.”

In the earlier Heineken Charity Spoon match Queensgate Pigs Trotters beat Fidelity Cayman Storm 26-17.

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