BVI LOSES TO BARBADOS IN NACRA GAME
BVI Team did well despite losing to Barbados in NACRA Tournament
Monday, 2 May 2011 – Road Town, Tortola: A large crowd gathered at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on Saturday to witness what was billed as the ‘Bajan Invasion’, which saw a strong Barbados team play the BVI in a NACRA Championship rugby match.
Assisted by main sponsor Digicel, the BVI Rugby Football Union organized a great day of entertainment with DJ Gadheithz, the Mocko Jumbies and the BVI Grasshoppers all performing and helping to build a great atmosphere ahead of the game. After a display of junior rugby, the two teams lined up to listen to the respective national anthems. The BVI anthem was sung superbly by young Rikiya Brathwaite.
The game started in perfect fashion for the BVI with the BVI pack rumbling towards the Barbados try line. The BVI pressure resulted in the Barbados wing being yellow carded for ten minutes for an infringement which denied a score. From the resulting penalty fly half Nic Recondo muscled over the Bajan line for an early try. Recondo then converted to make the score 7-0. Further pressure from the BVI resulted in a BVI penalty which Recondo kicked over in the 14th minute to extend the lead to 10-0.
Following the BVI’s great start, the Bajans then began pressuring the BVI with their big forwards running hard at the BVI pack and backline. The Bajan aggression was more than met by some ferocious bone crunching tackles from prop Frank Kalama, as well as back row forwards Andy Woodruff and Andre Adams. Unfortunately, the BVI could not break free from the pressure, as wayward kicking and some inexperience resulted in the Bajans spending the majority of the rest of the half camped on the BVI line. The relentless pressure eventually told with Sean Ward stealing through for a Bajan try. A brief period of BVI pressure allowed Recondo to slot over another difficult penalty, which meant that the half-time score was 13-5.
The second half started in a similar fashion with the larger Bajan team running hard. Once more, the tackling from the BVI was superb, however the BVI simply could not get their hands on the ball to release the backline pace of Springette, Franklyn and Molver. The Bajans, who have a domestic league and play numerous fixtures against visiting touring sides, gradually hauled themselves back into the game and a couple of BVI errors let 250lb second row Raj Edwards in for a score to make it a 1 point match at 13-12 with 25 minutes to play. As the BVI tired, Barbados continued to exert pressure and with only ten minutes left on the clock, disaster struck as centre Sean Ward again stole through for a second try to give Barbados a 19-13 lead.
“The BVI team did remarkably well with only 25% of the possession to remain in the game until the dying stages, when with a couple of breaks they could have stolen the game,” Ronan Kuczaj, Chairman of the BVI Rugby Football Union. “Clearly, the lack of game time for the BVI was evident and the coaching staff is now busy preparing fixtures for the rest of the year”.
Kuczaj said while the battered and bruised players are upset at having been so close to victory, they should all hold their heads up with pride at the considerable effort against the larger island nation.
The BVI RFU would like to thank all those who made staging the game possible, namely platinum sponsors Digicel, as well as Gold sponsors SHRM, Maples, RTW/Heineken and DHL and other partners including the Premier’s Office, the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, the BVI Olympic Committee, The Batcave, Captain Mulligan’s and Brunel Engineering.
Digicel BVI CEO Alan Bates said Digicel proudly supports rugby in the BVI, particularly the youth development programme, where Coach Sherlock Solomon trains several hundred students in various schools. “With the increasing interest in the sport in the BVI, Digicel is very pleased to be associated with the BVI Rugby Football Union and we are proud of the national team’s achievement on Saturday. We look forward to BVI further making its mark on the regional and international rugby stage.”
For persons 18 years and over interested in training with the team and picking up a wonderful sport, training is at the A. O. Shirley Grounds at 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.