BVI RUGBY, STERLING PERFORMANCE IN ST MARTIN
Tuesday , 2 November 2010 – Road Town, Tortola: The BVI Rugby Team on Sunday returned from a tour of St. Martin which involved two games against the St. Martin National Team and the Diamond Rugby Club from Martinique.
Rugby in St. Martin is in rude health as they now compete in the Guadeloupe league, where last year they finished 4th of the 7 teams involved. In Martinique, there is a league with 5 sides AND Diamond is mid table.
The BVI team was a 50/50 mix of experienced players and newcomers to the game and there was a little worry that the BVI may struggle against the more experienced French sides.
The first game, which was 20 minutes per half, was a tough bruising encounter against St. Martin. At half time, the score was level at 0-0, with the pack securing good ball in the scrums and lineouts. However, the backline was put under pressure from an organized opposition back line and as a result a few handling errors spurned several good openings. Pleasingly the defense held well with the pack and the back line tackling hard.
During the second half, the St Martin pack bundled over for a score, however the BVI responded superbly with great handling from the pack running the ball in from around 30 metres. The move was finished with a searing run from Andre Adams who offloaded to Patrick Dennis who dived over the line. Unfortunately, the subsequent kick to level the game was missed and the game finished 7-5.
Game two saw the BVI come up against a very large Martinique side who had just lost to St. Martin. The game was a tough encounter, but pleasingly the BVI backline began to fore with half backs Mariano Marco and Nic Recondo leading the charge. Several runs by speedsters Keiroy Frank and Victor Franklyn as well as Donovan Staples in the centre had the opponents scrambling, however the final pass was missing on several occasions. Again the pack provided good ball and scrapped well in the tight whilst the midfield defense led by Recondo and Chapman left the bruised French backline with little options. Sustained pressure saw Recondo over for a try which left BVI leading 5-0 at the break.
During the second half, the BVI again failed to convert a host of chances, and during a rare spell of Martinique pressure their pack rumbled over from a line out. Inexperience and lack of match practice at defending rolling mauls led to the try. This was followed several minutes later by a second score from a Martinique scrum. Suddenly, BVI were down 10-5.
The BVI showed great spirit to rally late with the Argentine half backs cleverly working through for a try full of Latin fire and guile. Unfortunately the conversion was missed - the final score ended 10-10.
A special mention goes to Lester Hamer, who despite a dislocated shoulder, played on for the remainder of the game.
This was valuable experience for the BVI team which is currently preparing for the first game in the NACRA Championship, which is away to St. Vincent in April. To be eligible for this game, players must be over 18 and hold either a BVI passport or have been a resident in the territory for three consecutive years. Training for men is at the A. O. Shirley Ground at 5:00-6:30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The BVI Rugby Football Union expresses thanks to Coach Sherlock Solomon as well as sponsors Digicel, SHRM, Maples, Pusser’s, Bat Cave, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and the BVI Olympic Committee.
Coach Solo will be holding a schools rugby tournament on the A. O. Shirley Ground this Friday.