BRFU League matches from Hallowe’en 2012: Emperors Vs. Development

The Friday night lights eventually burned bright on October 26 at the Historic Garrison Savannah as the Barbados Rugby Football Union‘s season continued with an impassioned match between league-leaders Scorpions and the upstart Renegades. Kick off was delayed by over 15 minutes due to a faulty light, but the action was fast and furious once play finally got under way.

Scorpions scored in the early minutes with an adrenaline-fuelled try from Raj (Edwards) followed by a conversion by the ever-reliable Ian Chetland. This was just the beginning of the blitzkreig attack of the champions, as Stephen Atwell, Sean Ward, Mark “Bouncer” Leacock poured on the pressure in a furious offensive display deep in the Renegades end.

Ward and Chetland quickly took the score to Scorpions 14 – 0 Renegades, while it took three Renegades to ride down big Scorpion Kevyn Murrell as he threatened to make it 17-0. Renegades took heart and despite being overmatched by Scorpions in pack weight, managed to gain possession of the ball, leading to a blistering fast try by national speedster Jae Bowen, who outran Barbados Sevens teammates Dario Stoute and Sean Ward. Brandon Walcott‘s drop kick was unsuccessful leaving the score at 14-5. However, Atwell, Chetland and Ward teamed up for another 7 points to take it to 21-5 at half-time, when the heavens opened and the rain came tumbling down.

The shower became a torrential downpour, rendering the footing slick and unstable and the ball dangerously slippery. “Forwards weather” – not suitable for passes and offloads, as both teams discovered during the rainy first minutes of the second half. Renegades managed to score another try, but it was a case of too little too late, as Ward, Raj and Leacock all scored. Full time score was 40-10, as one of Chetland’s kicks bounced off the upright.

Emperors’ Daniel “Danny Ram” Ramsay passing the ball to scrum half Mikyle “Honey Badger” Walcott

Saturday afternoon action saw the youthful Emperors squad facing off against the Development Squad, in a match that could have been billed energy versus experience. The Development Squad team was enhanced by the presence of some veteran players, including BRFU President George Nicholson, Martin Varga and Stuart Copeland, while the Emperors featured many of the national U-19 players, from 2012 and 2011.

The youngsters hit the ground running with a determined effort from Emperors’ Rondel “Rapta” Cumberbatch causing some discomfort to the “Old Boys”. Che Gaskin kept the momentum going and fed the ball to Keyon “Dilly” Questelles who put the youngsters on the board at 5-0, while Nick Daniel’s kick took the score to 7-0.

Moments later, Nicholas Jackman made it the “Nick & Nick” show with a try while his U-19 namesake again kicked a solid conversion. “Rapta” Cumberbatch’s next effort scored, but Daniel’s kick richocheted off the right post in his only miss of the match.

“Rapta” and team-mate Mario Holder (both 2011 U-19s) kept the pressure on the Development Squad team, who in turn stepped up their defence, with a couple of bruising tackles. With big men Nicholson and Varga in the pack, the smaller Emperors struggled in the scrums, lost “Dilly” Questelles to a back injury. His replacement, Jamar “Judee” Harewood fought valiantly to keep the momentum going in the face of superior weight and experience.

Dev Squad’s George Nicholson broke up a promising run by bringing down Emperor’s speedster Omar “Drogba” James (national U19) and the older team drew a penalty but Stephen Millar’s kick was no good. Emperors knew they were firmly in control as their vice-captain Keane Blackman (national U19) broke away at top speed only to be brought down by Nicholson and Jae Bowen. Big Stephan Millar gained possession of the ball and tested the Emperors defence, only to have the ball stripped by the opposition: Mario Holder and 15 year-old David Stoute (national U19) literally outran the bigger Dev Squad players for yet another try, and yet another Daniel conversion.

At half-time, the score was 26-0 to the Emperors.

The second half did not start well for the Development Squad, as an infraction gave Nick Daniel even more kicking practice – a penalty for 3 additional points. Things went downhill from there, as the Emperors and U19 scrum half Mikyle “Honey Badger” Walcott (possibly the smallest man on the field) fed the ball to Che Gaskin who charged across the try line in his unique upright stance, while kicker Daniel got to ply his specialty once more.

Development Squad were persistent, despite an astonishing end to end run and score by Keane Blackman, displaying a previously unseen quickness of foot, yet another “Rapta” try and consistently good kicking from Nick Daniel. National player Jae Bowen singlehandedly saved his team from a shut-out with two unstoppable tries, but only one of the conversion attempts succeeded, taking the score at full time to 50-12.

This week will see a double-header on Saturday, November 3: 2:30 pm kick off Emperors vs. Scorpions, and at 4:00 pm Development Squad vs. Renegades.

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