Bajan U19 Rugby Squad returns from NACRA 2013

A very young and inexperienced Barbados squad took part in the recently concluded NACRA (North America Caribbean Rugby Association) U19 2013 Championship in Trinidad and Tobago. The Bajan lads left home on Sunday 7 July, and returned on July 14, having won two of their three matches in the contest.

The Bajan Young Lions were given a baptism by fire in their first match against Mexico, at the Fatima College Grounds in Port of Spain, on Monday 8 July, 2013. The experienced Mexico team leapt out to an early lead, unfortunately assisted by a yellow card shown to Stefan Corbin midway through the first half. Playing short-handed, the Bajans did their best to defend and even drew penalties, but their opponents scored a power-play try and conversion. The Bajans nevertheless displayed fighting spirit and quickly got back into the action aided by a penalty from Isaac Elcock. The half-time score was 21-3 to Mexico.

The Bajan Young Lions were given a baptism by fire in their first match against Mexico, at the Fatima College Grounds in Port of Spain, on Monday 8 July, 2013. The experienced Mexico team leapt out to an early lead, unfortunately assisted by a yellow card shown to Stefan Corbin midway through the first half. Playing short-handed, the Bajans did their best to defend and even drew penalties, but their opponents scored a power-play try and conversion. The Bajans nevertheless displayed fighting spirit and quickly got back into the action aided by a penalty from Isaac Elcock. The half-time score was 21-3 to Mexico.

During the second half, U19 veteran Kofi Chase scored a try for the Bajans, and UK-based Conrad Edgar scored two more, giving us a glimmer of hope and pulling the score back to 26-20 with three minutes left on the clock. Alas, it was too little too late, and the game ended 33-20 to Mexico, after a bruising second half, that earned the respect of both opponents and officials.

Despite the final score, team captain Kean Blackman expressed a certain satisfaction with the attitude displayed by the squad and was quick to praise the efforts of novice Dario Howard, who made a vital tackle in the second half, and vowed to do better in their next outing.

Barbados next faced Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, July 10, at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The hometown crowd was vociferous and enthusiastic as the boys in red jumped out to an early 12-0 lead. However, the watching Cayman Islands and Mexico teams proceeded to voice their support for the Bajans, who responded with a brilliant display of kicking from the reliable right foot of Brandon Walcott, a determined try by David Burke (whose older brother Dario Stoute plays with the Bajan Senior Men's team), and a truly eye-opening second-half try by Nick Daniel. Isaac Ellcock also scored, taking the score to 24-20 full time to Barbados, who managed to run the clock out in what was a fiercely competitive and bruising match.

Barbados next faced Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, July 10, at the Haseley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The hometown crowd was vociferous and enthusiastic as the boys in red jumped out to an early 12-0 lead. However, the watching Cayman Islands and Mexico teams proceeded to voice their support for the Bajans, who responded with a brilliant display of kicking from the reliable right foot of Brandon Walcott, a determined try by David Burke (whose older brother Dario Stoute plays with the Bajan Senior Men’s team), and a truly eye-opening second-half try by Nick Daniel. Isaac Elcock also scored, taking the score to 24-20 full time to Barbados, who managed to run the clock out in what was a fiercely competitive and bruising match.

Despite the sheer physical and mental toughness displayed by the Bajans, these results were only good enough to contest for 5th place and avoid relegation. In this final match, the Bajan Young Lions came out roaring against rivals Bermuda on Saturday July 13 at the Hasley Crawford Stadium. Brandon Walcott’s successful penalty kicks had the score at 9-0 to the Bajans early in the first half, before Bermuda managed to mount any opposition. Kofi Chase and Conrad Edgar scored tries to make the half-time numbers 23-12. Things got tougher in the second half with two unanswered tries and conversions from Bermuda took the score to 23-26 in their favour. However, displaying the never-give-up attitude that characterized this squad, David Burke came through with the game-winner, assisted by the conversion from Brandon Walcott, so that the final whistle blew on a score of 30-26 to Bim!

Outstanding players included Conrad Edgar, David Burke, Shane Howard, and Kofi Chase.

The squad comprised: Roger Bailey (Combermere School), Joshua Best (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), Kean Blackman (St. Michael's School, Emperors RFC), Nikolie Bonnet (Princess Margaret School), Dorian Browne (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), David Burke (St. Michael's School, Emperors RFC), Kofi Chase (Harrison College, UWI), Dario Clarke (Harrison College), Stefan Corbin (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), Nick Daniel (Queen's College, Emperors RFC), Conrad Edgar (Enfield Ignatians RFC, UK), Isaac Ellcock (Mill Hill School, UK), Akeem Harding (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), Arron Harding (Princess Margaret School), Dario Howard (Combermere School), Shane Howard (Lester Vaughan School), Daniel Johnson (Lodge School), Daniel Ramsay (BIMAP, Emperors RFC), Shane Taylor (Harrison College, Scorpions RFC), Mikyle Walcott (Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Emperors RFC), Brandon Walcott (Renegades RFC), Darien Walcott (St. Leonard's School).

The squad comprised: Roger Bailey (Combermere School), Joshua Best (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), Kean Blackman (St. Michael’s School, Emperors RFC), Nikolie Bonnet (Princess Margaret School), Dorian Browne (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), David Burke (St. Michael’s School, Emperors RFC), Kofi Chase (Harrison College, UWI), Dario Clarke (Harrison College), Stefan Corbin (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), Nick Daniel (Queen’s College, Emperors RFC), Conrad Edgar (Enfield Ignatians RFC, UK), Isaac Ellcock (Mill Hill School, UK), Akeem Harding (Combermere School, Emperors RFC), Arron Harding (Princess Margaret School), Dario Howard (Combermere School), Shane Howard (Lester Vaughan School), Daniel Johnson (Lodge School), Daniel Ramsay (BIMAP, Emperors RFC), Shane Taylor (Harrison College, Scorpions RFC), Mikyle Walcott (Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Emperors RFC), Brandon Walcott (Renegades RFC), Darien Walcott (St. Leonard’s School).

Barbadians have the opportunity to see many of these young men in action at the Garrison on Tuesday, July 23, as they play a “friendly” match against the visiting school side, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, from Wales. In their first encounter last Saturday, the two teams started slowly but wound up with a slugfest Barbados 45-32 Ysgol Bro Gwaun. Tomorrow’s match should be just as intense, with kick-off at 4:00pm.

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