Sports

Cuckoos repeat as champions

It was a very physical game in the Bahamas Rugby Football Union’s (BRFU) Aliv Nassau Cup between the Buccaneers and the Cuckoos as the game ended in a 24-24 tie, but the Cuckoos won the cup based on points standings. The game was played on the Heineken Winton Rugby Field this past Saturday.

The Cuckoos were dominant for most of the game, controlling time of possession and field position. Mark Hamilton, chairman of the Cuckoos, said that his team went back to the drawing board to come back and repeat as champions.

“It was really good. Last year we had some issues and we did not win the Bahamas Cup but this year we made sure we worked hard from August, coming to practice everyday, working hard just so we can come back here as champions,” Hamilton said.

Graham Garde, a Buccaneers player, said that his team is very resilient, and they did not give up.

“We needed to win by a lot of points in order to win the cup so we had to come back. You saw us play to the end with a couple tries. That shows that we were not going to give up and roll over. Unfortunately, we missed a kick at the end there, so we ended up tying,” Garde said.

Scoring first in the game was the Cuckoos’ Henry Storr. He gave his team a 5-0 lead before the conversion was good to take the lead up to 7-0.

“We had already made it in the try zone once, but we were stopped on a penalty, so it was a lot of aggression going into it. It felt good and I knew that the first team to score would make a statement and I was ready to make a statement for my team,” said Storr.

The Buccaneers roared back and scored two tries but missed one conversion, taking a 12-7 lead heading into the half. Scoring both tries was Andrew Bain.

Hamilton said he liked the fight the Buccaneers gave to them in the game.

“What I like from the Buccaneers today is the same hard fight that I like to see every single game. This is what keeps Bahamas rugby strong right now – the competition between Cuckoos, Buccaneers, Baillou and Freeport Rugby Club. We like this hard game and we like to work hard because what that means now is that when the game starts in January, we can come back even harder to work again.”

The Cuckoos dominated the second half, building a 24-12 lead at one point, looking to put the Buccaneers away. The scorers were Justin Cartwright, Blair Smith and Lavar Boyd for the Cuckoos in a 19-0 run. In this game, Hamilton said his guys worked together.

“We stuck to what we knew. We carried our defense. We ran the ball and we stayed with our team together. We always work together with everything,” Hamilton said.

The Buccaneers’ resiliency showed in the final moments of the game.

Dawayne Deveaux burst away from the Cuckoos’ defense to score a try. The conversion was made and the Buccaneers cut into the lead. The Cuckoos still led 24-19.

The final try was scored by the Buccaneers’ Connor Albury with time expiring. With that, they tied the game at 24. However, the conversion failed and the Cuckoos won based on points standings.

Garde said penalties hurt his team in the game.

Charles Smith, treasurer and former chairman, said they are looking forward to a three-peat next year.

“We are hoping to do the same thing we are doing now and just build on top of it, stick with practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Smith said. “We have to stick with the intensity and get better. The competition is going to be strong and everyone is going to be coming for us. We just have to come out here and continue to practice and play hard.”

The Cuckoos ended the season undefeated with three wins and one draw. The Buccaneers finished with two wins, one loss and one draw. Baillou, the other team in the league, was winless, losing all four of their games.

The Bahamas Cup is set for next month.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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