Bajans go down in close final

Barbados’ rugby touring team to Halifax.

Barbados Select Rugby Sevens recently competed in the Halifax 7’s tournament in England where they won their four pool games, quarter and semi-finals, but lost out in the finals.

Coming up against Scots Guards they hammered the Englishmen 22-0 in the first encounter. Halifax then were no match for the Bajans, going down 35-0 in what was a total team effort from the visiting team.

Craig Rats were the first team to score against Barbados but still had no answer to Barbados’ offensive line, going down 43-7. In their final pool match Barbados faced their stiffest competition when they took on Edge Hill Uni Beavers. It was an initially see-saw encounter but Barbados eventually prevailed 19-12. This game was the group decider.

Barbados returned to their dominant ways in the quarter-finals when they took on Bradford Salem and drubbed them 21-10.

It was a battle of attrition in the semi-finals, however, with Barbados finding worthy opponents in Aldwinians. The match was one where both teams’ defence stood out, limiting many of their individual attacking forays. However, Barbados were able to come away with a narrow 7-5 victory.

Barbados’ sterling efforts in the early exchanges of the tour came with a heavy price as they entered the final against Caldy Rugby Club with a number of players carrying niggling injuries. Indeed, the team was down to eight players with only five of the squad not carrying some injury or another.

Despite this, Barbados played brilliantly in the opening exchanges and cruised into a 19-7 lead. But the limitations in the squad in terms of fit players took severe effect and they were to remain on 19 while Caldy Rugby Club came from behind in the second half of the game to win 24-19 against the spent Bajans.

Caldy had also won the tournament the two previous. Barbados’ United Kingdom-based manager Kurt Johnson expressed his pleasure at the efforts of the Barbadian rugby players.

“It was a gutsy performance starting the tournament with nine players due to last minute problems and then getting down to eight for the last two games. I am really proud of the boys,” he said.

Barbados’ selectors are currently reviewing the video from the Halifax tournament and a recent home competition with the view of naming the squad for the RWC World Cup qualifier in Ottawa on August 25 and 26.

Barbados’ head coach Joe Whipple said a number of players based in Barbados and in the United Kingdom had “put their hands up for selection”.

“The decisions over the next couple of days will be difficult but speaks to the depth we have for this and future tournaments,” Whipple said.

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