It was a bruising match-up on Sunday at the Garrison Savannah, far from its designated ‘friendly’ international, and at the end the visiting Balmy Beach Rugby team from Canada defeated a Barbados Select XV 19-12.
The early minutes of the match were dominated by the local men as they pressed the visitors hard and confined play to the Canadians’ 22-metre line, though they were unable to translate this into points on the scoreboard. A lot of hard work from captain Jeren “Blinki” Clarke, Raj Edwards, Che Springer, Jae Bowen and Dorian Browne should have resulted in a score, but the defence was even more determined to stand firm.
Rapidly adjusting to the conditions and the opposition, Balmy Beach managed to outfox Barbados and their speedy number 12 Tyler Allen broke through the line to score the first try of the match. Sean Gowland kicked the conversion to take the score to 7-0 to the visitors, who were wearing brilliant turquoise kit emblazoned with the logo of the sponsors, Banks Beer.
Barbados suffered a blow when big Che Springer had to leave the field with an injury. The local team seemed unable to make any headway in the scrums, and Balmy Beach went on to score another unanswered try and conversion, compliments of Chad Harris, taking the score to 14-0 to the visitors at half-time.
Passions ran high after the interval with a pushing and shoving session that developed into a potentially nasty situation as Barbados’ Romain “Frenchy” Bourgeois was shown a red card after a head-butting incident with a visitor. Bajan centre Sean Ward was sin-binned as was a Balmy Beach player, leaving both teams short of their full complement. Being two men up gave the visitors the advantage and a Tyler Sopik try took the score to 19-0. The attendant kick was unsuccessful.
Barbados suffered another loss of personnel as captain Jeren Clarke was forced off the pitch with a bloody head, and Daniel “Danny Ram” Ramsay took a knee to the head and was helped off. But the Bajan players kept their heads up and pressed forward with determination. Raj Edwards made sure his 100-plus kilos were felt by the opposition, and wily Sean Ward came close on several occasions before veteran Kenneth “KaiPee” Payne powered through the now-vulnerable Balmy Beach defence to put up the first Bajan points of the match. Sadly, Leandro “Ice Man” Jordan was unable to convert.
Undaunted, the local men made sure that even this late in the game, the visitors would score no more points, and speed merchant Jae Bowen broke free of the Canadian tackles and charged across the try-line to plant the ball emphatically beneath the goal posts. His conversion kick was good and Barbados were able to salvage some pride with a much more respectable scoreline than initially seemed likely.(KD)