Barbados’ Select XV recently redeemed themselves after the drubbing they received earlier, with a 27-13 victory over the visiting Canadian Balmy Beach Rugby team at the Garrison Savannah.
In what was labelled a friendly international, the Bajan team, proudly wearing their Banks-sponsored team jerseys, were first to score, despite being a man short with Bryan Cummings getting a yellow card ten minutes in. Seasoned partners Jae Bowen and Sean Ward each scored tries to put the home side 10-0 up. Balmy Beach’s Gearoid Conway booted home a penalty just before half-time to put the visitor’s on the board with a 10-3 score at the break.
Resumption of play saw Balmy Beach attacking with a ferocity that was quickly rewarded. Corey Appleton punctured the Barbados defence for a pair of tries that snatched the lead 13-10. Undaunted, the Bajans responded with grace under pressure, as Sean Ward demonstrated his athletic ability with an acrobatic hurdling leap over a would-be tackler, then a forceful hand-off that ended in the second of his three ties for the night. Firmly in control now, Ward quickly posted another try to complete his hat-trick, to the delight of the home crowd.
Despite a red card issued to Leandro “Ice Man” Jordan, Barbados carried on strongly attacking the visitors. Speedy winger Dario Stoute, who was a huge nuisance to the Balmy Beach offence, showed great presence of mind to snatch up a loose ball and rocket down the wing to score another five points. And so it continued, as the visitors were unable to add to their total, despite consistent attacks and a variety of tactics. The coup de grace came with a late try from Stephen Millar, whose sheer size and intensity overwhelmed a tired defence.
The final scoreline would have brought much satisfaction to the local team and the management staff. This was a useful exercise for Barbados who are deep in preparations for the 2014 NACRA regional championship tournament, with the first fixture scheduled for Saturday May 17, when Guyana will come to the Garrison Savannah. Coach Stuart Copeland was reasonably pleased with the performance and is expected to name the final squad within days.