Emperors Rugby Football Club have started the Barbados Rugby Football Union’s season at full throttle and trounced Tridents RFC 53-17 at the Garrison Savannah on Saturday.
It was a picture perfect afternoon at the Garrison as Emperors faced opponents Tridents RFC for the first match of the afternoon. Emperors, obviously still pumped up from their win last week, appeared to draw first blood from a series of passes after the opening kick, as Mikyle “Honey Badger” Walcott gathered the ball for a speedy trip to the try-line, but the play was called back due to a forward pass in an earlier phase.
Undeterred, the Emperors pressed on and within minutes, Finn Gunn put his team on the board with a clever try. Romuald “Mou” Allart added another try and Simon Noble booted home the conversion to put the men in red up by 12 points to nil.
Tridents’ Jae Bowen, easily the fastest man on the pitch, broke free of the pursuing Emperors and made his mark, to the intense disgust of Walcott, who had been hard on his heels but unable to prevent the score. The “Honey Badger” channeled that emotion into another try as the action and momentum swung wildly from end to end. Noble’s kick was good and the score stood at 19-7 to the Emperors.
Big David Evelyn of the Emperors, returning from a long layoff, displayed clever footwork and an effective spin move to break several tackles and set up another try for his team. Ché Springer, a graduate of the U19 programme, powered his way to the try line, ably assisted by Ryan “Kiwi” Scott and “Fat Kyle” Smith, another former U19 player. Antonio Gibbons, Jason Fleming and Corey Elcock of Tridents put a lot of effort into their play, but were unable to put points on the board.
Despite some massive defence from Tridents, including a ferocious (and legal) hit on “Fat Kyle” Smith by newcomer Michael Thompson, Emperors’ captain Jeren “Blinki” Clarke assisted big Akeem Harding to score yet another try and bring the score to 29-7.
Even another display of sheer speed and evasive tactics by national player Bowen could only ease the pain slightly, as the Emperors’ defence held firm. An attempted try was called back due to another knock on (illegal forward kick).
Early in the scond half, Tridents’ André Jordan added five points to his team’s score, but the wind defeated the attempted conversion kick. Shortly after, Emperors added five more to their lead with Walcott’s second goal for the afternoon, quickly followed by tries by Daniel “Daddy Ram” Ramsay and Noble, whose boot also added to the score. Emperors’ Allard and veteran Denniston Shepherd made short work of the opposition, who were fielding a number of novice players. Walcott finished the afternoon with a well-earned hat-trick while Bowen salvaged some vestige of pride for the Tridents by scoring a late try.
The next match saw a pumped-up Scorpions Rugby Football Club, anxious to wash away memories of their defeat last week at the hands and feet of the mighty Emperors, handing the Renegades a 36-10 beating.
Sadly, many ball-handling errors and turnovers marred this match. Renegades missed an early penalty kick due to a Scorpion infraction, and were made to pay for this by Raj Edwards who powered his way through their line to score the first try. Speedster Dario Stoute, who also plays international Sevens, put another five points on the board, while the usually reliable Neil Forde missed the kick.
Kevin “Corn Flakes” Cobham, while not playing at full fitness, nevertheless got past the Renegades’ defence to take the score to 15-0 while Bryan Cummings’ kick added two more points.
Renegades’ speedy brothers Brandon and Darrien Walcott caused some discomfort to the opposition but were unable to put any points on the board. Adding insult to injury, another breakaway sprint by Dario Stoute was followed by a pass to big Stephen Millar who managed to power through for another try and a good kick by Cummings.
Veteran player Ramoun “Juice” Downes rallied the Renegades with some spirited play, assisted by Runako Padmore, Caston Howard and Kyle “Walt Man” Harewood, but the half-time score was still 31-0 to the Scorpions.
After the restart, Brandon Walcott scored a massive try to get some points on the board. Subsequent play saw some controversy and some heated exchanges that ended with Stoute of Scorpions and Shane “Trapper John” Howard both being shown yellow cards and spending the next ten minutes in the sin bin.
With both teams a man short, action was somewhat less than exciting, but wily Nico Blunt gave what amounted to a workshop in how to tackle while frustrating a determined but ultimately unsuccessful Renegades attack. Undeterred the Walcott brothers piled on the pressure while team-mates Howard and U19 Anquan Lynch confronted the stubborn Scorpions defence. Millar scored his second try of the evening while Lynch added another try to the Rengades meagre total.
After two weeks of play, Emperors are undefeated, while Renegades, Tridents and Scorpions each have one win and one loss each.
Play continues this Saturday with Emperors facing Renegades at 2:30 p.m. and Scorpions facing Tridents at 4 p.m.
The BRFU is preparing to travel to Guyana on March 7 for their first NACRA tournament match of 2015, while Trinidad and Tobago will face Barbados here on March 21.