<br />
<em><strong>Here is a verbatim copy of Brian Richardson's tournament report.<br />
He is the coach of <a href="http://www.daytonabeachrugby.org" target="_blank"><u><font color="#0000CC">Daytona Beach RFC</font></u></a>, who won the event.</strong></em><br />
<img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/Daytona.JPG" align="right" hspace="10" vspace="10" width="206" height="156" alt="" /><br />
Team consisted of: Craig Howitt, Eric Kvam, Frank Radosta, Anthony Muniz, Zack Wilson (who thought we were playing 15’s), James Brown, Brian Richardson, Scott Sivak, TJ Lane, Mark Eichner (who played less than 1 game before dislocating his elbow), Topper Gummey, and Alex Wanyama (did not show up until 5:45pm)<br />
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With excellent communication and work from the Bahamian Rugby club, all the teams that attended had a great time. Chris Lleida and Andrew Davies of Bahamas rugby were great to work with. They arranged for transportation to and from the fields for the 5 non-Bahamian teams. They gave us each a tent and kept the ice and water coming. <br />
They had their own pitch and clubhouse with huge, high quality posts, scoreboard, and have cleared the way for a second pitch. Jerk Chicken and Pork for the players was awesome, and plenty of beverages for the spectators. Two Teams came from Bucknell in England, UConn, and Long Island, NY (who just finished off their D1 season last week) so they were fit. There were also three Bahamian teams. Daytona found some interesting transportation as well, we found a 4 Day Carnival Cruise that docked at 8am and left the next day. Plenty of time to play rugby all day, and socialize all night.<br />
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We were very disappointed to start the day because Alex Wanyama (who when healthy is to say the least a game changer) had not received his passport back in time to get on the cruise he had already paid for. After about 50 phone calls I convinced him if it came Saturday morning just take a one way flight over to Nassau and jump on the cruise there. Also the final was not scheduled to start until 6:20pm anyways.<br />
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We played a very disciplined game to start off against the Bucknell 2nd side, They sang us “BaBa Black Sheep” at the middle of the field to start the game. They tried mauling, but big Craig would stop them by himself. We worked off most of our 2.5 months of not playing rust and won 5 centered converted tries to 0. Topper had a brilliant run around the opposing wing to finish the game.<br />
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Then we played a very fundamentally sound UConn side which had unfortunately lost their fastest player who had made a tackle and slid out of bounds and wrapped his ribs around a PVC pipe holding up the fan barricade. With that player and good discipline they had just lost to the Bahamian Baillou side 19-14. We cut down the mistakes and played an error free game until Mark braced himself in a tackle and dislocated his elbow trying to cushion his fall (It looked really bad, but the Bahamas medic just popped it right back in). He said he wanted to play again, but was put on the shelf for the rest of the day. We finished the game with 6 players since we had maxed out our subs. Great game all around 7 tries, 3 converted. UConn had a great attitude, great overall rugby technique, and are very good with rugby songs. They will be singing all week at the Wyndam Resort.<br />
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Now to our worst game of the day. Baillou were balls of energy the whole game, contested every break and basically made our life miserable for 15 minutes. Technically we were sound, but we knocked a pass that would have put us away that bounced right into defenders hands. We contested the kickoff, but dropped the stolen kick right into the defenders hands, kicking at the ball instead of going down on it and losing it to a defender in space, throwing to the pocket but going straight to a retreating defender. We played hard and well, but mistakes against an athletic team will kill you. Frankie had a great game for us with the first score and some big tackles at sweeper. They scored with no time remaining and got close enough to make the kick to tie the game. Fortunately we had a greater point differential which allowed us to avoid a semi-final show down with Long Island.<br />
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With an extended break, the rest did us good. Next up was the Cuckoos from Bahamas, they were fast and fit. We limited our mistakes, kept their speed going side to side, and generally made plays. This is when the old Scott Sivak decided he was getting us this win. Scott has not played rugby since IRB 7’s in November 2006, rehabbing from an injury since then. He made some huge tackles and poaches but made an amazing run when two Cuckoos hit Scott as hard as they could and they just bounced off. Scott just accelerated and scored his 2nd try of the game. We controlled the ball and the running lanes and won 4 converted tries to 0.<br />
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Long Island did pretty much the same thing in their semi-final match. They had been playing all day like a well oiled machine. They contested a desperate Baillou team at the goal line for a few minutes when they were finally able to get it to their speedy wing wide who took it 100 meters. They were able to contain the Baillou attack and turned their mistakes into points. I believe they finished the game 4 tries to 0 as well.<br />
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We were never able to get a cell phone to work in Nassau, but Becky received a text message that Alex’s passport had come in and he was getting on a plane. We got the text message 1.5 hours after it was sent, so I then borrowed Chris Lleida’s phone (president of Bahamas Rugby) and Alex was actually getting on a 3 pm flight, getting in sometime after 4. I told him where the pitch was, and get a cab since his phone would not work over there, and we then waited patiently. We looked intently at every car coming into the park when Alex’s smiling face showed up at 5:45 pm. What a boost to morale, and it gave us the speed we needed to counter the Long Island Wing. <br />
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The secret weapon was here and Long Island did not know what hit them until clean ball from the first scrum was quickly passed to Alex, who ran towards the right sideline then accelerated back left between the center and wing 60 meters untouched for a converted try, it was almost unfair for players that had just played 4 matches in 100% humidity and heat for 7 hours. Alex later kicked at a loose ball and started playing soccer with it against the opposing wing when he was able to get a good kick at it and send it towards the try zone. Anthony Muniz came screaming down the opposite sideline and just beat the Long Island Defender to touch it down unconverted. LI kicked deep as I heard the ref’s watch go off to signal the half, and I screamed for TJ Lane to kick it out as help was not close. However he better not have heard me, and cut back towards some help and went to split two defenders who did not get a good hold of him and he kept his feet going and burst from between them to take it 70 meters for a converted try. <br />
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We knew LI was not going to give up since $1000 dollars in prize money was on the line. We had control of the ball in our end and worked it to the sideline, we did not make a clean pass to the pocket. The pocket kicked at it but it hit the Daytona player in front who then played it. A penalty was given, Daytona was back and ready, but the LI flyhalf decided he was going in. He took a quick pass going straight right at the defense, which caught the defender of guard since he was right in front of him. The LI flyhalf did not hesitate and kept coming and ran right threw the arm tackle, for an unconverted try. LI then got a scrum deep in our end after some good pressure defense. They got clean ball from the scrum to the Fly and ran a good switch and beat the Daytona defender to the gap, who still grabbed him but the LI Runner kept his feet and dragged him the rest of the way and just extended enough to put it down for a converted try. LI had momentum and a line out after we thought Anthony was set up outside and fended off 2 defenders with some spectacular stiff arms for the long try, but apparently stepped on the line. Fortunately the lineout was not clean and Daytona put the pressure on. The ball slipped out of an LI ruck into open play and Brian Richardson scooped it up and quickly found Alex in space and put him away to seal the game with a converted try as time expired. Brian then forgave himself for the two scores he had just given up. The $1000 dollar prize was quickly spent on the social side of rugby. I would not be surprised to see LI in the national 7’s championship this year. They were as tough as any team we ran into last year, Alex’s passport troubles probably helped us win, by catching them unaware of what he can do. <br />
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What a game, what a Tournament, what a way to travel, what a trophy (the largest we have ever won). Touring by cruise ship was a brilliant idea from our Coach; many thanks to the significant others that wore their bikinis proudly for us and especially my wife Becky who Rugby mom’d all weekend on the cruise because coach had to fly in and could not miss work Friday and Monday to join the cruise. Great job by Craig, logging lots of minutes in the first 3 games, keeping the props fresh for the finals and then actually updating the website. Eric was a menace on defense as well as Doc who had his good kicking shoes on, Zach no we are not playing 15’s, and special thanks to Mark for scaring the crap out of me with that dislocation (worst sight in rugby I have ever seen). What a way to start the season, we still need some players back from Injury (4) and to convince a few others to do the work needed to show USA Rugby Daytona’s National 8th place finish was not a fluke in 2006. Lets get to practice, get fit, and we are off to Charleston next weekend.<br />

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