Caribbean kings Bermuda defend Championship title

  • Bermuda scrum half Tom Healy passes the ball during his team's 18-0 win over Guyana in the Caribbean Championship final at the National Sports Centre on Saturday.

    Bermuda scrum half Tom Healy passes the ball during his team's 18-0 win over Guyana in the Caribbean Championship final at the National Sports Centre on Saturday.
    (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

Bermuda 18 Guyana 0

Bermuda skipper Pete Dunkley hailed his team’s “huge effort” after defending their NACRA Caribbean Championship title against Guyana at the National Sports Centre on Saturday.

The hosts, who beat Guyana 11-0 in last year’s final, dominated the match from start to finish and managed to frustrate the visitors by thwarting their trademark running game.

It was a victory built on a mean defence, superbly marshalled by forward Dunkley, with Guyana failing to score against Bermuda for the second successive final.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult game against Guyana who are capable of putting three scores on the board in a blink of an eye,” said Dunkley.

“It’s been a tremendous journey which started a few years ago when we were preparing for the last year’s Caribbean Championship.

“It been a huge effort from all of the guys who have been training three times a week and I’m really appreciative to all the guys in the squad.”

Fly half Ian Henderson handed Bermuda the lead with a fourth minute penalty and he doubled the advantage with a second penalty on 19 minutes.

Hosting the tournament final for the first time, Bermuda took further control of the game in the 27th minute when full back David Pringle dived over in the right corner for a try converted by Henderson.

Henderson missed his easiest kick of the half on 37 minutes and shortly before the break was sin-binned by Mexican referee Pablo Septien for a foul, punishing the home side having warned them over a series of offences.

In his absence Bermuda had another chance to extend their 13-0 lead but Tom Edwards failed to convert a penalty.

After the break Guyana improved but still found it difficult to break down their opponent’s watertight defence.

In the 60th minute, though, they squandered an opportunity to get on the scoreboard when Avery Corbin pulled a penalty wide from almost in front of the posts in the 60th minute.

Henderson, having served his penalty, completed the scoring late on when he took advantage of a Guyana knock on, kicking a loose ball over the try line and then grounded it for the points.

Bermuda will now advance to the next stage of the 2015 World Cup qualifiers having reaffirmed their status as the region’s top side.

Lawrence Bird, the Bermuda head coach, admitted he was relieved his side had completed the job in front of a crowd of around 300 supporters.

“We’re very relieved, every game has been difficult although I believe we have got better every game,” he said.

“I thought we started pretty well and played some controlled rugby and defensively we were superb. To keep Guyana out to nil for two finals on the trot is a phenomenal achievement for the lads who have worked so hard.

“At half-time we were in a good position but I told the guys that scores and Guyana would be ahead and it that it only takes a few seconds to score.

“I felt that if Guyana had passed when they should have passed instead of hanging onto the ball then it would have been a far closer game.”

Bird’s team topped the North Zone group, beating Cayman at home and Bahamas away en route to the Championship final.

Bermuda, who are 49th in the International Rugby Board’s world rankings, are the top ranked side in the Caribbean.

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Published Jun 25, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 25, 2012 at 8:17 am)

Caribbean kings Bermuda defend Championship title

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