Rugby: Baillou Heineken Bahamas Cup champions

By RENALDO DORSETT

Tribune Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

FOR the first time in five years, Baillou RFC topped the Bahamas Rugby Football Union as Heineken Bahamas Cup champions.

Baillou, the No.1 seed, scored a 26-24 win over the third-seeded Buccaneers RFC Saturday at the Winton Rugby Centre.

Baillou dominated the first half with an early 14-6 lead, but the Bucs scored three tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take the lead. Baillou finished strong to score the final two tries to take the match and the cup for the 2018-19 season.

Baillou claimed their spot in the final relatively early on as the top seed, while Bucs played their way into the final in recent weeks.

Bucs went on the road to defeat Freeport RC, 33-17. They overcame a 14-point deficit with 26 unanswered points to win and advance to the semi-final. They then went on to defeat the defending champions Cuckoos RFC to advance.

Baillou lost just a single match this season and won their first Heineken Bahamas Cup since 2014. It was also the Bucs’ first appearance in the title game since 2016.

“We’ve been training hard all season, we had a long break since our semi-final, we trained hard and we got our rewards in the end,” Baillou’s Andrew Waterhouse said, “We showed a real positive determined effort, obviously Bucs came back strong, they’ve been a really good side this year and got momentum every single week. They’ve played four out of the last five weeks and beat a strong Freeport side, a strong Cuckoos side, we just did enough in the last 15 minutes to shut them out and did enough on defence to do the job. No one has scored 30 on us all season and that’s a testament to our defence.”

Since 2012, Heineken and the BRFU partnered to rename the Annual Bahamas Rugby Cup as the Heineken Bahamas Rugby Cup, and the brewing company now also provides branding, marketing, and advertising support. Cuckoos captured the first two editions of the renamed event in 2012 and 2013, while Baillou took the cup in 2014.

In 2015, the Buccaneers defeated Freeport 18-7 to claim the cup. Cuckoos then reeled off three consecutive titles from 2016-2018.

The Heineken Bahamas Rugby Cup ran for several weeks of competition with three teams from New Providence (Baillou, Cuckoos and Buccaneers) and one from Freeport (Freeport Rugby Club).

Following the conclusion of the season, attention shifts to play at the national team level.

The women’s national is preparing for the Rugby Americas North Championship, which will be held in Grand Cayman July 6-7. At the junior national team level, the under 19 boys will represent the Bahamas in Barbados for the Rugby Americas North Championships.