By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The evening of Friday, July 3 saw another historic entry in the annuals of BVI sports, when for the first time after a little more then 40 years of the game being played in the territory, the inaugural Rugby10s league kicked off in Capoons Bay.
“This is a way of developing rugby on the island and giving players a chance and even some of the guys who have been here long and short term, a chance to play some good rugby,” explained Coach “Solo” Sherlock Solomon, nothing that they have formed three clubs—East, Central and West—based on where players live for the league. “There are 15 players on a team and we are starting with a 10 a side version and developing it from there. We are giving the regulars a chance to play a bit of rugby, especially the youngsters and those living on the island that want to play proper contact giving them a chance to play.”
Solomon added that BVI is an associate member of the International Rugby Board (IRB) and to get full recognition, they must have 3-4 clubs on the island. “This is a start and over a period of time, we’ll develop into big clubs so we can register with the international board,” he stated.
In the first of three matches, Central opened the league with a 24-12 victory over the Wild West, with Adehola Haffner the leading scorer with 12 points. The speedy East End whipped Central 69-12, with Matt Holmes and Tom Wilson running through Central’s defense for 19 points respectively. East End closed play with a 38-17 drubbing of the Wild West. Holmes had 14 points and Wilson 10.
National player Victor Amparpo, who is also on the U19 team hailed the initiative which he says will be more people involved in the game. “With East, Central and West teams, we’ll have different matches in different places so people can see them,” he said adding that he’s looking forward to the growth of the league. “All three teams are pretty good. Central has a power team—they’re bigger and stronger. East and West are much quicker, so you’ll have to look out for all three teams.”
East End’s Austin Keil, the 2015 BVI Rugby Football Union player of the year said having a league is pretty exciting. “It’s actually pretty nice to play games locally, friends against friends, teammates against teammates and I think we’ll be able to give each other a lot of good constructive criticism that will help us win upcoming games,” he explained. “I think it will be great for the development in the BVI. Kids who aren’t allowed to travel or kids whose parents think they are too young to travel can now play locally, full contact rugby, which previously had been difficult to organize. So it opens up the game to a lot more people.”