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Just can’t rain on the parade

Justin Marville

Just can’t rain on the parade

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They played through mud, thunder and torrential downpours.
Nothing was going to rain on rugby’s parade.
The weather system that submerged Barbados under water over the weekend just couldn’t dampen the spirits of the teams as the historic Garrison Savannah played host to the DHL North America and Caribbean Rugby Association’s (NACRA) International Sevens Tournament for two days.
Tournament director Neil Brooks even dubbed the competition a success in spite of the heavy rains that threatened to wash away a couple of the opening day’s late fixtures.
“It’s probably one of the first years in about 18 or 19 that we had weather like this,” said the seasoned NACRA official during Sunday’s men’s final.
“[But] I’m very satisfied how the tournament panned out, especially with the awful weather we had on the opening day.
“We got through every game and didn’t have to chop any, which we originally thought we had to half way through day one. All the teams pitched in and didn’t complain so the tournament actually ran smoothly.”
But the running was more slippery than smooth for the 26 competing squads, who had to navigate virtual swamps on Saturday before the grasses turned to mud for what proved a dicey championship day.
“The weather certainly affected the type of game most teams would play, but some teams adapted better than others, playing with the conditions and keeping ball possession,” reckoned Brooks.
“You saw more kicking and chasing and playing the ball down the opposite end of the field than in a normal sevens game played on a dry, sunny day.”
In the end, the weather and conditions couldn’t slow down reigning kings Guyana, who coasted to their sixth straight title following another unbeaten run through the tournament that finished with a 29-0 final win over Cayman Islands.
Their women didn’t live up to the huge billing though, surrendering their crown to the Maple Leafs of Canada after they finished fifth.
“Where Guyana might’ve dominated for the last five, six years, they’re more teams in the Caribbean  that can come through and give them a good game,” said Brooks of the rapidly-growing sevens game.
“It’s certainly growing from strength to strength in the Caribbean every year.”