BAHRAIN RFC’s first XV will travel to take on Jebel Ali Dragons in the West Asia Cup final on March 23 after the UAE side came out on top in yesterday’s league encounter in Saar.
The 32-36 final score line certainly provided plenty of action for the faithful home crowd to enjoy but in the end, Bahrain left themselves with just too much to do after a disappointing third quarter.
Bahrain went into yesterday’s game knowing a win would guarantee them second place in the league and a coveted home semi-final in the end-of-season play-offs, while also denying the Dubai outfit the league title.
Instead though, it was the visitors who took maximum points and with it, the league bragging rights over UAE rivals and reigning champions, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, who had earlier yesterday seen off the challenge of Dubai Eagles.
The hosts got off to the better start as fly half Luke Radley kicked them into a 6-0 lead but the Dragons hit back with the opening try off a five-metre line-out.
Bahrain RFC product James Love added the extras to give the Dragons the lead in the first of several telling contributions to the game.
Bahrain responded with their first five-pointer through Greg Heath but after coughing up possession inside the Dragons’ 22, Bahrain then conceded a penalty on the stroke of half-time and Love duly closed the gap to a single point.
The Dragons mustered another try to shock the Bahrain boys at the start of the second-half and things got worse for the home side when first, the bounce of the ball handed Love a gift of a try and then an intercept pass saw the visitors run in the bonus point score.
To their credit and the delight of the home fans, Bahrain put on a hell of a show in the final quarter as Mani Tupou, Dai Evans and Iwan Phillips crossed for tries - all of which were converted by replacement Ross Preedy - but alas, time ran out on what could have been the most dramatic of comebacks.