BAHRAIN RFC will start the year 2019 on top of the West Asia Premiership table after a comprehensive 68-14 victory over reigning champions Jebel Ali Dragons in front of a suitably festive home crowd in Saar last night.
In total, the hosts scored ten tries, with the respective boots of Leon Mauer and his replacement, James Whittingham doing the rest of the damage in what was a clinical display in almost every aspect.
It was far from one-way traffic in an entertaining opening quarter and it was 11 minutes before Bahrain hooker Lindsey Gibson opened the scoring off the back of a dominant rolling maul.
Indeed, the Dragons hit back soon after with a try of their own on the counter-attack, with Bahrain rugby product James Love - so often the scourge of his former club - latching on the end of a superb chip through.
A couple of tries in quick succession from half-backs Rob Bennett and Mauer however, proved crucial, and Bahrain finished the first-half in the ascendency as Gibson touched down for his second try and the all-important bonus point.
The game was all but over as a contest inside the opening minutes of the second-half, as first skipper Adam Wallace and then Mauer again crossed to make it 42-7, before Dragons’ unexpected player-coach Jonny McDonald pounced for an opportunist consolation score.
The referee did his best to even things up after Aled Morris scored Bahrain’s seventh try, by reducing the home team to 13 men but even at that, substitute Nick Annear kept the scoreboard ticking over as he wormed his way over from close range.
There was still time for Dai Evans and Jordan Viggers to add their names to the scoresheet, with the latter touching down with the last play of the game to kick the festive celebrations into full swing.