GULF WEEKLY: Competitive rugby returned to the kingdom last weekend, with the Bahrain Rugby Football Club’s (BRFC) Golden Oldies taking on two Saudi teams during a cracking Causeway Cup contest.
Al Khobar Rugby Football Club (RFC) and the Riyadh Vipers RFC drove across the causeway to take on the Golden Oldies, who are now being coached by a new team comprised of Jack Parry and James Whittington.
“There was clearly an air of excitement in the crowd, who were ready for their first action in almost 20 months,” Parry told GulfWeekly.
The game started ferociously, as the Golden Oldies forwards, marshalled by Blake Henry, looked to make an impression, with popular youth rugby coach and ace motorsport driver Lee Stones leading the way with a barrage of ferocious tackles.
In attack, Irishman Jessie Griffen carried with purpose and the hard running of Cobus Grierson proved particularly difficult for the Vipers to handle.
Despite the positive start, the Vipers took the first opportunity to score, when the scrabbling Oldies defence failed to deal with a speculative grubber kick. The Vipers proved victorious with a final score of 5-0.
After a short break, Al Khobar’s took on the battle-weary Golden Oldies. Khobar’s ranks were bolstered by the extended Golden Oldies squad, but it was player-coach Matthew Williams who stole the show with an assured performance for the Saudi team.
For the home side, Saul Piper tackled anything that moved and Lee Leach provided a constant threat out wide, with his electric pace and elusive running.
In the end, the younger and fresher Al Khobar side ran out convincing winners, despite the efforts of the hard-working Gavin Ames and the versatile Martin Prinsloo who played, hooker, flanker and fullback at various stages of the night.
The final game of the evening saw the two Saudi sides take each other on, with the Golden Oldies once again filling in for Al Khobar against a well-rested Vipers side.
The game ended in a 7-7 draw, with Parry carrying multiple defenders over the line on his way to score for his briefly-adopted side.
“The Golden Oldies will take heart from their performances, but the result was always secondary on a day where the club were determined to celebrate the great game of rugby union once again,” Parry added.