Police Rugby Club enjoyed a memorable day after tasting success in the annual Duckett Memorial match at Police Field at the weekend.
In an event which has been hosted every January since Commissioner George Duckett’s assassination in 1972, Police men’s first team took on a very strong National Select side in the showpiece main encounter.
Police started strongly and forced the National Select into conceding penalties deep in their own territory, with the Police opting to kick for points and keep the scoreboard ticking over, building up a 12-0 lead courtesy of Jayde Albertze’s boot.
The forwards matched up well against the sizeable opposition, proving a solid platform for the backs. Despite the difficult conditions there was fluidity to the backline, expertly marshaled by Stephan Smith and Mike Halbert.
The Police made good yards with ball in hand with only some last ditch National defensive effort preventing the men in blue from crossing the whitewash.
As expected, the National team eventually rallied through their sizeable pack, putting pressure deep in Police territory. As the pressure mounted, the Police hooker Ben Green was sent to the sin bin, with the National Select making the extra man count scoring on the stroke of half-time to keep them within striking distance.
The second-half continued where the first left off with increasing pressure coming from the National Select, but the Police defence held firm. Eventually, the National Select scored another try after a Police mistake at the line-out, putting the score at 15-12 to Police. As the clock ticked down the National Select ramped up the pressure but could not find a way to puncture the Police defence, who ultimately held on for the victory.
Jayde Albertze’s stellar performance earned him the Peter Stubbs MVP trophy.
The men’s Second XV took on the Bermuda Under-19 National team. The Police team was bolstered by the appearance of several experienced players and had no less than three father-son combinations: Jonathon Cassidy and Keith Cassidy, Andy Pell and Dan Pell, Sean Field-Lament and Jake Field.
The Police team surprised the partisan crowd by eking out an entertaining 15-12 victory, with Old boys Gareth Davis, Sean Field and Peter Lewington scoring unconverted tried. The Bermuda Under-19s responded with tries from Ja’kee Simons, Hussani Samuels and a conversation from George Peets.
Meanwhile, it was a closely contested battle between Police Women’s first team and the Best of the Rest.
Police captain Meagan Jackson opened the scoring in the second minute with a dive over the try line from quick attacking play in the opposition 22.
The opposition came back to even the score when Laura Mulligan took a quick penalty to easily dot the ball over the line. The second half saw the visiting side take the lead 10—5 with Nya Heyliger breaking through defence on the wing.
Police came back to take the lead 12—10 with Meagan Jackson diving over the line to score her second try of the day and a conversion off the boot of Fiona Donaldson.
Their hopes of winning were dashed when Jessica Cassidy scored in the dying minutes to seal victory for the best of the Best of the Rest with a final score of 15-12.
Earlier on, the Police women’s second team were victorious over a strong best of the Best of the Rest team. Kerry Heigham, of Police, scored the first try of the day when the ball was spread wide through quick hands.
April Jackson quickly came back to score for the Best of Rest by sidestepping the Police defence. From there the floodgates opened with an extravaganza of tries for the Police.
Erica McArthur and rookie Clodagh Barry both scored two tries each. Clever play saw Jessica Wagner break though to score beneath the posts, making for an easy conversion off the boot of Erica McArthur.
The final points of the day came from broken play with Kierra Smith storming down the length of the pitch to score and seal a 39—5 victory for Police.