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On Fatima College Ground on Saturday evening, the crowd held its collective breath in the final minutes of the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association’s (NACRA) South Zone Championship match.

Guyana had the home team Trinidad and Tobago pinned right back in defense of its slim lead. One try more and last year’s Champion would have a successful title defense and an upset of the hosts.

Both captains agreed that it was a battle befitting of the South Championship match, with Guyana’s Ryan Gonsalves putting it like this, “It’s always a battle between us and Trinidad where the scoreline between us is never too big. It’s good for rugby in the Caribbean where no one team can dominate all the time. Once we keep this competitiveness we can show all the rest of countries that rugby in the Caribbean is on the rise.”

Ironically, it was Gonsalves himself that made the difference, or rather, failed to make the difference for his team because of what he explained was a “poor kicking day”.

Gonsalves missed two penalty kicks in the first half and overall Guyana missed all four conversion attempts which totaled eight valuable points down the drain.

“We just had a poor first half and didn’t have enough time in the second half to get one more try. We just have to learn to suck up the ones that we lost. Well done to Trinidad and Tobago.” said the disappointed Guyana leader.

On the other side of things, T&T’s captain Adam Frederick was a bit more willing to give credit to his opposite number, perhaps because he knew that things could have gone very differently in the end.

When T&T took a 22-10 lead on an Andre Cabrera try, followed up by a successful conversion with 20 minutes left in the match, the result seemed to be a foregone conclusion. However, T&T’s twelve point advantage came under siege for those final 20 minutes and Guyana found success in getting over the line twice to cut their deficit to just 2. Thankfully for Gonsalves’ “poor kicking day” they could not add on the conversions which would have put them ahead.

“Guyana is always a difficult team at the end of the game and they always have a little extra. They just keep coming.” says Frederick. “It was a good fight by our boys. We needed to finish and we did that.”

T&T will aim to reclaim the overall NACRA title they last won in 2008 when they take on Mexico in two weeks, possibly right here at home.

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