Having gone down heavily to Guyana in their last Rugby World Cup Qualifier, Barbados took to the field at the Garrison Savannah last Saturday against archrivals Trinidad and Tobago determined not to repeat past experiences. But that didn’t eventuate and Barbados were soundly beaten 39-5.
Three minutes into the game the visitors’ number 13 Agboola Silverthorn scored the first of his four tries, nimbly eluding the Bajan’s defence. The gusty winds prevented a conversion and also diverted a Barbados penalty kick from Kevin Carter.
Barbados were unable to keep the visitors out of their half, and 15 minutes later, James Phillip put his team up 10-0. Again, the conversion attempt (Felician Guerra) was no good. Silverthorn scored again and this time Guerra’s kick was good, taking the score to 17-0. Once again, Barbados’ Kevin Carter missed on a penalty attempt and despite some spirited offence by the local men, the half-time score was 17-0 in favour of the visitors.
Starting off the second half, Shane “Cracker John” Howard was subbed on for Kevin Cobham but even Howard’s vigorous and speedy efforts were unable to prevent Silverthorn’s hat-trick try. Once again the gusty winds prevented a conversion. Ten minutes of determined Barbados offence, marred by some ball handling errors, kept the large crowd entertained and engaged, until T&T’s number 14 Phillip scored his second try of the match. Mercifully, Guerra’s streak of missed conversion attempts continued. Sixty-eight minutes into the match, Silverthorn scored his fourth try of the evening, but Christopher Hudson’s kick was unsuccessful. Score, 32-0.
While the scoreboard remained heavily in favour of the visitors, the local team refused to give up the fight, but the opposition was just better organized and in some cases, faster on their feet.
Five minutes from full time, Barbados captain Stephen Millar finally broke through the Trinidad and Tobago defence to score Barbados’ lone try. Again, Carter failed to convert. At 80 minutes, Anderson Joseph took advantage of the porous Bajan defence to seal the visitors’ victory with another try, while Jamal Clarke converted.
Trinidad and Tobago will go on to face Guyana next month, with the winner being crowned South Zone champions for the Rugby Americas North 2016 tournament, while Barbados will travel to Jamaica in a last ditch effort to salvage at least one win.