Bahrain 59 vs Dubai Hurricanes 21 – 23rd Feb 2018
Another big crowd at BRFC saw a disciplined and impressive display from the Bahrain 1st team beating 5th place Hurricanes 59-21. The Hurricanes came to Bahrain with a few key players missing and also knowing that their top 4 playoff hopes were sadly over. It could have gone one of two ways for them either with them folding and not being enthused or the opposite with them playing with passion and nothing to lose – it was most certainly the latter with them playing really well under high pressure.
Bahrain made some changes to the side with Alastair Crombie, Mani Tupou, Mark Burnell, Terence Tantoh and Graham Bishop all coming back into the side and this gave the Bahrain side fresh energy and excitement with all players desperate to impress. They flew out of the blocks with a well executed backs move sending Bishop flying up the wing putting a brilliant inside pass to Tantoh for a score within the first 5 minutes.
Any hopes of the Hurricanes lying down and accepting defeat were thwarted two minutes later with their impressive and pacey fullback darting through a missed tackle to score under the posts. Bahrain 7 – Hurricanes 7.
Physical exchanges dominated the next 20 minutes with bruising collisions flying in from everywhere – one of which unfortunately claimed Graham Bishop sending him to hospital with a broken and displaced collar bone. This is a huge blow for Bahrain’s already small squad at the business end of the season.
Further tries from Tantoh, Iwan Phillips and a great effort from the ever present Rhys Fitzgerald made the half time score 26-7 to Bahrain.
The second half started poorly for Bahrain with the Hurricanes’ huge Loosehead prop bowling himself over in the corner for a try despite the efforts of two Bahrain defenders. The score-line started to get a bit twitchy for Bahrain at this point being 26-12 to Bahrain – especially with captain Adam Wallace also being sent to hospital after a nasty collision to the head.
The Bahrain team then upped their intensity massively for the last 20 minutes and went on to score some great tries from Jon Kenny, the impressive newcomer on debut Mani Tupou, Tommy Booth, a second try for Phillips and a third try for Tantoh. Tantoh’s third try came from a well positioned kick from out half Luke Radley earning Tantoh the Man of the Match award for the evening.
A 59-21 score-line against any team in this league is a great achievement. The feeling of the match certainly didn’t feel like a 59 point game and the players will be feeling the bumps and bruises from this one all week. This win puts Bahrain in a great position making them just 2 points off the top of the table with 2 rounds to go. Bahrain’s fate is in their hands completely and if they can secure 9 league points from their remaining two games then they will secure themselves a home semi final in the West Asia Cup for the first time. The league title is also a potential but unfortunately with Abu Dhabi Harlequins earning two bonus points from their game with Exiles means they would have to drop league points in their last 2 rounds so that is out of Bahrain’s control. However nothing is impossible in this league and the dream of bringing silverware back to Bahrain is still very much a possibility.
Photgraphy by Jodie Baker Photography