Roxborough Secondary, Signal Hill share touch rugby honours

Roxborough Secondary, left, and Signal Hill Secondary, right, were crowned joint champions of Tobago in the touch rugby competition last week.  -
Roxborough Secondary, left, and Signal Hill Secondary, right, were crowned joint champions of Tobago in the touch rugby competition last week. -

Roxborough Secondary and Signal Hill Secondary could not separated as touch rugby, a less physical version of rugby, made its debut at the Roxborough Secondary School grounds last Wednesday, in a clash to decide the Tobago champion.

The contest featured hosts Roxborough Secondary, coached by Nigel Ballington, versus Signal Hill Secondary, guided by Allen Granville, in a best-of-three encounter.

The atmosphere fitted the occasion, as both teams had great support from Physical Education teachers, parents, students and curious onlookers.

The touch rugby sevens action got under way in overcast conditions, with Signal Hill enjoying the early advantage.

However, Roxborough captain and winger Darius Moore had the honour of scoring the first try, to the delight of the home fans. Signal Hill battled back as both teams settled a 10-10 deadlock, after 14 minutes full-time.

After the opening stalemate, both teams were aware of the importance of a positive result in the second encounter.

Both schools awed the spectators with exciting switches, loops and breakaway plays, but Signal Hill displayed the sturdier defence and came away with a 12-7 victory.

With one hand on the trophy, Signal Hill entered the third match the more confident bunch.

Whether it was complacency or fatigue, Signal Hill defence did not maintain the same intensity and Roxborough pulled off a nail-biting 14-12 victory, to spark jubilation among their supporters.

The Tobago champion is scheduled to play Trinidad champions Fatima College for the national championship, but with both teams crowned joint champions, the scenario left the executive scratching their heads.

A senior official said the two Tobago teams may have to merge to contest the national championship.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Schools Rugby Union Patrice Des Vignes was on hand to witness the action, and expressed delight at the proceedings.

“It could not have gone better,” she said. “I am at a comfortable place with the start of touch rugby in the Tobago secondary schools. There was great camaraderie among the teams and supporters.

"The games were competitive. The atmosphere was great. I must thank the principal of both schools, coaches and our Tobago co-ordinators for their support and a job well done.

“My assistant secretary Lena Bermudez also came from Trinidad with me and we are satisfied that this occasion rivals any finals in Trinidad.”

Des Vignes, who is also manager of the national under-19 male rugby team, added “I have seen at least four national players emerging from the games.”

Des Vignes also addressed her administration's push to attract more players to touch rugby in the past year.

“To be honest, it was tough getting more students involved at first. Most students think it is a rough sport, but once they get into it and realise that it is not as tough as they thought, they are eager to continue and remain loyal to the sport.

“During our tenure there has been a 75 per cent increase in the number of schools involved in the sport and more are interested, but our main problem is getting coaches.”

She reiterated, “Touch rugby is about the holistic development of students. It...encourages critical thinking, decision making and communication, also you must play as a team.

“School principals are satisfied that our mandate has made a positive impact, in some cases a reduction of gang-related activity. The Ministry of Education has also mandated no physical contact in the sport for schools.”


"Roxborough Secondary, Signal Hill share touch rugby honours"

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