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Kelly, Bruce top rugby performers of 2012
Flanker Wayne Kelly who guided Harvard to its most successful season in rugby was named the T&T Rugby Football Union (T&TRFU) ‘Men’s Player of the Year’ for the fifth time when the body held its end-of-season awards ceremony, at the Police Administrative Building, Port-of-Spain, on Monday.
Kelly, a former sevens national team captain, who picked up the award in 2006, 2008 and 2011 was acknowledged for an outstanding season as he led Harvard to a seven title haul out of a possible eight titles, while Royalians’ Alesha Bruce picked up the ‘Women’s Player of the Year’ trophy. As a result, both players were nominated for the prestigious First Citizens Sports Foundation men and women ‘Outstanding Player of the Year’ titles. Kelly beat four other national players for the award: Agboola Silverthorne (Rainbow), Keshorn Walker (Tobago), Jesse Richards (UWI), James Phillips (Royalians).
Bruce, an established member of the national women’s team, led Royalians to the Women’s League Championship and National Sevens titles, as well as the T&T team to a runner-up finish at the NACRA Sevens Championship in Ottawa, Canada, last year. Fellow national players Juliana Straker (Romans) and Taliah Wilson (Royalians) were the other players selected for the year’s top performers.
The spotlight, however, was well and truly on Harvard, which prior to 2012 had never won a major senior title.
After a third place finish in 2010, and a runner-up finish in 2011, Harvard won, for the first time, the Toyota Championship Division League title (Wilson Walton Cup), along with the Marcus Minshall Cup (knockout). The Tragerete Road-based club also won the Lou Barrow Memorial Trophy as victors of the National Sevens Championship, the Senior Division title, the Sir Solomon Hochoy Cup (15s), the Police Sports Trophy (Sevens) and its very own Harvard Sevens Trophy.
In fact, Harvard won every competition it entered, with the exception of last month’s Tobago International Sevens Rugby Festival, where it finished runner-up.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, TTRFU president Leslie Figaro described the past year in rugby as “historic, not only administratively, but also on the field.” The TTRFU, having recently fallen under the umbrella of the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT), will, according to Figaro, allow administrators and players access to improved facilities and specialists.
“This single achievement, once managed properly, will ensure that rugby becomes a truly national sport in T&T,” Figaro said.
He continued, “All of this, of course, could not have happened without the rugby union being properly managed and impressing the stakeholders.”
Figaro reminded those present of rugby’s re-introduction as an Olympic Sport (effective 2016), and insisted that through its developmental plan, the TTRFU, along with its stakeholders “are working assiduously to accomplish this feat, and it will mean all hands are on deck as we strive to achieve the required standard to ensure qualification.”
Relaying the TTRFU’s achievements over the past year, Figaro congratulated the Men’s U-19 and Women’s National teams, both of which finished in second spot at the NACRA Sevens Championship, in Canada. The improvement in the U-19 team which went from third to second in three years comes in time as T&T gets set to host the championship in July.
Executive Director at SporTT, Anthony Creed, who delivered the night’s feature address complimented the Union for its submission of the 2011 to 2017 strategic plan, and the two-year (2012-2013) plan which includes an annual operational plan.
He also lauded the Union in its initiative to train 71 coaches in the Level I degree.
Creed said that he expected, by virtue of the play, that T&T will have its first Level III coach or its first coach educator.
He then questioned, “Do you have a business plan? Do you see rugby as a business?”
“With the advocacy for education, business and science in sport, I am encouraged that TTRFU will catapult rugby so that one day T&T citizens will witness out national rubgy team emerging from a World Cup qualifier.”
At the awards function, clubs were handed their prize money for the past three seasons, following the presentation of Toyota’s sponsor’s cheque to the Union.
Harvard collected $10,000 for its triumph in 2012 after edging Caribs, the country’s most successful rugby club for the league title. Harvard won the title by two points over Caribs, dethroning the latter team. The top two teams won nine matches and lost just one. Both teams won and lost a match against each other over the two legs.
Sir Solomon Hochoy Cup (15-a-side)- Harvard
Police Sports Trophy (Sevens)- Men- Harvard
Lou Barrow Memorial Trophy- Harvard
TTRFU Cup- Harvard
Marcus Minshall Cup- Harvard
Wilson Walton Cup- Harvard
Harvard Sevens- Harvard
Bruno Browne Trophy- Caribs
Robert Farfan Trophy- Caribs RFC
Raffie Hosein Cup- Caribs
Police Sports Trophy (Sevens)- Women- Royalians
Women’s Division League- Royalians
National Sevens- Women- Royalians
Under-17 Division League- Rainbow
Players of the year
Wayne Kelly (Harvard), Agboola Silverthorne (Rainbow), Keshorn Walker (Tobago), Jesse Richards (UWI), James Phillips (Royalians)
Outstanding Player of the Year
Alesha Bruce (Royalians), Juliana Straker (Romans), Taliah Wilson (Royalians)
Outstanding Player of the Year
Under-17 Player of the Year
Ross Navarro (Stag Trinidad Northern)
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