Canadian touring club Dog River Howlers of Saskatchewan, Canada upset local favourite Harvard 22–15 to capture the Carib Cup, in a muddy but thrilling finale in the men's division, at the second annual Carib Tobago International 7s tournament, at the Bon Accord Recreation Ground, yesterday.
Howlers finished unbeaten through the round-robin competition into the final against Harvard, which similarly won every match before bowing out by a converted try, even after a strong comeback in the second half. Scottish club Ecosse, meanwhile, landed the champions' trophy, 12 gold medals and US$5,000 after a 39–0 crushing victory over another Canadian outfit- Beavers.
In the men's final, Howlers began with a strong attack in the moist, muddy conditions before ending the half up 22–0.
Jordan Ross opened with a try on the left flank, followed by two Gordon McRory efforts on either side, before a converted James Acker try left T&T's most dominant club in 2012 absolutely stunned.
However, Harvard returned in the second with no indication that it was trailing by such a margin as it rallied back, with two tries from skipper and Guyanese international Claudius Butts, the first and the final try, with Ryan Gonsalves scoring the one in between.
In the end, Howlers' first half dominance proved too much for Larry Mendez's team. Howlers lifted the Carib Cup, while Harvard took the Zoti Cup, after an unfamiliar runner-up finish, in what was otherwise an absolutely outstanding season for the Serpentine Road-based Club.
Howlers coach, Derek Daypuck said he was impressed by local club. "We played a good team. We knew they could win. We held on after scoring the first 20 points and then defended."
Daypuck added that playing on the slippery turf was a serious challenge but his team kept its focus.
Despite the loss, Butts was proud of his team's effort, which was eight points short of securing an eighth title for the campaign.
"The early goals caused our heads to drop as we were put on our back foot and it was difficult after that. We tried in the second half but couldn't."
Harvard advanced to the final after a top placed finish in Group A, for a spot against Howlers which was similarly dominant with all wins to lead Group B, both of which began on Saturday and concluded yesterday.
In the women's title decider, Sandy Belfast was the stand-out performer for the Scots, as she opened the scoring and finished on four tries for an easy win over the Canadians.
Led by skipper Sonia Green, Ecosse held a 12–0 half time advantage, before scoring a further 25 points to take top spot, in what was otherwise a competitive women's division.
The runner up, Beavers won US$2,500, silver medals and the TDC cup. Host Tobago RFC secured the third spot beating Border Reivers of Scotland by 21–5, in the men's third-place playoff.
Tobago captain Keishorn Walker, who was the MVP at the recently staged invitational sevens tournament in Cuba, opened and closed the score for the home team. The Castara resident had a good all-round game helping out in defence frustrating many of Reivers' attacks. Melvin Eastman also got on the score sheet for Tobago.
Howlers ladies got by Atlanta Harlequins 20-10 to take the women's third prize of US$1,500. Harlequins was rewarded with US$1,000.
This year's tournament attracted 16 men's and ten women's teams. Action has ended, but the tourists will taste more of what Tobago has to offer with the Carib Beach Party, at Store Bay, today.