The St Lucia Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) once again paid tribute to a former member, by staging the annual LUCELEC Michael Mathurin Rugby Challenge over the weekend at the La Clery Playing Field. Several present day players may not know the significance of the tournament, however, the SLRFU make their duty over the years, to keep the name Michael Mathurin in the forefront by staging this tournament.
Vice President of the St Lucia Rugby Football Union, Jerry Charles, had this to say about the former rugby member who passed away a few years ago. “Michael would encourage a lot of people especially when they’re playing for a team to dig deep and you would hear him constantly even if he was on the sidelines. Let’s go team! He would always inspire people to go forward. He worked at LUCELEC and we would get sponsorship from the company because of him. When Mr Michael Mathurin passed away, we decided to have a tournament in his honor. He was one of the pioneers of rugby in St Lucia and we would like his name to go on and on throughout the ages.
For the players who didn’t know him, we try and give them a brief history of players that had an effect of rugby in St Lucia. He was one of these people, who had a very profound respect for the game and effect on the game. In light of that, we decided to carry his name throughout the ages and have this tournament annually. We would like to make it much bigger with the emergence of new clubs and new players to the game.”
The late Michael Mathurin would be proud with the way rugby has developed over the years with more clubs both male and female. That was certainly evident over the weekend with the following clubs taking part in the tournament named in his honor: Rogues Rugby Football Club (male), VBCC Rugby Football Club (male and female), Whiptail Warriors Rugby Football Club (male and female), Body Holiday Rugby Football Club (female) and Reela Rugby Club (male).
On the field of play the Body Holiday Rugby Club defended their title winning the women’s championship. Over the two day competition having won all four games, the champs totaled eight points and scores of 102 with tries and conversions. Winnie Della Rene of the Body Holiday Rugby Club led not only her team in scoring, but the entire tournament on the ladies side with four tries and three conversions for 26 points. Teammate Marline Chery was next with four tries for 20 points.
Loianna Alexander received the first place trophy on behalf the team from the Vice President. Commenting on the competition she said: “Even though we are tired, we really enjoyed ourselves playing in this tournament. We played four games and won them all.” Easy to see why they came out on top. This team is loaded with national players and when it comes to fitness they run you ragged. Whiptail Warriors placed second with four points and scored 47 with the inclusion of tries and conversions. Kameka President was the leading scorer for the team with one try and five conversions for 15 points.
In the male division, Rogues Rugby Football Club emerged champions with a total of eight points. Tries and conversions totaled 130 points scored. Jnmael Phillip of Rogues Rugby Football Club, top scored with 47 points over the two-day tournament with seven tries and six conversions, followed by Ervin Joseph with five tries and three conversions for 31 points. It was a battle for second place between Reela and Whiptail Warriors. Both clubs drew even with five points, however, Reela got the nod for second place for having a better try and conversion score of 48 compared to 29 for Whiptail Warriors. Tyrese Samuels led the way for Reela scoring five tries and three conversions for 31 points.
What’s next for the SLRFU? The Team plans to send two national teams to the Rugby Americas North Tournament taking place in the Cayman Islands. Before that there will be Community Seven’s games and a Beach Rugby competition.