They were down 21 – 7 at half time but Guyana’s new found star Patrick King put his team and country on his shoulders and carried the Land of Many Waters to their 7th North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens Championship when they defeated Mexico 33 – 28 in the finals last evening in Mexico City.
King is one of Guyana’s most explosive 400M and long Jump athlete and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) winger was playing in his first ever NACRA Championships; in fact it was his time representing Guyana in the sport of Rugby in any form of the game.
It was one of the tournament’s most mesmeric and unforgettable finals and also sweet revenge for Guyana who lost to Mexico by one point in the Championship 2012 finals.
He was selected for his outburst of speed and the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) even touted him to be the team’s break out star in Mexico and King certainly didn’t disappoint.
Upon the resumption of the second half, King collected a pass from Ronald Mayers and burst down the Mexicans left wing, breezing by his obviously slower defenders.
Captain Ryan Gonsalves made good of the conversion but then a breakdown in communication in defence saw the home side scoring and pushing the scores to 28 – 14.
Avery Corbin then bullied his way down the middle and scored while again, Gonsalves made sure that his kick counted and allowed Guyana to stay within striking distance of the Mexicans (28 – 21).
Again showing his superiority and speed on the pitch as if he was a seasoned campaigner at the Championships, King outpaced Mexico’s defenders to put Guyana closer to the title and Gonsalves converted yet another kick.
With time ticking away and down 28 – 26, Richard Staglon came up big in defence after the Mexicans were able to slip through Mayers and Corbin at the back.
Staglon’s defensive heroics paid off, thanks to King’s sublime speed and agility along with his ability to evade the tough Mexican defenders; pushing Guyana to their first lead of the game (28 – 31).
Gonsalves kick sealed the game at 33 – 28 in favour of the South Americans who had missed the same tournament last year due to lack of financing.
The Guyanese played undefeated in the tournament and the players were visibly emotional, laying in the centre of the pitch, some in tears reminiscing on their rocky recovery to the top of the NACRA Sevens table.
Guyana now holds both the NACRA 15’s and 7’s championship.
(By Rawle Toney)