Muscat Rugby Club finish runners up at Gulf Conference

Sports Tuesday 02/April/2019 11:28 AM
By: Times News Service
Muscat Rugby Club finish runners up at Gulf Conference

Muscat: A close defeat to a much-improved Doha 2 side brought a close to this year’s Gulf Conference championship last weekend in Doha. Despite the defeat it was a great spectacle and was described by one spectator as being a ‘typical Gulf Conference battle’.

Doha started lively but it was Muscat who should have been awarded the first try of the match when Spencer Sutton intercepted a stray pass on the half way line, he duly bypassed the veteran Doha number 15 Tim Newnham and crossed the whitewash. To the amazement of the entire rugby football centre the referee claimed the ball wasn’t grounded.

This was the catalyst for Doha to open up and they were quickly 17-0 up. Step one of mission impossible was on course. If Doha were to leapfrog Muscat into second place then they needed the bonus point win and a 20+margin point’s difference.

Muscat however knew that a losing bonus point would suffice but were confident at half time that they were still in the race, Dan Worth who had a superb game as a number nine ran in for the first Muscat try soon after the 2nd half kicked off. Doha rarely troubled the Muscat try line bar on a number of occasions in the second half. Muscat’s pressure paid off when Zack Harper scored Muscat’s 2nd try with one of his trademark carries down the touchline.

With the score at 17-10 and injuries mounting up Muscat just didn’t have anything left in the tank to close out the game. A bittersweet defeat for Muscat, as Doha presented Muscat with a runners up trophy: little consolation for Muscat who again had performed far better in the second half compared to their first half performance, definitely something to look at for next season. The season ends with Bahrain as champions, Muscat second and Doha and Saudi bringing up the rear.

Next year’s league structure will hopefully see the return of Kuwait after they took a year off to regroup.

Muscat’s Head coach Luke O’Mahony stated “It’s been a very, very long but enjoyable season, there is just not enough game time. We started way back in July with a tough preseason and recruitment process but once Kuwait pulled out we were automatically down two games, we searched high and low for friendlies and luckily got four this year.

“It is imperative that if rugby is to succeed here in Oman that the Gulf Conference continues,” he added. We have had just under 50 players don a Muscat jersey this year with approximately 15-20 newcomers over the season. The plan was to be a senior team, not a social rugby team, and I genuinely think the foundations of that have begun, but we can only continue to look at Bahrain and Doha and try and get to their level on a consistent basis. I firmly believe that we have set higher standards this year and have gained a lot of respect from the teams we have played. But we can only develop further if there is enough game time for all our players to feature during the season”

Muscat rugby takes a break until the 26th of April 2019 when they come together to celebrate the 2018/19 season at their annual ball in the Grand Hyatt. Tickets are available, so please see Muscat Rugby Football Club’s Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.