We welcome back our resident wordsmith, Huw Harrow as he brings us a combo sized rugby roundup of action from Week 1 & 2.
Jump right in…
Team of the Week – Powerhouse Barrelhouse
With news of clubs being forced to leave the circuit a common theme in recent seasons, the arrival of Barrelhouse on the scene is a reason to be cheerful. This weekend marked the club’s competitive UAE XVs debut, and they announced themselves in some style with a 56-10 win over Dubai Tigers 2s. A performance built around old-fashioned forward dominance overwhelmed their visitors at Jebel Ali, in what was also a landmark fixture for the Tigers as their first competitive outing for their second string. Nonetheless a result that will make the established order in the Community league sit up and take notice.
Bahrain have been the big winners over the first two weeks of Premiership action and are the only side to maintain an unbeaten record after opening the season with an impressive away victory over Abu Dhabi Harlequins and seeing off the DSC Eagles this weekend. The Eagles look set to face a challenging second season in the top flight having been edged out 13-20 on home soil by Dubai Hurricanes in their season opener, a match that on paper they would have targeted for a victory. In the clash of last season’s West Asia and UAE Champions, Jebel Ali Dragons were winners over Dubai Exiles, only for the Dragons to be in turned down on home turf against a resurgent Harlequins by a surprising scoreline of 22-46. Early indications suggest this promises to be an intriguing season.
The UAE Conference starts off split into two groups this year (read our season preview for more) and early standings offer a very different picture in each group. Group A, featuring Premiership 2s outfits has both Hurricanes and Dragons two from two, with Harlequins, Eagles and Exiles yet to record a competitive win. Meanwhile in Group B there is nothing to choose between the Dubai Tigers, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Dubai Sharks and Al Ain Amblers with all having registered one win apiece. Holders Tigers began their defence with a hard fought 27-17 win over Saracens.
The UAE Community league also got underway this weekend and aside from Barrelhouse’s eye catching result, there were also big wins for Amblers 2s and Dragons 3s over Sharks 2s and Shaheen respectively. It is good to see the Shaheen back in action and despite a heavy opening defeat against last season’s beaten finalists, they will hope for better fortune in weeks to come. The tie of the round was played out at Zayed Sports City with reigning champions Harlequins 3s pushed all the way by RAK in recording a 31-26 win.
Article by: Huw Harrow