Dubai Tigers claim biggest ever victory as they win West Asia Premiership

They celebrate 10th anniversary with triumph over Bahrain 28-19

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Dubai Tigers annexed their “biggest” championship success by overcoming Bahrain 28-19 to clinch the West Asia Premiership at Tigers Park in Al Sufouh on Saturday.

They took a 17-7 lead at half time and maintained their advantage each time their opponents narrowed the gap to add their second piece of silverware to the Dubai Sevens title they won last December.

Moli Schaumkel, Charlie Taylor, Saki Naisau scored a try each, while Matt Gilham touched down, added conversion and fired over two penalties. Bahrain crossed the touchline three times, two of which were converted.

“We are pleased to emerge winners of the West Asia Premiership, finally, after last year's disappointment,” said Peter Kelly, the Tigers’ director of rugby, of the win.

“It's our 10th year anniversary for the Tigers, so we're really pleased to get the victory. It's definitely our biggest win. They have kind of set the standard over the last six or seven years with regards to the level that everyone needs to be at.”

The Tigers and Bahrain went toe-to-tow with a converted try each from either side for a 7-7 score before Dubai added a converted try and a penalty to go into the break with a 10-point lead.

“They obviously got the early points. It was really physical. Both teams really carried on and were pleased just to get on top,” Kelly said.

“Bahrain never left the game. They were always there. We had to make sure we were on form until the end.

“We played against a breeze and a bit of sun on us in the first half and that was behind us after the break. Bahrain really came out strong. You know they showed their quality but we were just happy to have some really strong defence and good counter-attacking and stuff going on for us.”

The 10th anniversary of the club is turning out to be a stellar year for the Tigers with two titles already in the bag and three more semi-finals to follow, the UAE Premiership and the Division 1 and Division 2 titles to play for.

“We got the depth in the club this season,” Kelly said.

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“We've got our UAE Premiership, the Division 1 and 2 semi-finals. Our Division 2 team is our third team, playing in the Division 2 semi-final against the Hurricanes. So, it's a big weekend again.

“Obviously we'll be pleased with how we went about tonight and we're sort of looking forward to next weekend.

“Our 10 year celebration is definitely going to be a most memorable one and we are hoping that we can keep pushing forward.

“We've got three semi-finals this week across all divisions and you know, it'll be great to add more titles to our collections. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves, but it'd be good to keep pushing on.”

Updated: April 14, 2024, 11:41 AM