Dubai Hurricanes ended a season of frustration with the consolation of the West Asia Trophy – as well as a summer’s worth of bragging rights over their friends and rivals at Dubai Sports City Eagles.
These two teams are closely intertwined. When Eagles was first set up less than a year ago, they leant heavily on the influence of a core of former Hurricanes players.
For the final 80 minutes of their first season as a competitive outfit, the Eagles players were in direct opposition to some of their closest mates.
At one point, midway through the second half, it looked as though they might get the better of them, too, as they mounted a rousing comeback from being 24-10 down to get to within two points.
However, a length of the field score finished off by Hurricanes wing Tomos Roderick, that had started from an Eagles shot at goal, ended their resistance.
The victors managed five tries in all, with Boris Finck, Andy Powell, Stuart Jordan and Harry Heathcote scoring before Roderick.
“We were in a game, and fair play to Eagles – each of the three times we have played them it has been their FA Cup final,” Mike Wernham, the Hurricanes coach, said.
“It is because a lot of them were here before and have played for the club, and want to get one over their old mates. They want to outdo each other.
“It was about trying to contain the emotion created by that friendship and put it across in the performance.
“Being perfectly honest, I am leaving frustrated again. We wanted to win this game comfortably, and it didn’t happen.”
Eagles held the lead twice early in the piece, initially scoring first via a Niall O’Driscoll try, then when Sean Carey knocked over a penalty to give them a 10-7 advantage.
Having restarted after the interval 24-10 down, they reduced the arrears via tries from Josh Ives, and O’Driscoll’s second, which followed an intricate passing move.
“I am happy where we are at, but know that next season, if we can get a pre-season in, we will be good to go,” Ives said.
“We still got to that 60-minute mark and the shape fell off. It isn’t ingrained, there isn’t that habit there. If we had kept that, I think we would have finished them off.”