By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE most dominant team in the Bahamas Rugby Football Union in recent years, Cuckoos Rugby Club claimed their third consecutive Heineken Bahamas Cup title.
Cuckoos emerged with a 20-13 victory over Baillou in the season finale at the Winton Rugby Centre on Saturday.
Jamal Curry was named the Man of the Match.
Baillou struck first on a pair of penalty kicks from Kevin Salabie and took an early 6-0 advantage. Cuckoos took a 7-6 lead late in the first half on a try and subsequent extra point from Brian Baker.
Cuckoos added a run of 17 unanswered points and tacked on tries from Curry and Burton Oliver for a 17-6 lead. Baillou added a try from Duran Beadle to trim the deficit to four points (17-13) and Cuckoos capped the afternoon with another kick from Baker for the game's final margin.
Baillou defeated Freeport RC 38-34 in the playoffs to advance to the title game.
In the first playoff round, they scored in the game's waning moments to defeat Buccaneers RC 29-25.
Cuckoos delivered a dominant performance in last year's Heineken Cup finale with a 35-12 win over the Buccaneers to close out the season. It was a role reversal from the 2016 playoffs when Cuckoos overcame an up-and-down season and ended the year with a pair of last-second wins to claim the coveted cup with a 13-10 win over the Bucs.
Since 2012, Heineken and the BRFU partnered to rename the Annual Bahamas Rugby Cup as the Heineken Bahamas Rugby Cup, and the brewing company now also provides branding, marketing, and advertising support. Cuckoos also captured the first two editions of the renamed event in 2012 and 2013, while Baillou took the cup in 2014. In 2015, the Buccaneers defeated Freeport 18-7 to claim the cup.
The Heineken Bahamas Rugby Cup ran for several weeks of competition with three teams from New Providence (Baillou, Cuckoos and Buccaneers) and one from Freeport (Freeport Rugby Club).