The tournament attracted some high calibre teams; Gibraltar, Malta, Switzerland, Cayman Islands, UAE, Rep. of Ireland, Israel and hosts Isle of Man. Such was the size of the competition, the teams were divided into two pools for the group stages before filtering off for the playoffs. The Rams found themselves in a group with Gibrlatar, Switzerland and Cayman Islands coming up against Gibraltar first. Despite a large and vocal home crowd, they couldn’t secure the win and missed out on victory by just three goals with the game finishing IOM 36 – Gibraltar 39.
Friday was set to be a tough day, with two games scheduled in the group matches and they knew that they had to win both if they were to be in with a chance of making it to the final. The first game of the day was against Cayman Islands who were a fast and physical side. There was a lot of end to end action, with numerous turnovers in the centre court. The final score finished IOM 59 – Cayman Islands 26.
Switzerland was the second game of the day, a young team who made up with fitness what they lacked of experience. The Rams were keen to showcase their talent in front of a capacity crowd and made their intentions clear from the first whistle. The game finished IOM 68 – Switzerland 25.
Two wins and a loss in the group stages meant that they finished second in Group A, resulting in a match against first place of Group B. Republic of Ireland. The last time they had met in January, the game resulted in a draw, so the Rams knew they would have to pull out all the stops if they were to progress to the final. The first quarter was pretty evenly matched, with only 1 goal separating the two sides. It was a similar story as the first half ended. However, the third and fourth quarters saw the Republic of Ireland slowly edge away and the final score was IOM 32 – Republic of Ireland 43.
This result meant that Sunday’s game would be to play for 3rd place against old rivals Gibraltar. the Rams found the form that had escaped them for the previous matches. After a tense four quarters, the Rams finished worthy winners; IOM 53 – Gibraltar 31 which was enough to secure third place overall in the tournament.
The Manx Rams will now have a brief break from training, before resuming some sessions through July and August in preparation for the next big competition which is the World Cup Qualifiers in Glasgow in October.