Knights Rugby Football Club coach Ben Bourne (L) speaks to English rugby legend Rory Underwood during an earlier training session. The Knights held their annual appreciation dinner on Tuesday where they honoured and bid farewell to Bourne. BT file
The Knights Rugby Football Club held their annual appreciation dinner and prize presentation to celebrate a successful Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) premiership season on Tuesday.
Their women's team also celebrated winning top honours in the rugby tournament hosted by the Wildfoxes, with the occasion doubling as a farewell to national coach Ben Bourne. Bourne, who formed the Knights in 2006, had dominant seasons in 2010 and this year, winning both the Dr Hj Kamaruddin Cup and Darussalam Cup.
A flawless 2014 season saw them rise to every occasion. They trampled over defending champions Miri Rhinos 46-29 in their opening league game before edging defending Darussalam Cup champions Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Sharks 30-22. The Knights then went on to thrash the Bandar Blacks 51-10, followed by a 35-12 slaying of the Belait Pythons.
Their pole position landed them in the semis against the Miri Rhinos. The Knights won with a 28-20 scoreline. The Knights played the UBD Sharks in the final, and wrestled the cup from their hands via a last minute penalty by Lim Shen Quan to win 17-15. Lim's dedication and impressive play rightfully earned him the title as best player of the tournament.
His club life has seen him play for the Bandar Blacks (2006-2009), UBD Sharks (2010-2012) and he has had ties with the Belait Pythons and Miri Rugby for the Labuan 10s and Baram Trophy. "Big thanks to coach Bourne and Kim Geddes... the parents of Brunei rugby who have successfully introduced the sport to both men and women, changing most of our lives and careers in so many ways," Lim told The Brunei Times.
"Thanks to Knights president Hj Abu Bakar Abdullah who helped look for sponsors and was there for us in every game no matter where we go, as well as Abdul Azim Hj Abu Bakar and Muhammad Hijan Hj Amran on pulling us together for training and matches. "Also thanks to Coach Lim Chee Wee, who stood by us in the gym and provided physiotherapy throughout the years.
"Lastly the young bloods that have bolstered our team. The Knights' girls team who completed the family and the supporters who have been there for us during every competition," added Lim, who has been with the Knights since 2012. Lim shared that he will extend his stay with the Knights as he felt that the team are determined and passionate rugby players that work as a family on and off the field.
Syaihan Hj Abu Bakar admitted that it's sad to see Bourne leave as he taught most of the Knights players who had zero knowledge on the game. "Bourne was a great coach and mentor to all of us in the club he basically taught most of us from the beginning and we would like to wish him all the best," said Syaihan. "Alhamdulilah it has been a great year for the Knights men's and women's team so far.
"InsyaAllah we will try our best to maintain our performance from this year and try carry it into the next," added Syaihan.