Hosts Muscat Rugby Football Club (MRFC) began their campaign in the Gulf Conference with a hard-fought 17-14 win over fancied Doha Rugby Club at the Bausher Club ground on Friday.

It was the first win for MRFC under new captain Alex Maxton. The Muscat scrum and lineout again dominated affairs in the first half and led 3-0 at the break. MRFC’s only score came from the boot of Karl Rasmussen on 35 minute.

The second half began much like the first, with Muscat putting pressure on the opposition’s tryline. The hosts’ efforts paid off when Simon Tylor brushed off three tacklers to dive over the line to get the first score of the year in his debut match.

Muscat then scored when ra long flat pass from scrum-half Pete Maxton released Conor Quaid. The blindside flanker crashed over the line to leave the scoreline at 17-0.

Doha, however, fought back to reduce the margin and at one stage it was 17-13 with only eight minutes left, but Muscat held on to win 17-14.

Muscat next plays at home again to Exodus Wasps, a team desperate for victory after a heavy defeat to Dubai Exiles in its opening bid for the Gulf Conference title.

Speaking after the match, one of the Omani players of MRFC, Yas al Delamie, who was sidelined from the game due to an injury, said, “Friday was a big day for Muscat as Doha is one of the tougher teams in the Gulf and one that we always have a close scoreline against. Unfortunately, I could only watch tonight. If I could have strapped my boots on and gone out there, I would have.”

Delamie added, “Rugby is a fantastic game and although it can be rough, it is a sport where we all walk off the pitch shaking each other’s hand and looking forward to the next encounter.”