There will be high drama on Wednesday, March 7, when the Grand Finals of the JRLA U14 and U16 High School competitions take place at The Cedar Grove Academy.
Ominous Calabar, Cedar Grove looking to upset.
In U14s, defending Calabar High faces the might of home team The Cedar Grove Academy at 2:30pm. In the semi-finals played last week Tuesday, Calabar defeated Old Harbour High 28-4. It was a game of two halves, Calabar struggled to penetrate the rugged defence of their opponents in the first half, they dominated possession but regularly came up with handling errors or poor decisions when it mattered most. Old Harbour struggled too, most of their runs were lateral and quite ineffective.
The game changed in the second half when Jelani Barrett was introduced for the boys in Green and Black. The 12 year old first former at Calabar standing at 6’2 , immediately sliced through Old Harbour’s defence for a 40m run. Thereafter, slick passing and strong finishes saw the defending champions dominate proceedings. Old Harbour scored a consolation try in the dying moments as Calabar rang in the changes off the bench.
Contrastingly; The Cedar Grove Academy defeated Spanish Town High 4-3 on kicks after a thrilling 12 all deadlock in regular and extra time. It was a ding dong battle throughout with both teams trading scores. Cedar Grove speedster Kaden Hunter especially impressive with 2 tries and multiple defensive stops.
The teams remained locked after 10 minutes extra time. Then, Spanish Town, defeated finalists over the past two seasons then missed their first 2 kicks in the kick-off. Cedar Grove missed their first, but then buried the remaining 4, leaving their adoring fans to erupt in celebrations.
U16s: The Battle Of Rivals.
In the U16 Grand Final, Calabar faces Spanish Town in what is a repeat of last year’s contestants. In the semi-finals played last week Tuedsay, Calabar put in a brave performance to hold off BB Coke High 8-0. The Calabar camp appeared in disarray in the week leading to the game after losing scrum-half Geovanni Witter (hamstring) and points machine fullback Makhaya Anderson (wrist) to season ending injuries.
The champions found a way past a very big and physical BB Coke outfit who threw the pot, the kitchen sink and utensils into the game. However, they were undone by too many lateral runs, and a lack of imagine when on good ball. Though much smaller than their opponents, Calabar made better meters with direct running and a quick ruck.
In the second semis, Spanish Town needed overtime to squeeze past The Cedar Grove Academy 22-16 in a memorable affair. Spanish was in charge of the game for most periods. Their experience showed early on with slick passing and well executed sets.
Spanish Town were comfortably ahead 16-4 when Cedar Grove scored a try and converted with one minute on the clock. From the kick off, captain Maurice Morant caught the ball on his own 3om line and made an audacious 70m run to score. He then calmly slotted home the conversion from the side line to tie the game. Bad light forced a postpotment to the proceedings, and the game was completed the following day. Spanish Town prevailing courtesy of a try in the first 10minutes of extra time.
Old Harbour will face Spanish Town at 12:30pm for Third-Place in the U14 category while BB Coke will challenge The Cedar Grove Academy at 1:30 in the U16 play-off.