Calabar dominate Cedar Grove Academy in U14 Grand Finals
Calabar secured their third consecutive hold on the JRLA U14 National title with a commanding 36- win over The Cedar Grove Academy on Wednesday, March 7.
The boys from Red Hills Road dominated every aspect of the game from start to finish. Finals MVP, Zane Williams, scored a hat-trick of tries. He was well supported by Center Shaquan Brown (2 tries) and Jelani Barrett, Justin Barnett and Devonish Maragh with a try each. For Cedar Grove, Amar Campbell crossed for a consolatory try late in the game.
Calabar High edge Spanish Town High in U16 Grand Finals.
In the U16 Grand Final, Calabar had to work harder to defend their title. Spanish Town took an early 2-0 lead after Deshawn Jordan kicked a penalty on 5 minutes. Calabar responded with a try10 minutes before half time when Kevin Maxwell crashed over. Jevantae Mellard kicked the conversion to secure a 6-2 lead at the break.
Calabar’s Geovaughnie Witter converted a penalty kick 15 minutes from time to push the lead to 8-2. The game was turned on its head with 4 minutes remaining when Tyrique Brooks of Spanish Town out-sprinted Calabar’s defence and scored under the sticks, Jordan then kicked the easy conversion.
Emotions changed when from the ensuing kick-off, when Spanish Town gifted Calabar a penalty when a player in an off-side position handled the ball. An incredulous Calabar team gladly took the 2 points on offer to restore the lead. Strong defence then saw them home in the final 2 minutes.
Spanish Town and BB Coke Secure Third Place Spots.
Spanish Town secured third place in U14s with a 4-0 victory over Old Harbour High. BB Coke High secured the U16 Third Place Playoff with a close 22-18 win over The Cedar Grove Academy.
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.
They were both unbeaten heading into their massive clash on Saturday. Kingston Central Hounds, a braying group of young league players, who upstaged both Liguanea and Caribbean Maritime University in Rounds 1 and 2, eager to take the biggest giant of all, Duhaney Park Red Sharks.
The Red Sharks having only lost 2 from 51 games in three years across all competitions, came armed with a few veterans such as the likes of Khamisi “Hammer” Mckain and Jason “Slugo” Gooden. The old wizard, Roy Calvert, played his favourite positon, Scrum Half. At 34, he doubled the age of his rival halves, Anthony Findlay and Kahlil Green.
For a moment, youth looked threatening as the Red Sharks held a slim 8-6 lead at the half. However, the calm generalship of Calvert with his constant talk and patient play, juxtaposed the erratic and silent leadership of the two Hounds halves. They faded badly as the game progressed. Kicks on tackle 2 came not just from the wayward boots of Findlay, even veteran prop, Antonio “The Destroyer” Baker joined the madness with a tackle 2 poof. Adding insult to injury, Kahil Green limped off with an injured ankle after bombing a sure 4 on 1 and backing himself.
In the end, the sweet taste of victory went to the composed Red Sharks 21-6, while the Hounds were left with bewildered young charges who must fast recover to face the might of Liguanea Dragon in Round 4.
Blazing Liguanea Dragons Too Hot The Shields Of Sparta
The Caribbean Maritime University player cohort seemed uneasily and unusually scant as the clocked ticked towards their clash with the hurting Dragons. Word is that several players are out with injuries and their number one prop away at a Union fixture.
Led by crafty hooker, Adrian Hall, the Dragons (still smarting from their unexpected loss to the Hounds last week) were relentless in attack, . Time after time the Spartans defence disintegrated in mid field and Hall was the main instigator and beneficiary. He amassed a 20 points haul for himself with 3 tries and 4 kicks. His teammates backed him up all day, the likes of Demetrius “Fireman” Campbell and Mathew “Zeus” Whitmore were Juggernauts on attack.
The Spartans are still learning the game but needs greater leadership from Rohan Dwyer, the former Campion College Center has been around long enough and needs to aide player/coach Stephan Williams move the team around the park. Many of the players are still learning the game and though the team comes up with brilliant performances at times, it is obvious they are another young outfit needing their rough diamonds shaved by the fire of time. Keep an eye out for CMU’s Marlon Nunes, he is new to the game and raw but is a physical specimen with plenty of brimstone and fire.
Duhaney Park RedSharks barely survived a rampaging Caribbean Martime University Spartans side (22-18) and Kingston Central Hounds were even luckier against Liguanea Dragons (20-18).
“The Fun Bit”
Stand out players on the day were Delano “New Kid” Jarrett (Spartans), Demetrius “Fireman” Campbell (Dragons), Oshane “Stepping god” Eddie (Hounds) and Stefan “Big Shark” Lounds (Redsharks). All got on the score board several times in their respective runs.
We hear word too that Antonio “The Destroyer” Baker was up to his usual worst, knocking over defenders left right and center. Sure glad I wasn’t playing.
The Serious Bit
We’ve solicited comments from members of the 4 teams for this week’s games and this is what they have to say:
Roy Calvert -RedSharks Assistant Coach: ” Our match against Dragons will be a good indication of where we are after the Christmas break. We are really looking forward to it.
Adrian Hall, Secretary of the Dragons and Player: ” We expect a hard running game. There is an intense rivalry with these guys stemming from last season when we went undefeated until meeting them in the finals. It should be a fun game though and entertaining for the fans. We will hit the ground running and put the Sharks under pressure early on. We hope to dominate and be victorious”
Stephan “Gibbs” Williams, Founder, Coach and Player at CMU Spartans: ” We hope to push Hounds to the edge. We expect a tough game as both teams want the win. Its going to be another spectacular game.”
Anthony Findlay, who like many in the Hounds team is still in High School said: “There’s not much going in our favour right now and we will have to work extra hard to secure a win, but we will do our best”.
Maritime’s close game with Duhaney Park was really an eye-opener. To think the most dominant team in Club rugby league was pushed so close by Maritime, who are still new to the game..wow..it was refreshing. We hear word that RedSharks was only saved… by the mercenary services of the Stepping God and the Destroyer….we will say no more.