The Jamaica Rugby League Association launched the 2020 men’s season with the second annual installment of the New Year Nines. Eight community and intercollegiate teams took part in the tournament on January 11 at the Duhaney Park Mini Stadium to open the New Year Calendar.
Duhaney Park Red Sharks were crowned champions after defeating Caribbean Maritime University Spartans in sudden death kick off. Both teams were locked in a 14 all tie at the end of regular time. Neither could find the winner in sudden death extra time and so it took drop kicks to separate them. Marvin Thompson sealed it for the Red Sharks in sudden death kicks after Kareem Harris went agonizingly close for the Spartans.
Washington Bulls won the Trophy category (3rd place) after Akel Johnson’s last gasp try on full time to defeat Duhaney Park Firestorm 14-12. Cedar Grove Cyclones tagged UWI Pelicans 24-14 for the Bowl (5th place) and St. Bess Sledge Hammers grabbed the Plate (7th place) over Liguanea Dragons with a 20-12 victory.
JRLA Director of Rugby Romeo Monteith says the Nines is now a permanent part of the rugby league calendar and is one of three open men’s tournament that will form a Nines Circuit to identify Jamaica’s best players in the short version of the sport:
“Nines (9s) is quick and fast. Games are only 9 minutes per half with nine players per team. By launching this 3 tournament circuit, we can easily identify our best players for the 2021 America’s 9’s Championship and hopefully qualify for the Nines World Cup in 2022. The other two installments will be the Easter Nines April 4th and we conclude with the Summer Nines on May 30th. ”