Duhaney Park Red Sharks won their 7th consecutive National Club Championship men’s (NCC) Grand Finals, and 9th overall, with a hard fought 32-20 win over Washington Blvd. Bulls on Sunday at the UWI Mona Bowl. It was another historic moment for the most dominant club in the Americas, but also historic for the fact that a Jamaica Grand Finals was refereed for the first time by a female match official, Tarja Richards.
The champs had an early scare when play maker Chevaughn Bailey departed the game after only two minutes with an injury, however, they still managed to go into the half time break with a narrow 10-4 lead after tries from Ryan Grant and Joseph Shae, Grant with the conversion. Bulls first half points came from a try form winger Javon Lewis.
Bulls Talisman Reinhardo Richards
The Red Sharks surged further ahead 20-4 early in the second half with tries from Shaqueil Pollack and Adrian Thomas, Grant kicking one of the two conversion attempts. The Bulls then narrowed the gap to 20-14 with tries from Orlando Messado and Reinhardo Richards, Mohenjo Thompson kicking one of the conversions.
With fifteen minutes remaining the Champs made it a two-score game when hooker Akeem Murray burrowed over from close range, Grant again converting. However, the Bulls again found a response, this time through Shamoy Stewart, Thompson again converting to leave the game in balance at 26-20.
Red Sharks Full Back Javian Bryan
With five minutes remaining and the Bulls pushing for the equalizing score, a drop ball Kahil Green in their own half gifted the Red Sharks possession. Prop Owen Linton then went on a thundering charge up the middle and scored under the sticks, Grant again slotted home the conversion to seal the 32-20 victory for the champs.
Winning Head Coach Roy Calvert commented:
“Hats off to the Bulls, they were determined. The conditions were not perfect and both teams had a hard time holding on to the ball. I’m proud of my team though, we have ended the season unbeaten, so it’s another historic moment for us. I was really pleased to see the growth of some of our young players and to end with a win in the Grand Finals is the perfect ending to the season.”
Oshane Edie coach of the Bulls said:
“It was a good final. We lost momentum in the first half, got back in it the second but we failed to capitalize on our opportunities. I’m proud of the boys, it was a very intense game and congrats to the Red Sharks on their victory.”
Duhaney Park Red Sharks Scorers
Tries: Ryan Grant, Joseph Shae, Owen Linton, Akeem Murray, Shaqueil Pollack, Adrian Thomas; Goals: Ryan Grant (4)
Washington Blvd Bulls Scorers
Tries: Javon Lewis, Reinhardo Richards, Shamoy Stewart, Orlando Messado,
Goals: Mohenjo Thompson (2)
Referee: Tarja Richards. TJs: Kemoy Whyte and Nicholai Christy
In the third-place playoff, Western Hyenas ran out 32-12 winners over Liguanea Dragons.