Eric Groves-Hyenas (File Photo)
Rugby League Jamaica’s 17th National Club Championship (NCC) kicked off on Saturday May 06, with six of seven teams in the competition taking the field. The teams vying for supremacy in this year’s edition are Duhaney Park Red Sharks, Liguanea Dragons, Washington Blvd. Bulls, The Jamaica Defence Force Warriors, West Kingston Hyenas, Portmore Rugby League, and St Catherine Old Boys Thundercats.
During the season, teams will clash twice in round robin play as they vie for the League Leaders Shield. Thereafter, they head to the playoffs beginning September 9t, with The Grand Finals scheduled for September 30 at the Mona Bowl.
Red Sharks 92 def. Thundercats 6
In the opening match played at Up Park Camp, defending champions Duhaney Park dominated the Thundercats in a clinical display of attacking prowess. The winners were led by fullback Javian Bryan who hauled 32 points from 14 goals and a try. Other scorers for the winners were Jenson Morris and Adrian Thomas with 3 tries each, Kevin Thomas with 4 tries, while Daniel Barnett and Adrian Andrews each scored a try. For the Thundercats, Kevoi Thompson scored a try and Raheim Sweeney kicked one goal.
Bulls 32 def. JDF 14
In 4pm match at Up Park Camp, the runners-up from last year raced to an 20-0 lead in the first half before the Army men managed 14 points in the second 40. Orlando Messado led the winners with a hattrick of tries while Ronaldeni Fraser and Dylan Davis each scored two. Lawrence Drummond added 2 goals for the winners. JDF’s points came from Roland Grey, Shemar Creary and Nicolai Kennedy, each with a try, Grey added a goal.
Hyenas 40 def. Dragons 30
In the lone game at Mona Bowl, the Dragons carved out a 18-16 lead at the half, only to see the Hyenas fight back and take narrow 10-point win. The winners were led by scrumhalf Andrew Hylton who bagged 18 points from 2 tries and 5 goals. He was supported by Kamarine Willliams (3 tries), Omar Jones (1 try) and Clive Henry (1 try) and Eric Groves (1 goal). Adrian Hall top scored for the Dragons with 22 points from 3 tries and 5 goals, whilst Michael Pearson and Joseph Mitchell scored a try each.
RLJ Vice Chairman Adrian Hall believes the competition will see a boost in intensity as players battle for various national selection opportunities, “With this year being a World Cup qualifying year, there’s plenty motivation for players to perform at their peak. We expect to see standards improve week on week and some intense rivalries throughout. Last year both the Red Sharks and Bulls separated themselves from the pack early on, it will be interesting to see if they remain the dominant two, or if other clubs can break their hold on the top two spots.”
The competition continues May 13 with two matches at The UWI Mona Bowl. In the 2pm clash, Hyenas face Portmore and at 4pm the Dragons will clash with the Bulls. Meanwhile, Thundercats will host JDF at Ensom City Football Field in Spanish Town.