Defending champions Duhaney Park Red Sharks and Washington Blvd Bulls both have progressed to the Rugby League Jamaica (RLJ) National Club Championship (NCC) Grand Finals after wins over West Kingston Hyenas and Jamaica Defence Force Warriors in the semi-finals played last Saturday at the UWI Mona Bowl.
The Finals will be played at the UWI Mona Bowl on Saturday, September 17, at 4pm.
It will be the Bulls first Grand Finals appearance since they joined the top league in 2017, their previous best finish being third place in 2019. The Grand Finals is a familiar place for Duhaney Park, it will be their 6th consecutive Grand finals and 14th overall in 16 seasons. An interesting fact is that Bulls was formed in 2013 as a Division 2 club to act as a feeder for the Red Sharks, however in 2017, Bulls joined forces with Central Kingston Hounds to move to the top division and have enjoyed a healthy rivalry with the Red Sharks since.
In the first semi-finals, Bulls battled their way to a 24-18 win over JDF Warriors. The first half was a tight affair, JDF drew first blood through a converted try from back row Romeo Wright. Bulls were quick to respond with tries from Oshane Eddie, Delano Smith and Akel Johnson; Lawrence Drummond kicked a goal to push them to a 14-6 lead at half time. Bulls pulled away in the second half with tries from Hakeem Richards, Lawrence Drummond, Shaneal Brown, and Johnson notched his second. Drummond added two goals. JDF got added two additional tries through Shamar Creary and Courtney Dennis.
Bulls Head Coach Derone Davis said, “Our first half was poor, but we got it together in the second 40. Our forwards are usually our strength, and they gave us momentum, but our back line really stood up, especially defensively. Overall, I am proud of the team. For the finals we hope we can out together a more complete performance as we will have to be at our best to challenge the Champions.”
In the second semis, Duhaney Park posted a convincing 56-4 win over the Hyenas. Adrian Brown (2 tries, 2 goals) and Javion Bryan (1try, 4 goals) led the winners with 12 points each. Miguel Facey and Jenson Morris each scored a double and Akeem Murray and Andrew Simpson had one try apiece.
Winning coach Roy Calvert said “The semis was about getting our combinations right as we are still looking for the perfect game. The finals will be exciting, we are going for victory and are confident of achieving such but know we need to play a certain way to win. Bulls are a good team and have been a massive motivation to continue pushing.
In the 3rd place game, West Kingston Hyenas will face JDF Warriors at 2pm and before that at 1pm, the NCC U19 Finals will feature Bulls up against Portmore. There will also be a women's game between Reds and Blues at 1:30pm.
The Finals will be live streamed by StrideVision TV YouTube channel here