St. Bess Sledgehammers won their first U19 National Club Championship (NCC) title with a hard fought 22-06 win over St. Catherine Old Boys Thundercats on Saturday at the UWI Mona Bowl.
It was Thundercats who started more brightly and pinned the champs in their half for the first ten minutes. Despite the pressure, it was Sledgehammers who broke the deadlock with tries from back row Sirrano Smith and speedster Racheed Pencle, one of which was converted by captain Domique Myers. Thundercats continued to press and were rewarded just before half time with a converted try from Shamar Smith leaving the score at 10-6 in favour of Sledgehammers.
In the second half the Sledgehammers took control with two long distance tries, the first by Pencle who raced in from 40m and the second by center Jaylan Lewis who broke from the half-line. Myers slotted home two additional goals to seal the 22-6.
Winning Head Coach Kamar Findlay said, “We are excited and happy for the win, especially for BB Coke High which supports the team and from whom our player’s hail. It was a tough game against the Thundercats who had several national youth players in their ranks.
We came prepared to counter their forwards in the middle, therefore, we spent the week working on our defensive line and this paid dividend as we held them to one score. It’s a joy to bring another title to Junction and to wider St Elizabeth. As the only rugby league team in the parish, there is always excitement when we do well. This speaks volume for the talent in the area and we hope to see more young men and women take up rugby league and express themselves and achieve great things.”
Thundercats Head Coach That-Jay Lynch said, "I'm proud of the Thundercats for making it this far in their first showcasing. We lost because of a lack structure and understanding of Rugby league. We shifted away from the game plan which was to play basics rugby league. Sledgehammers had a stellar performance fixed with discipline, confidence and structure. We hope as we improve in knowledge to in this code of rugby that our performances will be even better."
St Bess Sledgehammers (32)
Tries: Racheed Pencle (2), Sirrano Smith and Jaylan Lewis; Goals: Domique Myers (3)
St Catherine Old Boys Thundercats (06)
Tries: Shamar Smith; Goals: Shevaughn Smith
In the third-place playoff, Liguanea Dragons defeated Portmore Rugby League Club 12-4. In the 5th place ranking game, Western Hyenas were 18-8 winners over Washington Blvd. Bulls.