CEDAR GROVE ACADEMY WIN NATIONAL U19s 9S TOURNAMENT
Competitive rugby league is back. After two years without a tackle being executed or a ball being passed in a match, Rugby League Jamaica relaunched its competitive calendar with the staging of the National U19s 9-a-side tournament for high schools on April 12 at BB Coke High in St Elizabeth.
Resumption marks an important turning point as athletes and officials look to return the sport to its pinnacle, having qualified the men’s national team, the Reggae Warriors, to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, to be played in October 2022 due to postponement cause by Covid-19.
After a series of round robin matches, they defeated Calabar High 8-4 in the Grand Final, Kaden Hunter voted MVP. The hosts finished third, ahead of Campion College and St. Georges College
(L-R) The Cedar Grove Academy , Calabar High, St. Georges College , Campion College, BB Coke High
Cedar Grove head coach, Antonio Baker, said: “We were elated to win our first U19 title, and it was made even more special because it is the school's first-ever sporting trophy. We were the smallest team on the day but the determination and tenacity of man of the tournament, Kaden Hunter, helped his team to soar to excellence.
“Going into the tournament I was a bit worried because we only had two training sessions prior to leaving but the boys really put their bodies on the line. The entire school celebrated with us as the trophy was presented to the principal at our Lenten service. The rugby league culture is thriving in our school as both genders from all grade levels are clamouring to join the sport.”
Rivals on the field, friends off the field. Campions and St. Georges College
RLJ director, Romeo Monteith, noted: “It’s massive to see our juniors get the chance to play rugby league again in 2022. These kids have missed out on so much, including lost scholarship opportunities to our universities and colleges. Everyone made a huge effort, including coaches, managers, players, and principals to get the teams back on the field. It was exciting to see our match officials back in action too after the long layoff, we hope to slowly get all our rugby league community back to playing.”
The next tournament is scheduled for Friday 29 April, for U16s at Campion College.
Pictured - Kaden Hunter (MVP) and Jerome Newby, both from the Cedar Grove Academy
Full Results from the tournament:
Campion College 8 BB Coke High 4, Cedar Grove Academy 8 Calabar High 0
Campion College 8 St Georges College 4, Cedar Grove Academy 8 BB Coke High 4
Calabar High 12 St Georges College 8, Calabar High 4 Campion College 0
Cedar Grove Academy 12 St Georges College 8
Calabar 16 BB Coke High 4, Cedar Grove Academy 12 Campion 8
BB Coke High 8 St Georges College 4
Third Place: BB Coke High 12 Campion College 4
Finals: Cedar Grove Academy 8 Calabar High 4