USA Rugby League team edges out Jamaica's Reggae Warriors in hard-fought battle at Mona

By Sports Desk December 04, 2023

In a thrilling men's senior international rugby league clash at the Mona Bowl, University of West Indies in Kingston, the USA Rugby League team managed to hold on for a hard-fought victory against Jamaica's Reggae Warriors, securing a 30-26 win.

Despite challenging conditions with the temperature soaring to 85 degrees, the Reggae Warriors took an early lead of 10-0, showcasing resilience despite having less possession. However, the USA Hawks responded strongly, turning the tide to lead 14-10 by halftime. Kyle Granby, the Brooklyn Kings centre, played a pivotal role, scoring two of his three tries in the lead-up to halftime.

Granby's exceptional performance continued after the restart as he completed a genuine five-minute hat trick. Veteran loose forward Joe Eichhner crossed the try line on the hour mark, contributing to the Hawks' lead. Granby, who also kicked two goals, showcased his versatility and skill throughout the match.

USA's skipper, Peter Lupton, reflected on the challenging contest, stating, "It was back and forth, and we had to deal with some big players. It was tough from start to finish." He acknowledged the efforts of both teams, emphasizing the significance of the game for the growth of rugby league.

Despite two late tries from Jamaica's Tahj-Jay Lynch and Kenneth Walker, the Reggae Warriors fell just short of a comeback, concluding the match with a 30-26 scoreline. The USA team, having only one training session before the game, demonstrated resilience and adaptability.

Jamaica faced setbacks with injuries, losing Andrew Simpson in the first half and Kevin Thomas in the second, limiting their bench options. Head coach Roy Calvert expressed gratitude to the USA Hawks for their visit, acknowledging the support from the local fans. Calvert said, "It was a fantastic occasion despite the narrow loss. We're 1-1 now for games between the nations played here in Jamaica and are looking forward to the next one."

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  • Alvarez injury sours Mexico's 1-0 win over Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in Copa America opener Alvarez injury sours Mexico's 1-0 win over Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in Copa America opener

    Mexico kickstarted their Copa America campaign with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica at the NRG Stadium, but were left sweating on the fitness of captain Edson Alvarez. 

    The West Ham midfielder, who made his 80th appearance for his nation in Texas, was forced off after 30 minutes and was seen visibly upset as he left the pitch. 

    Alvarez's club team-mate Michail Antonio thought he had scored Jamaica's first-ever Copa America goal five minutes into the second half, only to see his header ruled out by VAR. 

    However, Mexico recovered from that earlier scare, forcing a string of saves from Jahmali Waite before Gerardo Arteaga finally broke the deadlock with a fine finish. 

    The result moved El Tricolor level on three points with Venezuela, who beat Ecuador 2-1 in the other Group B clash earlier in the day, but attention quickly turned to the fitness of their captain at full-time. 

    “We’re going to wait a couple of days to do some testing on him and to know well what he’s got going on,” head coach Jaime Lozano said after the match.

    “He’s extremely important. He’s a leader, he understands the game well. He’s important on the pitch and in the locker room as well.

    “You listen to him talk, he has a way with words and when he speaks you listen. This was a tough blow for all of us.”

    Defender Cesar Montes told reporters: "It was extremely important to start on the right foot, always focussed, together, and (now) the only bad news is that our team-mate suffered an injury that we hope is not serious and can return with us.

    "(But) these situations are not simple, the doctor will have to evaluate to see if he can continue with us (for the rest of the tournament). For the group he is the leader, a very important piece and it will be good to know his diagnosis in view of what is coming."

    Jamaica play Ecuador in Las Vegas on Wednesday, while Mexico face Venezuela in California next Thursday. 
     

  • Hope emphasizes “stay ready” mentality after masterclass 82* against USA Hope emphasizes “stay ready” mentality after masterclass 82* against USA

    For a long time, West Indies ODI skipper Shai Hope was looked at as a batsman who would struggle in the shortest form of the game because of what many described as an inability to score quickly.

    Over the last couple years, however, Hope has rubbished those sentiments thanks to some destructive batting performances in the CPL as well as in leagues around the world.

    His evolution as a T20 batsman was none more evident than during the West Indies’ game against the USA at the ICC T20 World Cup on Friday in his home country of Barbados.

    Looking to bounce back from a loss to England in their first game of the Super 8 on Wednesday, the joint hosts dismissed their American counterparts for 128 after losing the toss at the Kensington Oval.

    The West Indians then needed only 10.5 overs to reach 130-1, with Hope finishing 82* off just 39 balls. In a brilliant display of power hitting, Hope hit eight sixes and four fours on the way to his highest score in T20 Internationals.

    “Clinical,” was how Hope described the team’s performance on Friday in a post-match press conference.

    “Especially coming off the loss that we had a couple days ago. It's great to see the guys understood the assignment today and we played the cricket that we wanted to play. It's important for us to continue in this vein because we see what's at stake now. But yeah, very happy with the bounce back that we did today and there's a lot more cricket to play and we're looking forward to it,” he added.

    On his own individual performance, Hope was happy to perform in front of his home crowd.

    “Yeah, it was an amazing crowd. It's nice to see everyone came out and support us today. Something that we get in the Caribbean when we're doing well, we tend to see a lot more supporters out there. So that means we must be doing something right if you've got a solo crowd. But yeah, the crowd was rocking today,” he said.

    “I thought that the support was amazing. Again, I'm from Barbados so playing in front of this lovely crowd meant a lot more to me. Scoring some runs and winning the game for the team felt even more special so I'm very happy to do that,” Hope added.

    At the start of the tournament, Hope was on the outside of the XI looking in. He missed the first three games before coming into the side ahead of Roston Chase in the third game against Afghanistan where he 25 batting at number four.

    The 30-year-old was then left out once again for the Super 8 opener against England. A side strain suffered by Brandon King during that game meant Hope was given an opportunity at the top of the order against the USA, an opportunity that he grabbed with both hands.

    “Yeah, it's a great feeling. Again, whatever the team requires, that's me. Unfortunately, King had to leave us. Hopefully, he recovers quickly. But yeah, I had to go at the top this time around and the aim was just to get off to a good start. You see the importance of finishing the game early as well. So yeah, I had a good time in the middle, good surface and I enjoyed batting tonight,” he said.

    “Just have to stay ready in a tournament like this. There's a reason why we have 15 players. All of them need to be ready whenever the time comes,” he added.

    Finally, Hope issued a plea to the fans of the West Indies to continue supporting them on their journey to a third ICC T20 World Cup title.

    “Keep rallying. That's our motto. We always talk about rallying around the West Indies. That's exactly what we need to keep doing. The team rallying around each other. The fans need to do the same. We're out there fighting for each and every one of us. So, you understand the importance and the magnitude of the tournament. We're playing a home World Cup, something that I'm sure a lot of cricketers over their careers may not get the opportunity to do. We understand the importance of this in particular and we know how much the fans really want us to win so we're fighting, we're doing it for them and it's great to see the support I hope that it continues for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

    The West Indies will take on South Africa in their last Super 8 match on Sunday in Antigua.

  • Hope shines as West Indies thrash fellow T20 World Cup hosts USA Hope shines as West Indies thrash fellow T20 World Cup hosts USA

    West Indies hammered their fellow T20 World Cup hosts the United States by nine wickets to put themselves in the driving seat for a semi-final spot.

    Having lost their opening Super 8s match to England, the Windies bounced back in style in Barbados on Friday.

    Shai Hope's unbeaten 82, which came from 39 balls and included eight sixes, three of which came on the bounce, saw West Indies surpass the target of just 129 within 11 overs.

    Hope was recalled to the team after an injury to Brandon King, but will be a tough drop for Rovman Powell now.

    The USA had made a promising start, but slipped from 51-1 to 65-4 in the space of three overs, with Andre Russell the pick of the Windies' bowlers (3-31). Andre Gous (29) and Nitish Kumar (20) were the best scores on the board, as they were skittled out for 128.

    Hope, Johnson Charles (15) and Nicholas Pooran (27 not out) then wasted little time in securing a margin of victory that sends West Indies above England in Group 2, while their net run rate is also superior to South Africa's.

    The Proteas are West Indies' final opponents, while defending champions England face the USA in their last Super 8s match.

    Data Debrief: Windies in fine fettle

    West Indies have now won nine of their 11 T20Is in 2024, after winning eight games in each of 2022 and 2023.

    Their tally of victories this year matches 2021 as their best effort in a single calendar year.

    They have also won five of their last seven T20Is at Kensington Oval, and their last three in a row.

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