BB Coke High School won its first-ever U16 rugby league title after defeating Campion College 12-4 in the National U16 9s tournament at The Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St Catherine on Friday, May 7.

The win means BB Cokes ended the tournament on six points after also beating Spanish Town 24-8. However, they lost to Cedar Grove Academy 16-20. Spanish Town also ended on six points had an inferior points difference.

“The boys promised to bring the 9s title back home after they lost the 13s semi-finals to eventual champions Campion College. The win was built on getting the ball to our speedsters on the wings and strong defense in the middle of the park,” said winning coach Kamar Findlay.

“I was a bit surprised when we lost to Cedar Grove in our second match, but it served as a wake-up call for the team because they came out well against Spanish Town and got the win needed to top the tournament.

“We are extremely happy. This is our first title at the Under 16 level and the school and the entire community of Junction is celebrating with us.”

Rugby League Jamaica wrapped up its 13-a-side high school championships on Monday when both the U14 and U16 finals were played at Campion College.

The games marked the first time since the Covid pandemic that the Championships have been played in full and saw over 200 student athletes participate. The Cedar Grove Academy placed teams in both finals, a remarkable achievement, seeing they had already won the U19 title last November. However, they were denied the sweep as opponents Calabar High (U14s), and Campion College (U16s) craved out narrow victories.

In the U14 finals, Calabar were chasing their own piece of history as they sought to become the first High school team to win 5 consecutive age grade Championships. They achieved this with a narrow and hard fought 18-14 score line. The match had several lead changes and was tied 14-14 at fulltime.

The contest was decided in overtime by Amare Anderson who scored a break away try on Calabar’s first set of six. Other scorers for the winners Jhaidan Williams with a try and finals MVP Tevez Tulloch with10 points from 2 tries and a goal. Meanwhile, for Cedar Grove, Laquan Burton, Christian Campbell and Shamar Cunningham each scored a try and Nathan Brown kicked a goal.

Calabar coach Derone Davis said, “We are extremely proud of our performance. Cedar Grove is a very good team and played a great match, they’d beaten us in the round robin stage and so we knew we had to dig deep in the finals.  We held our composure well in the second half and overtime and it paid off, it means a lot to have one more Championship in this age grade.”

The U16 finals was also a hotly contested affair as both Campion and Cedar Grove chased their maiden U16 National title. Campion took an early first half lead through prop Ehinome Ehikhametalor, but Cedar Grove immediately hit back through Tajay Brown. The scores remained tied until late in the second half when Ehinome crashed over for his second and decisive try, his performance cementing him as the finals MVP.

Campion’s coach Andrew Dixon said, “The boys worked hard throughout the season, and it all came together for them. Our season was built on being able to defend well and this enabled us to overcome a very talented Cedar Grove outfit today. Overall, we are just happy to bring Campion its first U16 rugby league Championship, it means a lot to this team.”

Community club rugby league returned to Jamaica for the first time in over two years with the playing of the Rugby League Jamaica Summer 9s at the Cedar Grove Academy on Saturday.

Nine community teams participated, and Washington Blvd Bulls came out winners with a hard fought 8-6 win over West Kingston Hyenas in the final. 

The tournament saw two new teams make their rugby league debut, Portmore Rugby League Club and Young Crocs Academy.

Young Crocs made it all the way to the main draw semi-finals before losing to the Hyenas 1-24, meanwhile, Portmore did themselves proud by advancing to the consolidation semi-finals before losing to Duhaney Park 16-18. 

The other teams in the tournament were Liguanea Dragons who lost 8-20 in the consolidation semi-finals and St. Bess Sledgehammers who lost 6-16 in the main draw semi-finals to the Bulls. 

In the consolidation bracket final Duhaney Park Redsharks edged the Jamaica Defence Force Warriors 18-14

Director of Rugby Romeo Monteith commented on the restart of domestic club rugby league.

"The rugby league family is overjoyed to return to community play, this game means a lot for the physical and mental wellbeing of so many and it is good to be back playing," Monteith said. 

"It was a great turnout of community teams, match officials and fans and we hope to build on this momentum as we look to launch our National Club Championship on June 6," he added.

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