Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert is hoping his makeshift team can bounce back quickly to not only take three points off Guatemala, but more importantly, put themselves in a much better position to top the qualifying group on their way to next year’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup.

The Girlz, who went down 1-2 away to Panama, are currently at the foot of the three-team Group B in League A of the qualifiers, but a win against Guatemala at the National Stadium on Sunday, would see them back in contention for the coveted top spot.

This, as Panama currently lead with six points from three games, followed by Guatemala with three points from two games, while the Girlz will be contesting their second fixture to be followed by the return leg encounters on November 29 and December 3 respectively.

Sunday’s game is scheduled for 5:00pm.

“I think the ladies can bounce back, but it is going to be a tough encounter similar to what we experienced against Panama. I think the ladies are in a much better place after getting the first game out of the way and we managed to get an extra session in with everybody so that was good,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“The spirits are high, so we just have to come out and execute. As I said before, it is going to be tough, and we are mindful that they (Guatemala) beat Panama before Panama defeated them. We know that they like to shoot from different areas, and I think offensively they are strong, so we just have to nullify their strengths,” he added.

Reflecting on the first game, Gilbert was encouraged by his team’s display for the most part, given the fact that they were pulled together only a few days prior to that game.

In fact, had it not been for an own-goal and a defensive error by Alika Keene in either half of the contest, Gilbert’s makeshift side would have pulled off a highly unexpected win.

“When you look back at the first game against Panama, they really didn’t break us down to score and unfortunately, we didn’t come away with anything because of the own-goal and defensive error. But we have Marlo Sweatman coming in for this game and with her experience in the middle of the park, I think we should give a much better performance on this occasion,” the tactician noted.

Marlo Sweatman, who didn’t make the trip to Panama, joined the team’s training session on Friday. She along with fellow 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup veteran Chinyelu Asher, are expected to do most of the work in the midfield, both from an attacking and defensive perspective.

Sweatman, 28, who currently plays professionally in Hungary, is eager to ply her part in the makeshift Girlz resurgence.

"I am very happy to be here. I have been playing attacking midfield and scoring a lot of goals, and I feel like I am in good form,” she said.

“This is a very young team, and so I will bring in a lot of experience and some leadership, especially in the midfield, as well as off the field, to help them grow as players and as people off the field as well,” Sweatman shared.

Luis Mejía Oviedo of the Dominican Republic was re-elected President of Centro Caribe Sports for the period 2023-2027, during the Ordinary General Assembly of the sports organization, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Santiago, Chile on Monday.

Mejía, who was unopposed for the position was given a standing ovation which served as approval for him to continue at the helm of the organization, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024.

Centro Caribe Sports celebrated the 24th Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador last June, and made its debut with beach sports, courtesy of the first Central American and Caribbean Beach Games in Santa Marta in November 2022.

Oviedo will be shadowed by Cuba’s Roberto Richards, Jamaica’s Christopher Samuda and María José Soto Gil of Venezuela in the three vice-president slots.

Samuda, said his accepting a vice-president role is aimed at ensuring the regional sporting body, and, by extension, the CAC Games, maintains or even enhances their prominence.
The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president earned 33 votes to the six earned by his challenger Mario Alphonso Garcia de la Torre, the Secretary General of the Mexican Olympic Committee.

“I accept the second vice-presidency for Centro Caribe Sports not in a personal capacity, but in a representative role as a citizen of Jamaica, a regionalist of the Caribbean and a member of the Centro Caribe Sports family. The CAC Games is our primary asset and must be made to be an equal partner in sport development and excellence.

“For me, it will be business extraordinaire as we at Centro Caribe Sports continue to build the reputational, capital and cultural value and the currency of the apex body which is the owner and host of the oldest multi-sport regional games, the Central American and Caribbean Games,” Samuda, who is currently in Chile for the Pan-American (PanAm) Games, told SportsMax.TV.

“For me, it will be business extraordinaire in repurposing, repositioning the CAC Games as a leading model and a commercial sporting concern. It is about building an ethos that inspires the confidence of coaches and athletes and their support for the games as a calendar event. It will be business extraordinaire in just simply governing right in providing leadership as an example in the sporting fraternity,” he added.

Other sports leaders from the region that make up the new Executive Committee, includes, Colombia’s Ciro Solano Hurtado, Treasurer; Sara Rosario of Puerto Rico, Secretary General; Haiti’s Hans Larsen, First Vocal; Angel Morales of the US Virgin Islands, Second Vocal and Cyril Cameron Burke of Barbados, Third Vocal.

Felipe Vicini of the Dominican Republic will serve as a representative of the Organizing Committee for the 25th Central American and Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo in 2026.

The two vacant vocal positions will be elected in a virtual Extraordinary Assembly on a date to be confirmed in accordance with the statutes of Centro Caribe Sports, and as confirmed by the Legal Commission chaired by Samuda.

During the Ordinary General Assembly, the reports of the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023 and Santo Domingo 2026, were presented, as well as the presentation and approval for the second edition of the Central American and Caribbean Beach Games to be held in 2025 in Costa Rica.

President Mejía Oviedo confirmed that each member of the Executive Committee will chair a working commission, which were established during the first period of his leadership.

Judy Simons, former President of the Bermuda National Olympic Committee, announced her retirement from the Executive Committee and was recognised by Centro Caribe Sports with a plaque for her sterling contribution to the regional body and sport in the region.

Yannic Cariah produced a stellar all-round display which handed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force their second win of the CG United Super50 Cup campaign, as they bettered Guyana Harpy Eagles by 114 runs at the Brian Lara Stadium on Saturday.

The 31-year-old left-hand batsman stamped his authority on the Harpy Eagles bowlers with a solid unbeaten 48-ball 71, which included seven fours and two sixes. And almost like rubbing salt in the opponent’s wounds, Cariah returned to grab five wickets for a mere 34 runs in five overs to restrict Harpy Eagles to 176 in reply to Red Force’s 290.

Captain Darren Bravo continued his good form with another half-century knock of 51 off 60 balls, while Kjorn Ottley, stroked 52 of 57 deliveries in the Red Force’s daunting total.

Scores: Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 290-8 (50 overs); Guyana Harpy Eagles 176 all out (34 overs)

Sent in to bat, Red Force relished the conditions. Though they lost Evin Lewis (16) in the fifth over with the score at 27-1, wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva (27) and Ottley, who had six boundaries and one six in his knock, added 64 for the second wicket.

Ottley was the first to go, caught by Gudakesh Motie off Veerasammy Permaul and Da Silva followed soon after, leaving Bravo and Jason Mohammed (26) to post another 58 runs for the fourth wicket.

Bravo, who had six fours in his innings went caught off Sherfane Rutherford and Mohammed stuck with Cariah in a 45-run fifth-wicket stand before the former was undone by Motie.

Still, Cariah remained aggressive and with small contributions from those in the lower order, saw Red Force to their match-winning total.

Romario Shepherd (2-43) and Sherfane Rutherford (2-55), were the pick of the Harpy Eagles bowling.

Guyana’s response started positively, but was never allowed to bear fruit, as Jayden Seales, Akeal Hosein, Sunil Narine and Terrance Hinds combined to remove Tagenarine Chanderpaul (19), Chandrapaul Hemraj (21), Tevin Imlach (26) and Shimron Hetmyer (24), with an even 100 runs on the board in the 17th over.

From there, it was left for Cariah, bowling his leg spin, to mop up the remaining batsmen of which only Rutherford (30) and Kevin Sinclair (20), offered any real resistance to the onslaught. Narine had the next best Red Force figures of 2-18.

Action in the tournament continues on Sunday with Windward Islands Volcanoes crossing swords with Combined Campuses and Colleges at the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground.

Canadian-bred American Tap, under steady guidance from jockey Tevin Foster, earned her first victory on Jamaican soil with powerful debut performance that left rivals struggling in the $1.25 million Nigel B Nunes Memorial Cup feature at Caymanas Park on Saturday.

Much like she did at exercise, the six-year-old bay mare, who is one of six overseas horses expected to line up in the lucrative Mouttet Mile in December, displayed pace and class in a comfortable 4-3/4 lengths win, in the three-year-olds and upward Non-Restricted Overnight Allowance contest for over five furlongs (1,000m) straight.

Conditioned by Howard Jaghai, American Tap, running from the wide number 13 draw in the 15-horse field, and quickly match strides with Ultimate Machine (Dane Dawkins), True Bravado (Phillip Parchment), and Press Conference (Richard Henry), in the early exchanges.

By the time the sort themselves out and came across the dummy rails, the Tapiture -American Castle mare, American Tap proved the superior speed, and with very little reminders from Foster, she briskly pulled away and powered home to justify the 1-2 favouritism.

American Tap stopped the clock in an eye-catching 58.2 seconds, after splits of 23.1 and 46.0 seconds, and the fact that she literally cantered the latter stages of the contest, all but indicates her credentials for what could be a fruitful outing in Jamaica.

Press Conference, Ring Charmer (Roger Hewitt) and Duke (Allan Maragh) completed the frame.

American Tap completed a double for Foster, who earlier piloted the Anthony Nunes-trained Captain Calico to victory in the seventh event.

Another in-form rider, Raddesh Roman, also had a double with Ricardo Brown’s KP Choice in the second event and From Sheer To Ben conditioned by Alford Brown in the ninth and final contest.

A polished all-round performance by Hayden Walsh Jr saw Leeward Islands Hurricanes to a second-consecutive victory in this year’s CG United Super50 Cup, as they defeated West Indies Academy by 66 runs at Queen’s Park Oval on Saturday.

Walsh Jr, who first hammered three fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 60 off 55 balls, to guide the Hurricanes to a competitive 239, returned to snare five wickets for 48 runs in nine overs which restricted West Indies Academy to a paltry 173 and in the process, handed them their first defeat of the tournament.

Scores: Leeward Islands Hurricanes 239 all out (48.5 overs); West Indies Academy 173 all out (40 overs)

Asked to take first strike, the Hurricanes –unlike the brisk start in their opening eight-wicket win over reigning champions Jamaica Scorpions –were slow into stride, as they lost Kofi James (three) with six runs on the board.

However, first match hero Kieran Powell (33) and Keacy Carty (37), balanced things out before the former’s 36-ball knock which included five boundaries was brought to an end by Ashmead Nedd.

Carty pushed on in his 55-ball innings which had four boundaries, but when Joshua Bishop accounted for his and Karima Gore’s (nine) scalp, Hurricanes were left at 101-4 in the 21st over.

Jahmar Hamilton (27) and Rahkeem Cornwall (14) had good starts but couldn’t click on, as they too succumbed to Bishop’s spin, with the score at 157-6.

But Justin Greaves, who had a solitary boundary in a patient 34 off 59 balls, stood with Walsh Jr to add 66 valuable runs for the seventh wicket, especially as the remaining batsmen, including captain Alzarri Joseph, fell cheaply.

Bishop led the Academy bowlers with four wickets for 27 runs from his 10 overs, while Nedd had two wickets for 43 runs from his 10 overs, and Matthew Forde snared two wickets for 45 runs from 5.5 overs.

The Academy’s chase started positively, with Kimani Melius (37) and Matthew Nandu (29), posted a 64-run opening stand, but when both fell, things quickly took turn in favour of the Hurricanes.

This, as the Academy lost wickets at regular intervals, with Teddy Bishop (27), Nyeem Young (25) and Ackeem Aguste (21), the only other batsmen to offer any resistance to Walsh Jr’s leg spin. Another slow bowler, Daniel Doram, who picked up seven wickets against the Scorpions, took three wickets for 33 runs on this occasion.

Members of Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz FIFA Women’s World Cup squad remain resolute in their latest standoff with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), as they point out that withdrawing from the upcoming Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures was a last resort to “end the cycle of mistreatment” they have endured under the Michael Ricketts-led administration.

The Girlz in a widely circulated statement released via social media on Saturday, said the decision to bypass the October international window for games against Panama and Guatemala, was difficult but necessary, given the circumstances under which they were asked to report for duty.

Those circumstances to which the Girlz refer, include the fact that interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert was appointed late Thursday, a mere four days before the team is expected to arrive in Panama for the October 25 fixture.

Gilbert has since assembled a makeshift squad for that game as well as the October 29 meeting with Guatemala at the National Stadium.

“While this has been one of the hardest decisions we have had to make, we feel it is necessary to make such a drastic stance to put an end to the constant mistreatment we receive from the Jamaica Football Federation,” the statement said.

“As always, it is an honour and a privilege to represent Jamaica. It is our job to perform to the best of our ability and put all our efforts into representing our country, making our fans (and) loved ones at home and in the diaspora proud. Due to the current circumstances the Jamaica Football Federation has put us in, we would not be able to do our job,” they added.

Aside from the alleged short notice, the Girlz again called out the JFF for its “unprofessionalism” and disorganization in the way they communicate and, by extension, manage the country’s football affairs.

This, as contrary to reports that the JFF have paid World Cup money in full between Thursday and Friday, the Girlz reveal that they are yet to receive “full and correct payments” for their historic Round of 16 run at the global showpiece, coupled with “numerous outstanding bonuses” for last year’s qualification.

“We received information about our coaching staff, medical staff and equipment staff in an untimely manner and through unprofessional communication. We got confirmation our head coach three days prior to our report date through social media, despite our efforts to have direct communication with the JFF,” they shared.

“We have dealt with this lack of communication, poor organization, poor management and delayed payments from the JFF time and time again. For these reasons, we take our stance in solidarity with hope to end this cycle of mistreatment,” the Girlz noted.

The Girlz statement came as a direct response to a JFF release on Friday which stated that they have suspend any selection of the players in question until these issues are resolved.

“The JFF is uncomfortable with the response of the players and the non-attendance of the player representatives to a scheduled meeting. The JFF is eager to clear up all the concerns that team members may have in accordance with the contracts. If there is a grievance or concern, this must be placed squarely on the table to be addressed and documented to the JFF,” the country’s governing football body’s release stated.

Having managed to pull a full 23-member squad out of the hat, interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert is now cautiously optimistic about their chances of springing another surprise in the upcoming Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures against Panama and Guatemala.

Gilbert, who was appointed late Thursday, skipped his first hurdle by securing the services of a fairly youthful squad, which also includes some out-of-favour experienced players for the games scheduled for October 25 and 29 respectively.

However, the second hurdle remains the fact that Gilbert has a short window to try and achieve some semblance of cohesiveness with his new squad, as they are scheduled to arrive in Panama on Monday and will train on Tuesday, with the game scheduled for Wednesday. They will then return to Jamaica on Thursday to host Guatemala on Sunday.

“Yeah, it is tough, and I always knew it will be a difficult task but that’s the thing with these FIFA windows and how we manage ourselves will be important at the end of the day,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“The good thing for us is that we have individuals who understand and know what we have to focus on. So, it is good that we managed to find persons and it is also an opportunity for the younger players to showcase their talent and secure themselves a spot in future camps to come,” he added.

Gilbert’s squad includes a new call up in 32-year-old England-born Melissa Johnson of Charlton Athletic, while Canadian-born Israela Groves, 24, who is also up to earn her first international cap, was a part of the senior Reggae Girlz training camp in Florida earlier this year.

Meanwhile, 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup veterans Marlo Sweatman and Chinyelu Asher highlight the more senior players, along with goalkeeper Chris-Ann Chambers, Jayda Hylton-Pelaia, Alika Keene and twins, Malikae and Mikayla Dayes. The remainder of the team comprises mostly Under-20 representatives now transitioning to the senior level.

The coach’s predicament stems from the fact that all 22 members of the successful 2023 World Cup squad have made themselves unavailable, while Cheyna Matthews has retired.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in a release on Friday, announced the suspension of selection for all 22 players until they meet with the federation's hierarchy to resolve all issues regarding payments among other things.

“It is what it is, I can’t control some of the variables, so I just have to control what I can. At this point in time, we managed to assemble a squad and we must give credit to the ladies who have accepted the offer to represent their country on short notice and we just want to build on that,” Gilbert, who is still without an assistant said.

“We have a lot of players who will be earning their first caps so again, it is an opportunity for them to show the world what they have to offer, and we just hope that they will make full use of it. It is going to be difficult against two tough oppositions, but we are hopeful that we can do what we have to, to ensure we get two positive results,” he noted.

Gilbert pointed to the fact that fitness will not be much of a concern with the selected players as his biggest positive as it will allow him to jump straight into technical and tactical work when they arrive in Panama.

“The good thing is that all the players are currently active with their clubs and colleges, that was of some concern, but these players are coming in with games under their belts which is a positive. So again, we just hope that we can get them together as soon as possible and manage to squeeze out some results,” he ended.

Following the opening fixtures, the 37th-ranked Reggae Girlz will then host Panama on November 29 and close away to Guatemala on December 3.

Squad- Chris-Ann Chambers (Dinamo Sokhumi); Javanae Jones (ultnomah University); Lauren Reid (University of Maryland); Malikae Dayes (AAB (Denmark); Zoe Vidaurre (George Mason University); Nevillegail Able (University of Maine at Fort Kent); Chinyelu Asher (SCU Torreense); Alika Keene (SK Slavia Praha Zeny); Israela Groves (London City Lionesses); Ricshya Walker (LaSalle University); Marlo Sweatman (Viktoria Haladas); Christina Salmon (William Carey University); Davia Richards (Hill College); Mikayla Dayes (Rodez AF (France); Shaneil Buckley (Frazsiers Whip); Natoya Atkinson (Seaward County); Destiny Powell (Frazsiers Whip); Melissa Johnson (Charlton Athletic Women FC); Sydnie Street (Seneca College); Jayda Hylton-Pelaia (Woodbridge Strikers); Alliyah Morgan (George Mason University); Shanhaine Nelson (Cavaliers); Tyiesha Nelson (Reinas Academy)

 

 

Wolmer’s Boys and St Jago consolidated their spots as group winners and runners-up respectively, after playing out 1-1 stalemate in their ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup Group G top-of-the-table clash at Mico University on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Leighton Murray sent St Jago in front with a delightful 32nd-minute freekick, but Addon Daye (62nd), with his 13th goal of the season, rescued a point for Wolmer’s Boys.

With the point, the Heroes Circle-based Wolmer’s ended on 25 points, while their Monk Street-based counterparts inched up to 22 points. Papine finished third in the group on 16 points with a 3-1 win over fourth-placed Vauxhall (11 points), while fifth and sixth-placed Donald Quarrie (eight points) and Ascot (three points), played out a 2-2 stalemate.

St Jago’s Head coach Wolery Wolfe expressed slight disappointment with the point.

“I am a bit disappointed at the result because we wanted a win, I thought the players lacked focus a bit and they were rushing the game as well, so we needed a little more patience and also to possess the ball more.

“But we still have to give the players credit. I think they did well, and I think it is only going to get bigger and better for Jago, so we just have to deal with whosoever comes (in the next round),” Wolfe said in a post-game interview.

It was a cagey affair for the most parts, as chances were at a premium, particularly in the first half.

In fact, the two best efforts on goal at that point, were in favour of St Jago, the first of which was in the seventh minute. Milton Luckain’s shot from the top of the 18-yard box, was parried by Roan Melford, in goal for Wolmer’s.

The second came two minutes past the half-hour mark when the burly Murray stepped up and drove a stunning right-footed freekick from about 30 yards out that had his opposite number beaten all ends up.

Jago thought they had doubled the lead early in the second half when they got the ball in the back of the net, but it was later ruled offside.

Wolmer’s came into their own and pulled level when a good build up between Daye and Dante Dacres, ended with the former completing an easy finish beyond slightly advanced Murray.

The maroon and gold maintained the momentum from there on into the latter stages and almost found the winner mere minutes from the whistle. However, it took a big save from man-of-the-match Murray to keep out Demetri Jackson’s well-struck right-footer from a distance.

Jerome Waite, head coach of Wolmer’s Boys lauded his team’s fighting spirit, but in the same breath, pointed out that they still have much to work on.

“I think Jago came here with a purpose, and they fought well. I think the difference was their goalkeeper, not only to score the goal but in the end to defend well to ensure that they didn’t give up more than one goal. But the Wolmer’s team showed character to fight back and earn a point,” Waite said.

“What we will have to focus on now is the areas that we need to work on, and we also have our fair share of injuries that we will have to figure out to ensure that we can go as far as possible,” he added.

Thursday’s results

Cedar Grove 1, Excelsior 5

St Jago 1, Wolmer’s Boys 1

Papine High 3, Vauxhall 1

Ascot 2, Donald Quarrie 2

Haile Selassie 2, Eltham 0

Dunoon 6, Denham Town 2

Meadowbrook 0, Jamaica College 8

Jonathan Grant 8, Greater Portmore 0

Having been appointed to lead Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz for their upcoming Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures against Panama and Guatemala, Head coach Xavier Gilbert admits it will be a difficult task, but says he is committed to ensuring the team gives of its best.

Gilbert’s appointment, which was announced late Thursday, follows the controversial non-renewal of Lorne Donaldson’s contract, as the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) hierarchy parted ways with the well-rated coach for his tendency to be outspoken.

Prior to Gilbert’s selection, the JFF had reportedly interviewed three potential candidates –two females, who were not named, and Englishman Jonathan Morgan –for the post.

However, SportsMax.TV understands that the JFF is unable to meet the salary request of the main female candidate, who is said to have led a team at the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while Morgan, the next best choice, was ruled out after reports surfaced that he is under investigation by Sheffield United over his alleged conduct and behaviour.

As such, Gilbert, who was initially being retained as an assistant, has now been asked to take up the mantle. But, while willing to serve, he is under no illusion that his employment will be without challenges.

“It is going to be difficult, but the expectation is to try and get a result out of the two games to put the country in a good position to qualify for the Gold Cup,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV shortly after the announcement.

“We just have to be smart about our play and give it our best shot. It is very short to get the players in and the turnaround time is also quick for the games. So, it is going to be a lot more mental preparation than even physical, and we have to go over some tactical preparation as well,” he added.

Though the veteran coach’s appointment is for familiarity purposes, given the success he had with the Girlz under Donaldson’s leadership, uncertainty surrounds whether or not he will have a squad for the upcoming games, as well as the quality of that squad.

This as, contrary to the JFF’s release that a “squad of players has been selected” for the two games against Panama and Guatemala, SportsMax.TV has been reliably informed that all 23 members of the successful World Cup squad, are unavailable due to college and other commitments, while Cheyna Matthews has retired.

The Girlz under Donaldson’s leadership had an historic run to the round of 16 at the World Cup, after goalless results with France and Brazil, and victory over Panama in the group stage.

Uncertainty also surrounds whether or not Gilbert will have a full complement of staff to work with, as the timing of the announcement may rule out Laura Thomas and Ak Lakhani, both of whom were also assistants to Donaldson.

Efforts to contact JFF president Michael Ricketts and general secretary Dennis Chung to provide clarity proved futile, as their phones went unanswered.

The 37th-ranked Reggae Girlz are scheduled to visit Panama on October 25, before returning home to face Guatemala on October 29.

They will then host Panama on November 29 and close away to Guatemala on December 3.

Having had a fairly successful taste of Formula Four (F4) action recently, Tommi Gore has developed an insatiable hunger for more, as he hopes to chart a fruitful career on the circuit.

Gore’s passion and, by extension, unflinching desire to make it big in motorsport is of no surprise given the fact that he comes from a proud racing family that has made its mark in local and regional racing. His father Douglas ‘Hollywood’ Gore is a multiple rally and Dover champion, while his grandfather, Neil, raced at Vernamfield.

And already the young Gore has a solid platform on which he can build, having competed in the final round of the Radical Cup in the United Kingdom, and the final round of the FIA Formula 4 CEZ Championship, over the past month.

At the Radical Cup event held at the Donington Park Circuit, Gore driving for the Rob Weldon-owned Raw Motorsports team, had a series of mixed results in qualifying, but capitalised on wet conditions to not only win in the final race, but also the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend award. 

“This was my first event outside of the Caribbean, and with only one other event in a similar Radical SR3, I know it was going to be difficult to adapt to this new track. But I saw the rain as an opportunity on the final day because I have always been confident in the rain even though I had never driven a Radical in the rain prior.

“So, it was an amazing experience and also great to place my stamp on the international scene and show the world that Jamaicans can be competitive in any genre of any sport that we are passionate about,” Gore told SportsMax.TV.

That performance was followed by the Formula 4 opportunity and while the call for Gore to journey to Hungary came at the last minute, the budding driver knew it was a no-brainer.

“Needless to say, I immediately booked the flight, called sponsors and emailed my professors to advise them that I would miss class,” Gore shared.

For Gore, it was the big break he had longed for, and as fate would have it, he performed beyond expectations.

The 18-year-old placed third in the second race of the weekend, as he staved off the challenge of champion Ethan Ischer and claimed the final podium spot. He also topped the Rookie class in each of his qualifying races and was later named top rookie for the weekend.

“Prior to that weekend I had never even sat in a Formula car let alone drive one, so the Jenzer Motorsport Team’s expectations were very low going in. But by qualifying, I was in the top four and was able to fight for a podium. I finished fourth overall in races one and three to finish out a very solid performance,” Gore shared.

“This was a jaw dropping opportunity, the professionalism of the team and preciseness needed to be on pace with the front runners was beyond imaginable; to only be two tenths of a second off the fastest lap by the final race was applauded by the team, especially knowing that I went up against drivers with two years in these same cars,” he added.

Though the end results were on point for the most part, Gore was not shy to admit that both outings in England and Hungary were mentally and physically draining.

In fact, he recalled that the last minute advise from his father, coupled with his stubborn determination to rise above challenges, as the fuel that drives his ambitions.

“Honestly, they (the races) were not easy; it was very physically and mentally challenging to be on my best performance to seize the opportunities presented. Fortunately, my dad has always been a large figure in my career, from watching his legendary battles with David Summerbell Jnr at Dover Raceway, to him giving me those last-minute tips while on the grid before a race,” Gore reasoned.

He also credits the likes of Peter Rae, Craig Lue, Collin Daley Jnr and Chris Issa for their role in moulding his career into what it is at present.

With his immense potential now clear for all to see, the jovial driver remains optimistic that he will reap the fruits of his labour in the near future.

“My personal goal is to become a paid driver for a racing team, whether that be in prototype cars such as the Radical or Formula cars such as the F4. So, I’ll keep putting in the work, showing what I can do and then let the rest sort itself out,” Gore ended.

If ever there were doubts about Blue Vinyl’s readiness for the major events at the backend of the season, those would have been erased, as the four-year-old colt threw down the gauntlet with an impressive 21-length win in the Mark My Word trophy feature at Caymanas Park on Saturday.

Piloted by Javaniel Patterson, Blue Vinyl, last year’s 2000 Guineas and St Leger winner, demonstrated his usual class in a bold front-running effort on this occasion which crippled rivals in the three-year-olds and upwards Open Allowance contest over nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m).

Now conditioned by Alford Brown, the Bern Identity -Bluefield progeny made it two wins in three starts for the trainer and third in four starts this season.

With the expected pacesetter I Realise scratched from the initial six-horse event, it was left for Blue Vinyl to dictate terms and the M.N.M Racing Stables-owned charge duly obliged.

Patterson got Blue Vinyl put well from the wide number six draw and the two comfortably laid the fractions with Outbidder (Phillip Parchment) in tow for most of the way.

However, when Blue Vinyl gradually injected some tempo leaving the half-mile and later powered home under a strong hand ride, it was D Head Cornerstone (Dane Dawkins) that finished best for the runner up spot. Miniature Man (Reyan Lewis) and Outbidder, completed the frame.

Blue Vinyl won in a decent 1:54.2 after splits of 27.1, 52.2, 1:17.2 and 1:41.1.

Brown expects nothing but the best from his charge going forward with the lucrative Mouttet Mile being his main target.

“It was very impressive and going forward now, the sky is the limit," Brown declared. 

"We are preparing for the Mouttet Mile, that is the main goal so from here on it is just about keeping him sound and healthy and then we will see what happens.

“It is a possibility we might run him in the Jamaica Cup, but we have to see how he comes out of this one first. But we want to take it one day at a time," the trainer added.

Meanwhile, trainer Gary Griffiths and jockeys Raddesh Roman and Tevin Foster all won two races each on the nine-race card.

Griffiths saddled Exotic Light ridden by Devon A Thomas in the fifth race and the Foster-partnered Digital Light in the eighth event. Foster also won aboard the Fitzgerald-conditioned Sir John in the last race.

Roman’s winners were Rohan Kabir in the opening event for trainer Oral Hayden and Dale Murphy's Bella Bella in the sixth.

Racing continues on Sunday.

 

While it was not the most polished performance, Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz did enough to ease past Grenada 4-1 in their Concacaf Nations League Group B encounter and move one step closer to a League A quarterfinals berth.

Despite starting without a number of the regulars, Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side raced to an early 2-0 lead courtesy of Kevon Lambert (13th) and Shamar Nicholson (23rd), before Demarai Gray (74th) and stand-in captain Bobby Reid (87th), made the three points safe.

Trevon Williams (30th) got Grenada’s consolation in the keenly contested encounter at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium.

With the win, their second of the tournament, the Jamaicans moved up to seven points, three ahead of second-placed Cuba (four points), who were scheduled to face third-placed Honduras (three points) in the group’s late kickoff.

Elsewhere, fourth-placed Haiti (three points) and fifth-placed Suriname (two points), played out a 1-1 stalemate in Paramaribo. Grenada remains at the foot of the standing with a solitary point.

It was a patient start by the Reggae Boyz in St George’s, as they took their time to breakdown Grenada’s defence and eventually found the go-ahead goal from a set play.

Gregory Leigh’s weighted corner kick was deflected towards goal by Romario Williams, but the effort was brilliantly kept out by Jason Belfon diving full stretch to his left. However, the custodian had no response to Lambert’s follow-up shot in a goalmouth melee.

The Boyz went close to doubling the lead three minutes later when Gray embarked on a darting run and played off a pass to Nicholson, whose effort was charged down by Darius Johnson, putting his body on the line.

Grenada belatedly came to life in attack a minute later with Josh Gabriel rifling a left-footed drive from a distance, but Jahmali Waite, who started in place of captain Andre Blake, proved equal to the task.

That was the start of a good, sustained attacking spell for Grenada, as they camped out in the Jamaicans half like a pack of hungry wolves, but their hunt for the equalizer proved fruitless.

They later paid for it when Nicholson extended the Jamaicans lead. The towering striker picked up a pass from Williams, slipped his marker and easily tucked a left-footed effort past Belfon.

Grenada pulled one back on the half-hour mark through Williams’s deflection on Johnson’s follow-up effort. The initial shot by Gabriel was kept out by Waite.

Both teams created chances at the backend of the half but failed to capitalise. While the Jamaicans went in 2-1 up, it was Grenada that enjoyed the momentum at the break.

Unlike they did at the start, the Boyz were more purposeful on the resumption and had opportunities to push further ahead. However, they were denied by faulty shooting and some good work by Belfon, at times.

On one of those occasions, Belfon did well to block Williams's shot from close range in the 58th minute.

Four minutes later, a good through pass from Reid found debutant Karoy Anderson and the 19-year-old dismissed his marker, but selfishly went for a shot from a tight angle.

Grenada almost pulled level in the 70th when Regan Charles-Cook got behind defenders, but Waite left his line well to avert the danger.

Jamaica asserted their authority in the latter stages of the contest and inevitably pushed further ahead through Gray. The former Everton man used his pace to good effect on the left channel, as he charged into the box and placed a right-footer past Belfon.

Reid added another three minutes from time. He got on the end of Daniel Johnson’s free kick and made no mistakes from close range.

While on paper it seems Jamaica has drawn perceived lesser opponents for the Concacaf Men’s Under-20 qualifiers, assistant coach John Wall insists that the young Reggae Boyz will not be grandstanding against anyone, as the main aim beyond qualification is to improve the quality of their play.

In fact, Wall is aware that teams such as Bermuda, Grenada and Martinique, who they will rub shoulders with in Group F, have all been on the upgrade which means the perception of easy games is now a thing of the past.

The 27-team tournament scheduled for February 23 to March 2, will be contested in six groups across five venues in Central America and the Caribbean.

After round-robin play, the group winners will progress to the 2024 Concacaf Men's Under-20 Championship, joining the six top-ranked nations –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic.

With this in mind, Wall pointed to the importance of ensuring the young Reggae Boyz are well prepared to give of their best.

"Obviously there is no simple game in Concacaf, I have learnt that firsthand and bearing in mind also that the trend overall in Concacaf is that the game has become more global, especially where the Diaspora comes in. So, Martinique when it comes to relationship with France and obviously Bermuda and Grenada with the United Kingdom predominantly.

“For us it is kind of a bigger scope, and we take it really seriously. We have been having camps from earlier this year and we are watching the players and identifying them as we go on. For me, it is really important to look at the next generation and the style of how Jamaica plays on a general basis,” Wall said.

“Also, qualifiers are a special kind of animal, you have to take certain things into account such as the number of games in a short space of time, you have players coming in as well as time zone differences. So, we are making all those external factors more internal per se and control the variables as much as we can,” he added.

Wall explained that his course of action has already be set in motion to identify character strengths he wants the young Reggae Boyz to exemplify and create an identity through purposeful planning.

“I have sent my preferred plan to the head of the Technical Committee because for us, it is obviously optimizing the time that we have. So, we want to use this upcoming Fifa window, we want to use December and January. What was done in the past is that players spent a lot of weeks in camps and accumulate too much fatigue heading into a tournament,” Wall reasoned.

“So, the good thing about what we are doing now by having these short camps since March is that it actually gives players time to adapt to the messaging and what we want and how I feel that we need to train and what we need to be. So given time, we can do a lot of things together and I am really looking forward to it myself,” he noted.

That said, the tactician who also works alongside Heimir Hallgrimsson with the senior Reggae Boyz team, expressed delight with how they have incorporated young players into that setup.

“The proof of it is in what we have been doing with the first team with guys like Dexter Lembikisa, Karoy Anderson and Whisper [Dujuan Richards]. So, the process is there and the pathway for the younger players should be there, and we need to have a really inclusive environment,” he stated.

“Jamaica for me is bold and likes to take on challenges and if there is anything I can add, I hope that I can, but I want to see that sense of desperation and urgency when Jamaica is playing football,” Wall ended.

Group A -Cuba, Nicaragua, Belize, British Virgin Islands, and Anguilla
(Venue: Estadio Nacional, Managua)

Group B -El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, Guyana, and Turks and Caicos Islands (Venue: ABFA Technical Centre, Piggotts)

Group C -Guatemala, Curacao, Aruba, Saint Martin, and Barbados
(Venue: Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores, Guatemala City)

Group D -Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica (Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain)

Group E -Haiti, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Cayman Islands
(SKNFA Technical Center, Basseterre)

Group F -Jamaica, Bermuda, Grenada, and Martinique (Venue: SKNFA Technical Center, Basseterre)

SportsMax.TV has been reliably informed that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) intends to retain members of the senior Reggae Girlz technical staff to work with the incoming Head coach, who is expected to be named on Friday.

Xavier Gilbert, Ak Lakhani and Laura Thomas, who were all assistants to former Head coach Lorne Donaldson, are said to be in discussion with the JFF, but their involvement is pending the agreement of terms on a new contract. It is uncertain if fitness coach Will Hitzelberger and goalkeeper Alyssa Whitehead have also been engaged.

Their previous contracts expired on September 30, along with Donaldson’s, but the JFF hierarchy opted not to renew the outspoken coach’s contract.

A source close to the situation revealed that the move to retain Gilbert, Lakhani and Thomas, is for familiarity purposes, given the success they had with the Girlz under Donaldson’s leadership.

Donaldson and his assistants, who were appointed in 2022, led the Reggae Girlz to a second-consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup. At the tournament jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, they had an historic run to the round of 16, after goalless results with France and Brazil, and victory over Panama in the group stage.

The Reggae Girlz eventually bowed out following a 0-1 loss to Colombia.

In their most recent fixtures, the Reggae Girlz suffered back-to-back losses to Canada in a failed bid to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, but the progress the team has made over the past year, is without question.

“They (the assistant coaches) are good man. I don’t think they (JFF hierarchy) will be letting anyone else go, it was just Donaldson. I am almost 90 percent certain that the assistants will stay on,” a source who requested anonymity shared.

Another interesting development is the fact that Jonathan Morgan, who found favour with the JFF Technical Committee in the past, is among those shortlisted for the Girlz top job.

Morgan was expected to take the reins in 2022, but later received an offer from Burnley Women’s team and opted out of the race, which resulted in Donaldson taking charge.

Now back, the Englishman is said to be facing stiff competition from two other overseas coaches, both females, who were not named.

It is understood that all three have already been interviewed, with the Technical Committee expected to make a recommendation to the Board of Directors in short order.

The 37th-ranked Reggae Girlz will be back in action for Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualification in less than two weeks, as they are scheduled to visit Panama on October 25, before returning home to face Guatemala on October 29.

They will then host Panama on November 29 and close away to Guatemala on December 3.

After a 16-year halt, the Wray and Nephew Group, through its White Overproof Rum brand has embarked on another major marketing investment in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL), with a multi-year deal as the league’s new title sponsor.

The three-year partnership valued at well over $60 million fills a pricey opening left by Digicel, who recently completed a three-year deal of their own worth $200 million.

Wray and Nephew last sponsored the league in 2002, and in 2006 it extended the contract until 2012. However, the deal ended abruptly in 2007 after Wray and Nephew released the Jamaica Football Federation from its contract without penalty.

At the time, Wray and Nephew officials stated that they stood ready to continue supporting football should any opportunity arise in the future and with Digicel, who took over the title sponsorship from Red Stripe in 2020, now backing out, the premium rum company is now back to bridge the gap.

However, unlike previous deals, Wray and Nephew’s Managing Director Jean-Philippe Beyer, explained that this partnership with the league organizers Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), will go much deeper.

Beyer, though reluctant to go in details, announced during Tuesday’s launch that his company is also intent on investing in the country’s sporting infrastructure development.

“We understand that supporting this league goes beyond supporting footballers, but we also have an impact on the coaches, management, spectators and the vendors, among others. So, a big thank you to everyone who has made this such an important platform to Jamaican society,” Beyer said during the event held at their Dominica Drive base.

“More importantly, this partnership is part of a wider initiative in national football progress. We are working with the Professional Football Jamaica Limited to build a long-term viable football initiative and so we are planning to commit a significant amount of money to develop sporting infrastructure,” he added.

Beyer pointed out that Wray and Nephew’s sponsorship across Jamaica’s sporting landscape has been significant. This, as besides football, they have invested in boxing, cricket, bobsleigh and even the Sunshine Girls recent World Cup campaign.

“J Wray and Nephew is a true stakeholder in Jamaica, making our country a decent place to live, work, raise a family and to do business. This is not just talk because in a little less than 10 years, our contribution to sport sponsorship has easily surpassed $1 billion, so we are putting our money where our mouth is,” he declared.

“This investment represents our commitment to celebrating Jamaica’s talent and we look forward to the success of the Jamaica Premier League and working with you to meet the challenges. We believe that partnerships are more important because we achieve more together,” Beyer noted.

PFJL’s CEO Owen Hill, said it was easy to get Wray and Nephew back on board, as both party's objectives are aligned, particularly where community involvement is concerned.

 “We want to give options and opportunities to the players, the clubs and coaches and others of the football landscape. So, having Wray and Nephew on board just shows how important it is, and along with other partners, it helps to build out that platform,” he told SportsMax.TV.

“What we did was show them the value added and how it can impact more lives and become deeper than it really is now. So, the alignment between brands is very clear and they want community involvement, so it was an easy sell because it helps to advance their own cause,” Hill shared.

As it has been over the years, all the action for the next eight months, will be on SportsMax and the SportsMax app.

CEO Nicholas Matthews, promised that the coverage will, as always, represent the class and quality of the Home of Champions.

“We have been working a lot with the JPL and this season we are going to lift that game. The league wants to go back into the communities, and we have looked at the plan and we will be going back into some of the communities to produce games. So, you are going to see a lot more involvement where the communities are concerned, but we are ensuring the quality of the product remains the same,” said Matthews.

The 2023/24 edition of the Jamaica Premier League is scheduled for kick off on October 22, with Lime Hall, out of St Ann and St Elizabeth’s Treasure Beach, being the new additions. 

Another St Ann-situated club, Mount Pleasant Academy, are defending champions.

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