Rusea's 1992 - teamwork works
Ask Dennis Jumpp about the Rusea's High School 1992 schoolboy season and a smile appears.
"It brings a lot of joy to my heart, knowing that at the outset we were trying to make the 1991 wrongs right. We realised that the effort that we made to make us a compact group that works for each other actually shows that teamwork is really the way to go."
Despite the school's fine record in football, the 1991 season was a loss. "We decided that we needed to make some history of our own," Jumpp reminisced, "based on the fact that we were a totally new bunch and we had lost everything in 1991."
Coached by the wily Emerson Henry and first-year assistant Anthony Williams, and captained by Jumpp, the 1992 Russians really got going in the daCosta Cup interzone round with wins over St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) and Holmwood Technical and Clarendon College in semi-finals.
"It was a very good all round team, strong in all departments," said Henry 25 years later. With Anthony Fogarty and Socrates Christie slotting goals on a regular basis and with the likes of Jumpp, a distant relative to Anthony Jumpp of the wonderful 1963 Cornwall College side, Alme McFarlane, right footed left back Andrew O'Connor and Orlando Sewell working together, Rusea's edged Glenmuir High School 1-0 to win the daCosta Cup.
A header by Christie settled that rematch of the 1985 final.
Fogarty and Christie stuck goals in a 2-0 win over Glenmuir to put the Russians into the Ben Francis final where McFarlane found a late winner to beat Clarendon College again.
Then only St George's College, the winners of the Manning Cup, with stars like Ali Rose and Andy Williams, stood between Rusea's and the triple. Captain for the second season, Jumpp revealed that his goalkeeper Locksley Reid was worried as the first leg of the Olivier Shield approached at the Nature Village field.
"Anytime he heard the name Ali Rose, he would get nervous," Jumpp recounted, "so just before we were ready to go out on the field for that game, he was saying, 'coach, my belly is hurting, my belly is hurting'."
According to the captain, that earned the goalie a stern rebuke from Henry. It worked.
"Our goalkeeper was outstanding," said the coach. "Quite a number of times, Ali Rose got through but when Locksley stood up, it's like he filled the entire goal."
With Reid blocking the path to goal and Christie on target, the team from Hanover took a 1-0 margin into the second leg at the National Stadium.
Jumpp had missed the first leg with accumulated bookings and came back for the rematch which finished 0-0.
"It was a very open game," Henry explained, "but again both teams' defences stood up."
The deed was done. Jumpp and his teammates had reached their goal and had written their own page in Rusea's school history.
"They all wanted to give of their best," praised the coach a quarter of a century later. "They loved football" he concluded, "and they played for each other."