CMU win JRLA New Year Nines
Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Spartans won the inaugural Jamaica Rugby League Association New Year Nines by defeating Kingston Central Hounds 18-14 in a close and exciting final on Saturday at the Duhaney Park Mini Stadium.
CMU was the only university team in the competition and surprisingly got the better of the five community clubs that also participated in the tournament to kick-start rugby league in 2019.
Hounds struck first through winger Lawrence Drummond. However, CMU responded with converted tries from Adrian Thomas and Linval Green to carry a 12-4 lead into half-time. In the second half, Hounds pressed early and were rewarded when Adolph Gayle powered through the middle of CMU's defence to score a converted try. With CMU holding a precarious 12-10 lead, they again found the try line through Miguel Facey, and his brother Mikail Facey converted the kick for an 18-10 lead with three minutes on the clock.
Though behind, Hounds kept pressing in the dying moments and were rewarded when Mohenjo Thompson scored in the far right corner. The conversion was missed and the game hung precariously at 18-14 in favour of the Spartans with one minute remaining. CMU came up with an error on their next possession and Hounds had one final chance to snatch victory or a draw. However, their own error on the last play of the game saw the referee disallow the miracle try they desperately needed, and saw the Spartans erupt in glee at claiming the inaugural trophy.
Miguel Facey was judged tournament MVP.
Strong sharks showing
Duhaney Park Red Sharks had a strong showing to claim third place with a 24-6 win over Mountain View Eagles. Meanwhile, Cedar Grove Cyclones claimed the Bowl segment of the tournament with an 18 -14 win over Portmore Eliminators to finish fifth overall.
Stephan Williams, sports coordinator at CMU, said their game plan was to stay disciplined and maintain their composure.
"We wanted to keep it simple as we have a strong team and knew if we had enough possession, we would be victorious," he said.
"We really wanted to win this one as well and continue to show the university that once they invest in the team, we will do well in all competitions we take part in."