National High School Rugby League gets under way
The National High School Under-14 and Under-16 rugby championships got under way last week, joined by the historic first second season of the girls rugby league.
In a first for rugby league in Jamaica, the girls’ tournament will be played under modified rules by three schools, Ascot High, Cedar Grove Academy and Waterford High.
In another boost for the schools league, an innovative partnership has been struck with Australian charity ‘Dev Inno’, which has agreed to support the tournament and to provide education courses for young entrepreneurs.
Eight schools are down to compete in the Under 14 season in two groups.
Group A consists of Ascot High, Cedar Grove Academy, BB Coke High and Old Habour High, while Group B features defending champions Calabar High, St Catherine High, Kingston College and Waterford High.
In the Under 16 Championship, Group A features defending champions Old Harbour High, Ascot High, Cedar Grove Academy, BB Coke High and debutants New Forest High from St Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, Group B features Calabar High, Spanish Town High, St Catherine High, Kingston College, Campion College and Waterford High.
The season will culminate with a Grand Finals on March 20.
Rugby League Jamaica Director of football Romeo Monteith is looking forward to the season, while highlighting the girls’ league and its potential impact on the development of the sport in Jamaica.
“We have another fantastic year of High School Rugby League planned, and the launch of our girls’ tournament is an important milestone in the growth of our game,” said Monteith. “We hope that this is the first step to our Jamaican women joining our men in future Rugby League World Cup tournaments beyond our debut appearance in 2021.
“We welcome Dev Inno as our first major tournament partner for the high school tournaments, and their vision for social improvement through sport matches perfectly with ours at the Jamaica Rugby League Association,” added Monteith.
The boys U16 tournament kicked off on January 15, with Calabar defeating Spanish Town 34-10.
Shaquan Brown, Jelanie Barrett and Fitzroy Mcleod all scored two tries for the winners with Bryan Williams kicking three goals. For Spanish Town, Damani Ford top scored with 6 points from a try and a goal, with Kevroy McKenzie giving support with a try.