York Castle, Jonathan Grant lift Credit Unions of Jamaica/JRFU Rugby Football Union titles

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York Castle, Jonathan Grant lift Credit Unions of Jamaica/JRFU Rugby Football Union titles

Friday, February 28, 2020

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Defending champions York Castle High School and Jonathan Grant High School won the boys' Under-16 and girls' Open Age 10's Credit Unions of Jamaica/JRFU Rugby Football Union Championship titles last week Thursday, after they turned back the efforts of Innswood High School and Norman Manley High School, respectively, at Stadium East Field.

The boys' final was a completely one-sided affair as York Castle High School routed Innswood High School 50-17, but in a very exciting girls' final, Jonathan Grant High School came from behind to get the better of Norman Manley High School 35-26.

In the feature match of the day, the defending boys' champions, York Castle High School reported in a no-nonsense mood, scoring two tries in the first five minutes to set the tone for the rest of the final.

The boys from St Ann continued to take the game to the challengers as they built up a 36-5 half-time lead.

There was no slowing down from the “Yorkists” in the second half as they continued to turn the screws on Innswood High School.

Despite having a slightly better offensive second half, Innswood High School were never in the contest as the Kevin Dixon-coached York Castle High School team easily retained the title they won last year.

Coach Dixon was confident of the win heading into the final and was even surprised that his opponents scored a try.

“The boys stuck to the game plan for the most part, but there were times when they got exhausted. We didn't expect our opponents to score any at all, but the game is the game.”

Dixon said that winning back-to-back titles shows the mettle in the York Castle programme.

“It shows that York Castle isn't a fluke. We put in the hard work, we did the training, and we are reaping the dividends now.”

The Girls' Open Age final followed a different script as Jonathan Grant High School had to dig deep against a spirited Norman Manley High School team to secure the win.

Norman Manley High School broke the game open with a try on their first possession and quickly scored a second with a conversion to race into a 12-0 lead.

A Jonathan Grant High School try made it 12-5 soon after, signalling that there would be a real contest.

The game turned on its head late in the first half when Norman Manley High School went a player down after Gabrielle Davidson was shown a red card for foul and abusive language.

Jonathan Grant High School made the one-player advantage count, as they closed the gap on Norman Manley High School before taking the lead midway the second half through a great solo effort from Naomi Dodd.

Dodd then combined with her Captain Danielle Morrison to secure the game-winning try. After recovering the ball deep in their defensive zone, Dodd made a quick handoff to Morrison who ran almost the entire length of the field to score the try that made the result 35.21.

Norman Manley High School managed one more try at the death, but it was not enough to deny Jonathan Grant High School the win.

Raheem Sweeney described the win as a “plus” for his team.

“It is most appreciated; Our females put up a good fight. We were suffering from a lot of injuries coming into this final but the girls fight every single day, training in the mornings and going to school afterwards.

“They came into the final with their heads screwed onto their bodies. This win is a plus for our team.”

Sweeney, who coaches both Jonathan Grant High School teams, was always confident of victory in the girls' final.

“Coming from two tries down didn't shake me nor the team one bit. At the start of the competition we played Norman Manley High School and we beat them, so I know that they had it in them.

“It was the same in that game; they were leading by two tires and we came back and we won 26-19 in that game, so I knew that we could come back,” he said.

In the boys' third-place play-offs, Spanish Town High School blanked Jonathan Grant High School 39-0, while in the girls' play-off Innswood High School defeated York Castle High School 17-0.

—Dwayne Richards


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