‘It was special!’
Winning schoolboy titles has been a habit for Lenworth Hyde, but the “Teacha” was extremely proud of his students for their continued development as Clarendon College (CC) won two major titles this year.
CC showed their class on Wednesday at the National Stadium when they whipped Manning Cup Champions Mona High 4-0 to retain their ISSA Olivier Shield title, the seventh in the school’s history.
The boys from Chapleton, who added the all-island champion of champions trophy to their Dacosta Cup triumph, just missed out on a rare perfect season as their only loss came in the final of the Champions Cup to parish rivals Glenmuir High.
Hyde’s status as a Clarendon College legend continues to grow year by year as after winning schoolboy supremacy as a player in 1977, and has guided the school to nine Under-19 titles in the last five years.
However, Hyde told the Jamaica Observer that the 2023 season is one of his most unforgettable.
“For me, this season was special. To see Keheim Dixon coming from Under-14, Malachi [Douglas] coming from Under-14, [Christopher] Hull coming from Under-14 and to see them make the transition into the senior team and the daCosta Cup team, that’s what is pleasing for me,” he said.
“When you see them growing and improving every time, that’s my joy and when you practise and see them put it on the pitch, that’s also my joy. I don’t want anything much, just win,” Hyde added.
He was thoroughly impressed with the standard of play from the team, especially in the Olivier Shield final.
“Excellent season. Excellent. I told them that we can’t have the opportunity to win three titles and only end up with one so the effort was there and they were hell-bent on winning this one. Sky’s the limit for them, now they move on to college, get their things sorted out. It’s all good for the season and Clarendon College,” said Hyde.
So good were the Clarendon College side that Mona High’s Head Coach Craig Butler wants a rematch.
“The score may reflect that four goals were scored but it is why they were scored. We were trying to get the goal and pressing and putting our stronger players forward so yes, they caught us on the fly a couple times, and we made a couple mistakes but I’m proud of them, good job. They won. Clarendon have it this year, hopefully next year we’ll win Manning Cup again and we’ll get a chance to face them again and it’s not going to be the same,” Butler said.
Despite the loss, Mona High’s Principal Keven Jones couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride due to his strong connections with CC.
“We had a meeting and I told the boys ‘listen carefully, if you don’t take your chances you’re going to lose because they are a team [that] moves the ball around and when they get the opportunity, they’re going to strike. But I am the winningest principal in Jamaica at this point time because I won daCosta Cup this year as a past student, Manning Cup as a principal and the Olivier Shield as a past student, so that’s three silverware from ISSA. So what ISSA needs to give me now is an honorarium from the millions from what they’ve collected and make me a happy principal. Congratulations to Clarendon College, Coach Lenny Hyde and Principal David Wilson, very happy for them. I’m happy too that the school that actually defeated Mona is my past school and nobody else, so I’m good,” said Jones.
With the 2023 chapter of Under-19 football coming to a close, Clarendon College now boasts an even more enviable trophy cabinet with a total of 23 titles consisting of 11 daCosta Cups, seven Olivier Shields, four Ben Francis Cups and one Champions Cup.