Hyde relieved after finally getting hands on Champions Cup
Clarendon College goalscorer Keheim Dixon (right) in a foot race with DinthillTechnical defender Brain Cole, during the ISSA/Digicel Champions Cup finalat Stadium East, last Saturday. Dixon's lone strike early in the second halfproved enough to decide the contest. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

After winning the daCosta Cup/Olivier Shield double with Clarendon College in 2018, Lenworth “Lenny” Hyde set his sights on wining the triple crown, including the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Champions Cup in 2019.

They managed to retain the two trophies they won in 2018 but saw their triple crown dream thwarted by Kingston College who beat them 1-0 in the Champions Cup final.

With no schoolboy football in 2020 Hyde and his Clarendon College team had to wait an extra year to make another attempt at winning the Champions Cup which they finally did last Saturday.

After being dumped out of the daCosta Cup by Garvey Maceo last Wednesday, Clarendon College focused their attention on the one title left on their radar and clipped Dinthill Technical 1-0 to finally land All-Island Knock-Out Trophy.

Hyde admitted that it meant a lot to him and his team to finally win the trophy.

“It means a lot to us. This one has been eluding us for a while now, so it's good for us to come out and top it off.”

Hyde revealed that his players were still smarting from the daCosta Cup loss and were desperate not to finish the season empty-handed, especially the players who are graduating.

“I think the players fought hard. The game that we lost in the daCosta Cup, this one is a motivational factor for the players. It didn't take me anything to motivate them because it's the last trophy we had a chance at winning.

“We have four players that are leaving this year. They were hell-bent on winning something before the season is up, and you see how they fought gallantly.”

For Hyde, winning the title has come with a sense of relief after chasing the trophy for so many years.

“Definitely, a sigh of relief. We have been thinking about it, we have been working hard for it, we went to the final in 2019, so it's good to top off this one,” he exclaimed

He also praised his opponents who pushed his team all the way in a keen and engaging contest.

“I love the Dinthill team. They pressured us, they played well, they play good football. They are good technical players, but we were disciplined. We defended well…they got some chances and they should have scored, but we were disciplined.

“We try and pass the ball, we had most possession, we should have created more chances, but the defensive unit of the Dinthill team was excellent,” he said.

With two rural area teams contesting the final for the very first time, Hyde says he foresees a shifting of the tide in schoolboy football in Jamaica.

“I must lift my hat to the rural coaches; they are stepping up. The playing field is getting level now because the coaches are coaching. The teams are playing better football in the rural areas, so next season will be more excitement,” he opined.

The Champions Cup final is the first of six titles to be decided over the next two weeks.

— Dwayne Richards

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