The 16th year of domestic competition has got underway in Jamaica after the long break for Covid-19 restrictions, the last two seasons lost. Eight teams will contest the men’s title, two of them newcomers in Portmore Rugby League Club and Young Crocs Academy.
In the first round of matches, Up Park Camp staged a double header with the West Kingston Hyenas beating the debutant Crocs 18-4, Omar Jones and Andrew Hylton both with two tries for the victors. Josshawn Stewart posted the Crocs points late on. In the later game, JDF Warriors were convincing winners, 44-6, over Liguanea Dragons, centre Ricardo Groves and prop Courtney Dennis each with two tries of their nine scored.
In the other round one game, defending champions Duhaney Park Red Sharks were too strong for new boys Portmore, winning 66-16 at Cedar Grove Academy. Half backs Adrian Brown, with 24 points from a try and nine goals, and scrum-half Jenson Morris, who scored a hat-trick, were dominant throughout. Ryan Grant and Adrian Thomas finished with two tries each, and for Portmore Reggae Warrior Antonio Baker claimed a hat trick.
The competition culminates in a Grand Final on Saturday, September 17, with each club playing the other once before a three round playoff system with quarter finals, semis, and the ultimate decider.
JRLA director of rugby, Romeo Monteith, commented: “We are excited to see community rugby league return, it’s almost unbelievable to start with eight teams, one more than we had before the pandemic. Young Crocs Academy and Portmore will bring fresh life and rivalries to the competition. The dark horses might well be Washington Boulevard Bulls, but expect Hyenas, Dragons and Vikings to also be knocking at the door come play-off time. The season is even more special as some of these players will be selected in the World Cup squad in October.”
In the run up to the season, Washington Blvd Bulls won the summer 9s at Cedar Grove, beating the Hyenas 8-6 in the final. In the consolation final, the Red Sharks edged JDF 18-14. There was also an appearance from St Bess Sledgehammers who lost 16-6 in the main draw semis to the Bulls.