Caribbean Maritime University Spartans won the inaugural JRLA New Year 9s by defeating Kingston Central Hounds 18-14 in close and exciting finals on Saturday, January 12 at the Duhaney Park Mini Stadium. CMU was the only University team in the competition and surprisingly got the better of the 5 community clubs that also participated in the tournament to kick start rugby league in 2019.

Hounds struck first through winger Lawrence Drummond, however, CMU responded with converted tries from Adrian Thomas and Linval Green to carry a 12-4 lead into half time. In the second half Hounds pressed early and was rewarded when Adolph Gayle powered through the middle of CMU’s defence to score a converted try. With CMU holding a precarious 12-10 lead, they again found the try line though Miguel Facey and his brother Mikail Facey converted the kick for an 18-10 lead with three minutes on the clock.

Though behind, Hounds kept pressing in the dying moments and were rewarded when Mohenjo Thompson scored in the far right corner, the conversion was missed and the game hung precariously at 18-14 in favour of the Spartans with 1 minute remaining. CMU came up with an error on their next possession and Hounds had one final chance to snatch victory or a draw, however, their own error on the last play of the game saw the referee disallow the miracle try they desperately needed and saw the Spartans erupt in glee at claiming the inaugural Trophy. Miguel Facey was judged Tournament MVP.
Duhaney Park Red Sharks had a strong showing to claim 3rd place with a 24-6 win over Mountain View Eagles. Meanwhile, Cedar Grove Cyclones claimed the Bowl segment of the tournament with a 18 to 14 win over Portmore Eliminators to finish 5th overall.

Stephan Gibbs, Sports Coordinator at CMU commented:
“Our game plan was to stay disciplined and maintain our composure. We wanted to keep it simple as we have a strong team and knew if we had enough possession we would be victorious. We really wanted to win this one as well and continue to show the University that once they invest in the team we will do well in all competitions we take part in.”