CMU Dominant
Caribbean Maritime University (CMU Spartans) are now joint top of the table in the Intercollegiate rugby league Championship after scoring a convincing 44-04 win over the University of Technology (UTech Knights) in Round 2 last Thursday. CMU never trailed in the game and was led by former U17 Jamaican international Orlando Messado, who racked up 12 points from 3 tries. Marlon Nunes, Shaqueil Pollock, Reinhardo Richards, Giovanne Salve, Chawn Henry, Howayne Mattis and Adrian Brown all scored a try each to complete the win and put their team on 6 points from 2 wins. Johnoy Rattrey was the sole try scorer for UTech  are bottom on table on 0 points from consecutive losses.

The level of CMU’s dominance in this one might be a bit surprising to some. This UTech team, although rebuilding, is no push over with the likes of the explosive Jenson Morris and talented young hooker Kyle Nembhard, formerly of Calabar. Veterans Johnoy Rattray, Seth Ximmines and Akel Johnson are also all in the team. Powerful forward Joel Simmonds, formerly of Mico,, is also in the squad. The balance of the team is a mixture of new and inexperienced players but their failure to fire on attack in their last two games must have coach Ricardo Bramwell slightly worried.

UTech vs CMU

Meanwhile, CMU’s coach Linval Green and Sports coordinator Stephan Williams must be pleased with their opening wins. CMU have attracted some quality players to the institution and the rapid upgrade has resulted in immediate improvement. The dangerous Orlando Messado is already proving a handful by himself, combined with twin towers Marlon Nunes and Kevin Thomas, they seem almost unstoppable up the middle. In former Kingston College standout Kishony Campbell  they possess a knowledge and skillful hooker to lead. On the fringes, Reinhardo Richards, Adrian Brown  and Nick Thomas has speed to burn and this team will take some stopping.

UWI fight back to claim win
The University Of The West Indies (UWI Pelicans) joined CMU on 6 points with a close 22-16 win at home over The Mico University College (Mico Crocs) on Saturday. UWI raced to an early 8 point lead with tries from Mario Patterson and Jordan Martin in the first half. Mico then exploded with 16 straight points in the first fifteen minutes of the second period when Devar Lard, Reardon Grant and Tremaine McIntosh all crossed for tires and Dominic Brown kicked 2 goals.

UWI then surged in the last 20 minutes to snatch the game; first to score was Second Row Shane Miller whose try pegged back the score to 12-16. Next, was National player Adrian Hall who took over the game in the final fifteen minutes, scoring 8 points. First, he bullied his was to a try under the sticks on minute 68, he easily converted the goal for an 18-16 UWI lead. Mico pushed hard to regain the lead but came up with several errors instead. Two of those mistakes resulted in penalties that Hall punished with two goals to seal the win.

Mico is still in the rebuilding phase after dominating the college scene with 4 Championship wins from 6 consecutive finals appearance between 2012-2017. Former Jamaica U19 player Adolph Gayle is the engine of the team and has found some success with combining with former St Catherine High players  Kwame Blake, Dominic Brown and Shemar Henry. They have plenty of pace in rookie Romario Pennant  and Oraine Corney. In the middle, 2nd year player Jeffrey Stoddart and Denniston Bryan seem capable of mixing it up with any team. But overall, the squad seems short on experience. The matches against EXED and CMU will tell a lot about whether this team can be a true contender in 2019.

UWI might well be the dark horses of the competition. The were surprise finalists in the 9s held last November and are a surprise  2 from 2. They have plenty of with rugby league experience. Former Campion standout  Akeem Kitson is dangerous on the wing while Delano Jarrett, David Williams, Romario Bartley and Hakeem Richards are all knowledgeable players holding the middle firm. Their ace player Adrian Hall will have his hands full trying to keep the offence firing since the experienced Michael Pearson seems out of contention for the season. Don’t be surprised if UWI is a contender come April.

EXED shock GC Foster Grand Finals Rematch
In a rematch of last year’s Grand Finals, Excelsior Community College (EXED Eagles) pulled off a shock 36-28 win over defending champions GC Foster College (GC Lions). EXED was led by the Owen Linton and Akeem Murray with 8 points each from 2 tries. Other try scorers were Daniel Gordon, Klifton Anderson and To-Wayne Dawkins with one each. Goals came from Javian Bryan (3) and Donhue Sinclair (1). For GC Foster, Devon Thomas amassed 16 points from 2 tries and 4 goals. Meanwhile Miguel Crowl, Devonte Clarke and Adrian Thomas had a try apiece.

GC Foster’s form should be worrying to coach Marlando Anderson. Whilst their attack has shown glimpses of brilliance with the likes of Quamie Green and Devon Thomas,  their seem defensive abilities seem seriously in doubt. They are quite a mobile team but just seem to lack that physically in the middle. Talent exudes from this team and the likes of Quincy Jones and Miguel Crowl out wide, they should have enough fire power to crawl from the immense hole they are digging themselves into.

EXED as always seem like the real deal. Based on squad composition and start to the season, one can easily see them locking down a Semis berth and being in line to challenge once more for the title. Plenty of talent can be found in this unit, the like of national player Owen Linton, the experienced Sheldon Kelly, Daniel Barrett, Akeem Murray, Leonardo Matthis  and Klifton Anderson gives this squad plenty of attacking and defensive capabilities. They mixed it up well with the CMU super team in Rd 1 and that confidence should carry into the rest of the competition, as evidenced by their comfortable win over GC Foster. Coach Roy Calvert should be well pleased.

Round 3
(All games at 3:30pm)
CMU Spartans UWI Pelicans at Mona Bowl (Thur. Feb. 7)
Mico Crocs V. EXED Eagles at Excelsior Community College (Sat. Feb 9)
UTech Knights V GC Foster Lions at UTech (Sat. Feb 9)