Excelsior Community College Eagles claimed the ninth Jamaica Rugby League Association Intercollegiate Championship, defeating Caribbean Maritime University Spartans 22-18 at the University of West Indies Mona Bowl.
Having lost their previous two Grand Finals appearances, the team from Mountain View made amends in a match that was dubbed as one of the best ever seen at this level in Jamaica.
Winning coach Roy Calvert said: “The boys really wanted this one; their preparation was geared towards improving every game. It was pleasing to see almost all the players playing their best game in the Grand Final when it mattered most, although I commend CMU for a real high quality game.”
Excelsior’s main strike threat was Akeem Murray, whose sniping runs and passes from dummy half earned him MVP honours.
CMU scored first after five minutes when powerful center Shaquiel Pollack crashed over on the left edge, Alpachini Mignott converting. EXED responded in spectacular style with 16 unanswered points as Murray, Donhue Sinclair, Towayne Dawkins and Kahil Green all posted unconverted tries by the break.
CMU came out a different team in the second half and launched a series of raids which paid dividends when Orlando Messado and Cares Stephenson powered their way over in a six minute spell, Mignott converting both to put his side 18-16 ahead with 25 minutes remaining.
Both sides had a number of chances to score, CMU’s Messado and EXED’s Joseph Berry losing the ball over the line, leaving the decider delicately poised with 10 minutes remaining, EXED scrum-half Owen Linton posting the game breaker when he crossed from close in and Green added the extras .
GC Foster College claimed third place with a close-fought 28-22 victory over the University of the West Indies Pelicans. GC Foster was led by Adrian Thomas who bagged two tries, while Joseph Starr and Shane Miller scored a brace each for UWI.