Jamaica has successfully hosted the recent British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA) National U23s.
The tourists played and won three matches against Jamaica ‘B’, the Hurricanes, and the domestic Reggae Warriors. They also participated in a 9s competition, and visited several schools, where they conducted coaching clinics and distributed balls and full sets of kit, to help the continued growth of the sport on the island.
Another major benefit of the tour was the successful staging of a match officials tutor course, overseen by the Rugby Football League referee Michael Mannifield. It was supported by the Rugby League European Federation and sees two locals, Peter Tapper and Ricardo Bramwell, become approved match official tutors able to run recognized courses.
JRLA Director of Rugby, Romeo Monteith, commented: “The BARLA U23 tour continues to provide tangible benefit to the game in Jamaica. Each time they have visited, the playing standard has risen significantly and we are becoming more and more competitive.
“Over the course of the visits they have interacted and coached hundreds of kids, which leaves a lasting impression on the young ones, both in terms of the cultural exchanges and the knowledge gained about rugby league. It is our intention to engage the BARLA secretariat in an effort to continue this very fruitful relationship.”
Meanwhile, the 12th Jamaica National Club Championship is underway with seven teams competing for the title. Defending champions Duhaney Park Red Sharks will face a challenge from runners up GC Foster Lions, Vauxhall Vultures, The Jamaica Defence Force, Spanish Town Vikings, Liguanea Dragons and new club, Washington Boulevard Bulls.
After 14 rounds, the number one seed will go straight to the semi-finals while sides two to seven will play in eliminator matches to determine the remaining top four places.
The Jamaica Defence Force defeated Vauxhall Vultures 28-14 in the opening fixture when the teams played the curtain-raiser for the Jamaica ‘A’ versus BARLA U23s game.
“Last season, over 90% of games were decided by less than 10 points which meant we had the most competitive season in our history,” Monteith added.