John A. Cumber Primary claimed the first silverware of the new CUC Primary Football League season on Saturday.
The West Bay school defeated Cayman Prep in the final of the Opening Rally at the T.E. McField Sports Complex (Annex Field) in George Town.
In what turned out to be an unusually scorching October day, John A. Cumber Primary’s resilience carried them through the day, overcoming Savannah Primary, Grace Academy and St. Ignatius Prep to top Group D and move onto the quarter-finals.
A stubborn Bodden Town Primary outfit was all that separated them from a berth in the semis and true to form the game was an intense encounter with neither team able to score.
It was the dreaded penalties, which finally decided a winner with John A. Cumber pulling out the victory to advance to the semis and a date with Truth for Youth.
In the other zone, Cayman Prep’s journey to the finals was not an easy one. An opening defeat to Prospect Primary meant the Prep boys needed victories in their second and third games against East End Primary and North Side Primary respectively to ensure their place in the quarter finals.
A hard fought 1-0 over East End and an easier 3-0 victory over North Side booked Cayman Prep’s place in the quarters to face Cayman International School.
It took yet another set of penalties to decide this quarter-final encounter as Cayman Prep outlasted Cayman International School and advance to the semis to meet Triple C, winners of Group B.
With four teams remaining and the afternoon shadows creeping across the ‘new’ hallowed turf of the Annex Field, the tiredness, soreness, aches and pains accumulated from the day’s activities were quickly forgotten about as the little weekend warriors set out to finish what they had started roughly seven hours earlier.
Cayman Prep again displayed their never-say-die attitude as they outlasted a spirited Triple C team 2-1 in sudden death penalties to claim the first spot in the finals. Not to be outdone, John A. Cumber Primary battled to a 2-0 victory over an inexperienced, but always enthusiastic Truth For Youth side in the second semi-final.
Prior to the big game, Triple C claimed third place after a hard fought 2-1 win over beaten semi-finalists Truth For Youth. For those fans of ‘the powerful game’ who chose to stay and see out the final game of the 2009/2010 Opening Rally, the encounter was a fitting conclusion to what amounted to be a yet another great day of youth football.
With both teams notably absent from recent championship games, winning this tournament could possibly signify a re-birth of sorts for two of the better and most successful primary school football programmes over the past five or so years.
With tiredness now a factor, both sets of players gave it their all and competed to the very end giving no quarter in their quest for the coveted title.
It was John A. Cumber who broke the deadlock late in the second half after it looked as though another penalty shootout would settle this highly competitive encounter.
Leading 1-0 with time running out, it was simply a matter of holding onto the ball and avoiding any mistakes in the back.
With the final whistle signalling the end of the rally, the West Bay fans converged on their heroes lofting them to the heavens, and at the same time, congratulating their opponents on an excellent performance.
Organiser Neil Murray said: ‘Special thanks to the officials – Gary Whittaker, Livingston Bailey and Dwayne Ebanks – who braved the day’s heat and shared responsibility for all 26 games.
‘Special mention to the players, coaches and parents of Grace Academy, who performed admirably in Group D while competing with an all Under-9 team. Special thanks to Le Bleu and Progressive Distributors, the Primary Football League’s continued providers of water and Gatorade respectively.
‘The PFL’s regular season kicks-off this weekend at venues across the island. Do your part and support our young superstars this and every Saturday morning.’
- For more information, contact: Neil Murray at Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. Tel: 914-1110 Email: [email protected]