Scholars International have started the Premier League football season in fine style and this time they have promised not to be inconsistent as they did so unexpectedly last term.
Scholars cruised to the league title two years ago, went on pre-season tour to Cuba to prepare to successfully defend it but only showed patchy form and had to concede to Elite in the league and saw George Town win both cups.
Strengthened by the return of Nahun Rodriguez who was at Tigers last season and the addition of Tom Elliot from Sunset, Dominic Pearson, Wayne ‘Bigga’ Smith, Lennox Bryan and Donald ‘Naddy’ Solomon Jnr, Scholars have a much stronger squad this time and the results reflect that. They were 2-0 down to Bodden Town on Sunday but bounced back to win 3-2. BT’s goals came from Arvid Harris and Jorronie McLean and Scholars replied through Oneil Taylor, Mark Ebanks and Nahun Rodriguez.
Scholars have won four and drawn the other one in their five games and have 13 points. Elite are second on 10 points, then BT, Roma United and George Town all on seven points. Tigers are next on six points, then Cayman Athletic on four and Future Sporting Club bottom with only one point.
Bodden Town coach Elbert McLean felt they could have held on to their lead had captain Yefrey Calderon not been sent off. “The red card changed the pattern of the game,” he said. “It was unfortunate.”
Richard Encuma Brown, aka ‘Bulla’ is a Scholars central defender. He said: “Our attitude is that we’re going all the way this season. We’re not just good enough to win the league but also both cups too. We have strength in depth, including some excellent players in the youth squad we can call on.
“My form has been good from all the training I did with the national team and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Mario Watler is Scholars International team manager and occasional coach. He said: “I see us as ending up as champs. We don’t expect to have a dip in December as most teams usually do. One way or the other, the title is coming back to West Bay, either with us or with Elite.”
In other matches, Tigers drew with Roma United 1-1. Loren Bennett was on target for Tigers and Kevin ‘Tikki’ McField got Roma’s goal. George Town beat Cayman Athletic 2-1. Fabian Malcolm got both GT strikes and Carlos Welcome scored for coach Gillie’s side.
Elite beat Future 2-1 through goals from Jairo Sanchez and Calvin Jefford. Denver Barnes got Future’s goal. Coach Roy ‘Huta’ Ebanks continues to rely on players drawn only from the West Bay community so is always at a disadvantage. “I had five players under the age of 18 playing on Sunday,” he said. “But I will always stick to my philosophy. I feel like Arsene Wenger, having to rely heavily on youngsters. The only difference is he’s got money I haven’t!”
Premier League matches continue this weekend. At the TE McField Annex on Sunday 30 October, Elite face Cayman Athletic at 5pm and Tigers take on the rampant Scholars International at 7pm. At the Bodden Town field, the local side face Future at 5pm and Roma battle with George Town in the 7pm game.