The Cayman Islands Premier League will see a new name on the coveted championship trophy because reigning title holders Bodden Town are too far behind to retain it.
This season promised to be an exceptionally exciting one because the teams were so evenly matched – and so it has proved.
After 18 matches and with only three to go, Scholars International are now top of the table, with 34 points, three ahead of Elite Sports Club.
Sunset started the campaign hesitantly, yet are now third, with 26 points, ahead only on goal difference from Cayman Athletic. But Sunset have played 17, one game less than Athletic.
Bodden Town (24) are fifth, Roma United (19) sixth, one point ahead of George Town and Cayman Brac are bottom on 14 points but have a game in hand.
Scholars forged ahead in the title race with a 4-0 victory over Bodden Town on Sunday. Rolly Bodden scored his third hat-trick for Scholars since joining the West Bay side in January from Elite. An own goal was the fourth goal.
Scholars have a tricky trip to the Brac on Saturday and are playing a team desperate for points to avoid an immediate return to the First Division.
Scholars’ last two games are against Athletic and Roma. Elite have a tougher draw with games against Athletic, Bodden Town and Sunset.
Scholars were struggling until they made some inspirational signings in the January transfer window, Rolly Bodden being the best one.
Mario Watler, general secretary of Scholars, said, “None of the remaining matches are easy but neither are Elite’s. I’m pretty sure we can stay ahead and win the title.”
This season has been a transitional one for Scholars and technical director Dougie Rowe. He is relying on stalwarts like midfielder Demarley Howell, defender Tom Elliot and keeper Jermaine “Wacky” Brown and cleverly introduced talented youngsters from their youth program, as well as seasoned players from other clubs.
Sunday’s other matches saw Sunset beat George Town 1-0, Alfredo Challenger scored, and Athletic drew 1-1 with Roma. David Connolly scored for Athletic and Steve Dunkley for Roma.
Connolly remains the league’s top scorer with 15 strikes, one ahead of Dwayne “Gaza” Wright (Elite). Rolly Bodden is now third in the scoring charts on 10.
George Town play Bodden Town in the early match at the TE McField Annex on Sunday before Athletic face Elite. Roma face Sunset at BT’s ground at 7 p.m.