Scholars International Sports Club organized the first of its community fundraisers at the TE McField Annex on Saturday.
The inaugural 7-a-side football tournament, Scholars Sevens, was “a great success with around 200 players taking part,” said organizer Tom Elliot, who is also the Scholars captain.
As the day wore on, the heat and numerous games began to take its toll and the youthfulness of Academy Sports Club shone through. They finished the day undefeated and overcame a resilient Dirty Dozen to become champs.
Academy have some of the most talented youngsters in Cayman. They were relegated from the Premier League two years ago and bounced back from the First Division last term, winning the title comfortably.
Next season in the Premier League, a more mature Academy can expect to finish in the top half and relegation should not be an issue.
Gav Kane, Dirty Dozen captain, said, “Congrats to Academy on their win. They were a tough team to play and have many of Cayman’s talented youngsters playing for them. We’ll definitely be back next year, and thank [you] Scholars for organizing this great day of football.”
Elliot said, “Scholars thank their sponsors for the tournament; Tony’s toys, Flowers Water and Fidel Murphy’s. Also, a special mention to all Scholars club’s men and women who volunteered their time at the weekend.”
Scholars regained the Premier League title, from Bodden Town, last season.
Elliot puts it down the “depth in the squad, good training and talented youths contributing to the program.”
He felt the coaching staff blended together well, with Mark Beckford working on the team’s agility and Dougie Rowe working on fitness and the technical side of the game.
“It really was a team effort and the players all contributed,” Elliot said. “There was hardly two weeks in a row where we played the same team so the squad was very important this year.”
His attitude as skipper was to “just try and keep things positive and work with the players as best I can.”
Next year, Elliot said, they want to retain the league and do better in the cups.
“We also want to travel to the Caribbean Cup and will hope to proudly represent Cayman. These goals are realistic with the squad we have. Most of the players are training hard through the summer so we hope to pick up right where we left off.”
Elliot thinks the Cayman Athletic youngsters who were top for some of last season “will continue on with their improvements from last year.”
He feels they have the advantage of depth and youth and will “definitely be challenging for more silverware next year.”
The 36-year-old senior IT consultant for Rawlinson & Hunter would like to see the Cayman Islands Football Association run the league a little better.
One example Elliot used was that last year CIFA moved both cups to after Christmas “which messed the league fixtures up.”
He added, “It took us six weeks to play our last two games and that really isn’t acceptable. There’s always problems with the league fixtures as well, which makes it impossible to plan around your games.”