Scholars International stormed to the Premier League title last season and by the way they’ve started this campaign, they are going to be extremely difficult to topple.
Scholars beat George Town 2-1 on Sunday thanks to a brace by Rodrick Pearson in the 41st and 68th minutes. Tex Whitelocke had put George Town ahead in the 32nd minute.
Scholars have won all three matches so far, and part of the reason is that attacking midfield ace Damalay Howelle is in fine form. The 30-year-old Jamaican has been with the West Bay side for four years, having turned out for North Side and Roma United previously. “We are off to a great start and hopefully we can continue and defend our title,” Howelle said.
His football career began at age 9 at primary school where he excelled as a forward. “Over the years I have learned to play all positions, but I am most comfortable as a central midfielder now,” he said.
Howelle works as a tiler. He has taken football seriously since he was 13. He played for Constant Spring Under-21s at 16, claiming many trophies.
Success has followed him here too, winning the Digicel Cup, FA Cup, league and Community Shield.
As league champions, Scholars have qualified for the Caribbean Football Union Champions League against the region’s best clubs. Howelle is relishing competing on an international level.
It’s too late to play for his favorite team, Chelsea, but with the way they are playing at the moment, Howelle would slot in nicely in their midfield. His favorite players are Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane and Didier Drogba.
Howelle feels the overall state of Cayman football could be improved in many areas. He believes that the referees “lack experience”; that there is a general lack of support for teams; and players are unable to progress to higher levels elsewhere.
Tom Elliot is the Scholars captain and the other key players besides Howelle include Rodrick Pearson, Rolly Bodden and keeper Jermaine “Whacky” Brown. Elliot traded his soccer gear to compete in the triathlon last weekend as he served out a football suspension.
Howelle refuses to single out individuals for appraisal. “Everyone is important because without a good team and each player contributing we can’t win. We all win and lose together.”
Scholars take on Bodden Town at their home ground on Sunday, with kickoff at 5 p.m. Bodden Town got their first victory of the season over the weekend, beating Academy Sports Club 4-0. Justin Gregory claimed a hat trick and Kareem James scored the other.
Sunset beat Roma 1-0 through an Edward Crockett strike in the 76th minute. Elite Sports Club won by the same margin against Cayman Athletic thanks to a Mark Ebanks (29th) goal.
The early game at the TE McField Annex on Sunday sees George Town take on Sunset before Roma face Elite. Academy play Cayman Athletic in the late match at Bodden Town.
Sunset women have won both their matches so far, scoring four with none conceded. Brittney Ebanks scored Sunset’s goal as they beat Scholars 1-0. Shayla Connor and Shenel Gall scored for Elite women in their 2-0 win over Alliance.
In the Foster’s First Division, Latinos have won both their matches this season and will play Future Sports Club at Ed Bush on Saturday, with kickoff at 6 p.m. Cayman Brac are home to Savannah Tigers at 8 p.m., and at the same time, North Side are home to East End.