By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
At the conclusion of Friday’s High Schools Touch Rugby Championships at the Old Recreation Grounds, Coach Sherlock “Solo” Solomon beamed with delight.
It wasn’t the fact that Elmore Stoutt and St. Georges successfully defended their U17 and U15 Division titles with 4-1 and 3-2 victories over Cedar School respectively. His delight stemmed from how rapidly the sport has grown in five years.
“Every year, this high school tournament is getting more competitive and much more serious. I think the next step for these—especially the U17s is full contact,” noted Solomon, both coach and tournament coordinator. “Aggression, technique, energy all in one and it was good rugby so I guess next year, we’ll have to carry it to another level. It was very interesting, very competitive especially among the four U17 teams.”
Elmore Stoutt overpowered Cedar 4-1 in the final. Elmore Stoutt beat Seventh Day Adventist 5-1 and St. Georges 2-1 and lost to Cedar 5-0, in the preliminary round.
Cedar played to a 2-2 draw with St. Georges and whipped Seventh Day Adventist, 7-1.
Solomon said both Stoutt and Cedar have several U19 stars, which has urged him to look at full contact for 2016. He said there were lots of skills displayed and the competition was very hot.
“It was good to see Elmore Stoutt retaining the championship. They lost the first game to the same Cedar team because a number of their top players came late, but by time they got themselves together in the afternoon, they were able to inflict a big 4-1 beating on Cedar in the final.
St. Georges retained the U15s crown with a 3-2 victory over Cedar. Solomon said he again saw a good game and Cedar has been consistent in getting to the finals. “But, St. Georges proved their mettle once again by retaining the championship,” he pointed out. “The had a good tournament as well.”
The U15 and U17 players Solomon explained are being scouted and used to develop an academy and an U19 team going forward. “Last year, we fielded an U19 team in Trinidad for the first time in regional competition. Again this summer, we have an U19 team going to play in Miami,” he pointed out. “Between the U15 and U19s, I’ve been doing some talent spotting to build our U19 team. I’m trying to get them young, so that they have at least two or three seasons in the U19 division.”