By Horace Mills, Journalist
There were goals, red cards, boos and celebration as Pennington Football Club created history, winning the RumBar/Lluidas Vale Corner League in St Catherine for the first time after years of missed attempts.
Rajan Wright, who captained Pennington to its 2-0 triumph over Juvenile yesterday (October 28), said: “It is a joyful feeling to know other Pennington teams tried but never succeed but we are the first ones to do this.”
The first sign of victory popped up in the 32nd minute of play when Matthew Taylor, recipient of the Man of the Match award, rattled Juvenile’s net and sent the Pennington crowd into a frenzy.
Pennington cemented dominance in the 82nd minute, courtesy of a goal from Wanard Niel, who crushed Juvenile’s hope of engineering a comeback.
Juvenile’s coach Neufville Jaghai, in a post-match interview with The Beacon, peppered the referee for what he deemed a series of poor decisions.
“Mi feel cheated and everyone has seen it; I feel hard done by the referee,” he declared, adding that his squad was even deprived of a penalty.
His case against the referee has an unlikely supporter – Wright, captain of Pennington. Wright however said the quality of refereeing was not tantamount to favouritism, adding that Pennington also suffered.
Meanwhile, Jaghai, in his broadside against the referee, further claimed that two of his Juvenile players were red-carded unjustifiably.
The referee however reported that he gave two red cards in the 75th minute – one to Kevroy Russell for ‘offensive gesture to the referee’; the other to Howayne Price for ‘insulting language to the referee’.
The red cards caused some Juvenile players to start seeing red, prompting a swift intervention by the Lluidas Vale police.
The police were not only about law enforcement during the league. They participated, albeit managing to eke out only a fourth-place finish. Blackpool beat them 1-0 yesterday in the third-place play-off courtesy of a goal from Ramane Campbell in the 20th minute of the game.
Blackpool, for finishing third, pocketed $20,000 and a trophy. Juvenile got $30,000 and a trophy, while Pennington received $50,000 and the RumBar/Lluidas Vale Football League trophy.
Alrick Rhoden from Juvenile, in the meantime, got two individual awards – Most Valuable Player of the league, and Man of the Match for the first semi-final in which his side defeated Police.
Rajan Wright is another player who got an individual award. He was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the league, surrendering only three goals. He netted one ball for his Pennington team and even saved a penalty.
Javoughn Henry is the league’s best goal scorer, scoring five goals in the three games he played for Friends Football Club.
All Stars Football Club, in the meantime, was awarded for discipline – something some Juvenile supporters did not display during the awards presentation at nightfall. They booed loudly whenever members of the winning Pennington squad collected awards.
“Let us not be unsportsmanlike,” beseeched Jacques Small, one of the six league organizers. The others are Shandel Gibbs, Christopher Brown, Wesley Thomas, Omar Davis, and Anthony Campbell.
The significance of those organizers’ effort is not lost on Hugh Graham, councillor for the Lluidas Vale Division of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation. “Sports, as we know it, is one of the unifying forces that brings people together,” Graham proclaimed during the presentation of awards.
Here are some of the moments captured on camera:
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