Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Tivoli Gardens, for the second time this season, downed neighbours Arnett Gardens 3-1, but the manner in which they did it on this occasion would certainly have sent a message to their other rivals in the Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League (WNJPL).

Not only did Tivoli Gardens have to come from behind in the marquee Monday night encounter at the Stadium East Field, but they did so at a numerical disadvantage in tough underfoot conditions caused by evening showers.

The West Kingston team was spurred by a brace from former Arnett Gardens winger Steve Clarke (76th and 80th), and a long overdue strike from the league's joint leading scorer Justin Dunn (73rd), after they lost substitute Howard Morris to a straight red card in the 61st. Fabian Reid had earlier put Arnett Gardens in front in the 57th minute.

With the win, which extended their unbeaten run across four matches, Tivoli's Gardens inched up to fourth on 34 points, while Arnett Gardens, who had their three-match unbeaten run snapped, slipped to fourth on 33 points.

Winning coach Jerome Waite welcomed Clarke's impact on his return to the league.

"Despite the fact that we weren't prepared where the proper footing is concerned, the result ended in our favour. I spoke about the players who came in through the transfer market and today you saw what those players basically have to offer," Waite said, adding that losing Morris didn't affect their game plan much.

"The only change was that we had a three-pronged attack, and we asked one of those players to sit in the midfield. These players, the worked that they put in leading up to this game, showed here and it can only can better as the season progresses," he noted.

Arnett Gardens dominated proceedings for most of the first half and had a few openings from which they should have opened the scoring but failed to make them count. After Warner Brown skied a left-footed effort from deep inside the 18-yard box, Keheim Dixon, had a clear 12th-minute opportunity in a one-on-one situation with Tivoli Gardens goalkeeper Diego Haughton, but fired his effort into the crossbar.

With very little going Tivoli Gardens way, Dunn tried his luck from a distance, but Asher Hutchinson in goal for Arnett Gardens, got down well to his right to parry.

Reid also had a grand opportunity to break the deadlock in the 27th minute when he went on a break and dismissed Haughton, who strayed off his line, but the Arnett Gardens captain was undone by the conditions, as the score remained goalless at the break.

However, Reid made amends for his earlier slip up and sent the ‘Junglists’ in front 12 minutes into the resumption, as he got on the end of a Jamone Shepherd pass and fired past Haughton, who again strayed off his line and was caught in no man's land.

Along with the lead, Arnett Gardens also had a numerical advantage when Morris was sent for an early shower by referee Oshane Nation, but seemingly got complacent, and were punished for it. This, as Tivoli Gardens went rampant in the final 20 minutes of the contest and were assisted by some shoddy defending by their opponents.

The West Kingston team’s fortunes turned when a well-struck 71st-minute freekick by substitute Vishinul Harris, was kept out parried by Hutchinson and Shepherd senselessly felled Alton Lewis inside the danger area.

Dunn, who endured a lengthy goal drought after his blistering start to the season, stepped up and converted from the 12-yard spot to pull Tivoli Gardens level with his 10th goal of the season.

From there, it was the Steve Clarke show, as the former Arnett Gardens man doubled the lead three minutes later when he got on the end of Harris’s delightful through-pass and fired past Hutchinson on a second attempt.

Clarke then completed his brace and the victory for Tivoli Gardens when he finished a right-footer with aplomb, after Arnett Gardens failed to clear their lines from Shaquille Jones’s cross.

Arnett Gardens' Head coach Xavier Gilbert believed they were undone by a lack of proper game management. 

"I think we made some poor decisions around the back, but credit to Tivoli Gardens for the way they came at us because I think we managed the game poorly and we have to be smarter than that. We were a goal up and a man up and I just don't think we made good decisions, so it's just unfortunate and we just have move on...bounce back quickly and a move on," Gilbert said.

Matchweek 17 Results

Lime Hall Academy 1, Treasure Beach FC 0

Montego Bay United 2, Vere United 0

Portmore United 1, Dunbeholden 1

Mount Pleasant FA 1, Molynes United 1

Waterhouse 0, Cavalier FC 1

Humble Lion 2, Harbour View 4

Tivoli Gardens 3, Arnett Gardens 1

With another display of his tremendous riding prowess, Jamaican-born United States-based jockey Shaun Bridgmohan registered his first ever win on Jamaican soil, with a come-from-behind effort aboard Phillip Feanny’s Fearless Soul, in Division One of the George HoSang Trophy at Caymanas Park on Saturday.

Bridgmohan’s 4-1/2 lengths triumph with the four-year-old chestnut colt, in the Restricted Allowance IV contest for native-bred four-year-olds and upward (non-winners of three) and imported four-year-olds and upward (non-winners of two), over five and a half furlongs (1,100m), marked another milestone in a decorated career –his 3,400th career win –and where better to have secured it that in the land of his birth.

The 44-year-old jockey, a Spanish Town native, who migrated to the United States at age of 13, dedicated the win to his father Gerald, who was unable to make the trip.

“It is nice to come down here and win a race. I want to thank my trainer Mr. Feanny for giving me the opportunity to ride a nice little horse today. Obviously, I couldn’t mess it up because he had him in great shape, so all I had to do was just keep him out of trouble,” Bridgmohan told SportsMax in a post-race interview.

“I watched him (Fearless Soul) race the last time he won, and he seemed like he was a much better horse on the outside, so my strategy going in was just to keep him wide and give him a clear path. When I pushed the trigger, he accelerated so fast and I thought I asked him a little too soon, but I just followed through. Dad this one is for you, and I love you,” he added.

Breaking from the number two draw, Bridgmohan and Fearless Soul, the 4-5 favourite, were slow from the gate and their trouble was compounded as they were crowded for space in the early exchanges.

With Strike Smart (Phillip Parchment) and Loyal Action (Tevin Foster) setting some decent early fractions of 23.2 and 47.2 seconds, it wasn’t until they left the half-mile (800m) point, that Bridgmohan and Fearless Soul found some racing room, and launched their attack from there.

After Strike Smart turned for home first, Bridgmohan and Fearless Soul entered the stretch run three wide with Royal Ash (Raddesh Roman) for company. However, with just a few more shake of the hands, followed by a flash of the whip by Bridgmohan, Fearless Soul easily rounded rivals and sprinted away in the final furlong to win in a final time of 1:07.2.

Strike Smart, Royal Ash and She’s Myhedgefund (Trevor Simpson), completed the frame behind the Balkrishen Sagan-Maraj-owned charge.

Meanwhile, Tevin Foster, who starred on the day with a dazzling four-timer, won Division Two of the George HoSang Trophy aboard Paul Swaby’s Kem in a time of 1:08.2.

His other winners on the nine-race programme were Howard Jaghai;s Speed On Wheels in the Eight Thirty Sprint; She’s A Godgift for trainer Leroy Tomlinson, and the Rohan Crichton-conditioned Bern Notice.

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda says the value of their renewed partnership with Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) goes beyond money, as his organization advocates and understands that greater currency is derived from social investment in the human capital and infrastructure of sport, athletes, coaches and administrators.

This, as the extended five-year partnership valued at $75 million represents a significant boost towards the country’s preparations for international competitions, including the Olympic Games in Paris, later this year.

“This five-year cash investment at a value of $75 million will fulfill that purpose and serve to build out the Olympic infrastructure in a substantive way, while facilitating talent in transitioning to the greatest stage, the Olympic stage, where aspirations in sport will be realized, as we at the JOA, engender in stakeholders, responsible citizenship in sport,” Samuda told SportsMax.TV shortly after the signing at the JOA’s headquarters on Friday.

Samuda stated that reshaping the JOA to broaden involvement is the paradigm of the current executive, as he pointed to the SVL’s increased investment, from its previous $45 million agreement over three years, as a testament of their belief in, and by extension, commitment to the movement. Besides athletics, numerous other sporting disciplines will be hunting qualification to the Paris Games.

“The renewal of this multi-million partnership between the Jamaica Olympic Association and Supreme Ventures Limited at a significant increased value, demonstrates corporate confidence in the Jamaica Olympic Association, and SVL’s unwavering commitment to the Olympic movement and indeed sport. But its value goes beyond money,” Samuda shared.

“The activations which will be carried out under this partnership will demonstrate innovation in the delivery of sports, specific skills in areas including education, coaching, business and commerce, governance and management, science and technology, as well as branding and marketing. All this while giving strategic support to events, all with the objective of blueprinting the creation of a local sport industry which is an imperative of economic development,” he added.

Meanwhile, SVL’s Executive Chairman, Gary Peart, said the decision to renew their sponsorship was made as a commitment to Jamaica’s athletes. He also credited the JOA for their efforts and transparency throughout their partnership.

“They sold us on a vision, they updated along the way in terms of what the results have been, and it’s been an exceptional journey. We took the decision 18 months ago that we’d renew, it was just a matter of how the renewal would be," Peart said.

"We sponsor several initiatives in our business on an annual basis and JOA ranks in the top one or two in terms of what the whole process is, the returns, etc. Ultimately, this money helps not just the Olympic movement but athletes and their ability to shine on the international stage, and hopefully get gold when they participate. We at SVL, we’re just happy to assist with that,” he noted.

Peart also announced that SVL will be giving Jamaicans the opportunity to attend the games in France through various promotions to be announced in the coming weeks.

Shanice Beckford knew adjusting to life in Australia would take some doing, but knowing the opportunity that was there to be grasped, she did not hesitate to make the move when West Coast Fever called.

Just as Beckford expected, the first two weeks in Perth took its toll, but she is just about getting ready to turn the proverbial corner ahead of what she hopes will be a very successful debut stint in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League.

“The first two weeks were difficult for me, but I must say it has been quite fun. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a strong emphasis on family-oriented activities. I'm really loving the environment so far. Despite some initial struggles with my sleeping patterns, I'm gradually settling in. Overall, everything is going pretty well and I'm feeling quite content with my decision to join this club,” Beckford told SportsMax.TV.

To her credit, Beckford adapted quite quickly and judging by her bubbly and energetic movements in training so far, the talented goal-attack is merely just getting started where taking on a significant workload and displaying her usual craftiness on court is concerned as she fits into the new environment.

“I am learning to be patient with myself and to trust my coaches, teammates, and the process as I gradually work my way into the team. I am taking my time to improve and find my place in the different combinations,” Beckford shared.

“Although, I am still adjusting to the time zone, when it comes to training, it's a whole different ball game. Moreover, it's been good as I have enough time to recover, and I don’t have to worry about rushing to work or getting home late at night, like the challenges we face back home in Jamaica. I felt like after the first two weeks, everything became a little easier to handle,” she added.

Despite the fact that she has honed her skills in a fairly successful career spanning 10 years, Beckford, 28, was eager to not only parade her skills in the SSN, but also to continue her development outside of the Sunshine Girls setup, and for her West Coast Fever represents the perfect fit.

“Being in this environment will provide me with the necessary structural skills and resources to unlock a new level of potential in my netball career. So far, it's been going well, although, I can’t stress this enough, the first two weeks were a bit of a struggle as I had to get back into the groove and adapt to the standards and way of playing of the Fever team. However, I'm getting there and I'm pretty excited to see how much this experience will enhance my skillset and develop me as a player by the end,” the soft-spoken player noted.

With the start of the season still just over two months out, Beckford expressed excitement at the prospects for her and Fever’s teammates – which includes compatriots Jhaniele Fowler and Kadie-Ann Dehaney –to find success and, by extension, lay a solid foundation for a possible future at the club, as she has not ruled out the idea of an extension on her one-year contract.

The Dan Ryan-coached West Coast Fever, which won the title in 2022, will open their campaign in this, the eight edition of the SSN against Giants on April 13.

“I'm feeling very optimistic about this fresh crop of girls. It's an entirely new-look team, with many new players joining the ranks alongside some of our more seasoned members. Despite the differences in experience and style, we're blending together seamlessly and making excellent progress so far,” Beckford said. 

“So, I am prepared to do my best to get the job done, no matter what condition I am in. Everyone wants to play in the finals at the end of the season, but I know it won't be easy. Therefore, I am keeping an open mind, embracing the journey, and taking things one session at a time and it will be the same approach come game time,” she declared.

Having so far achieved all that she set out to when she just launched her career as an 18-year-old, Beckford pointed out that adding a SSN title to her accolades, would be the icing on top.

She has so far won Commonwealth Games medals in 2014, 2018 and 2022, along with Fast5 medals in 2013, 2017 and 2018, as well as a Netball World Cup medal last year. All this is complemented by her 2015 stint in England’s Superleague.

“Personally, winning the SSN title would be an incredible moment that I wouldn't be able to explain right now. Let’s just say it would be the icing on the cake, and I know the West Coast Fever family would be thrilled with the victory,” she ended.

Having watched the Kraigg Brathwaite-captained Test team defy the odds in the second of their two-match series against Australia, West Indies One-Day International captain Shai Hope is optimistic that his unit will not only continue that momentum, but more importantly, replicate the feat in their three-match series.

There was much talk about the Test team and its seven uncapped players, among them rising fast bowler Shamar Joseph, who braved a toe injury to snare a seven-wicket haul and lead West Indies to a famous eight-run win –their first in Australia in 27 years.

With the excitement of that victory still very much fresh in the air, Hope and is unit, which includes five players from the Test squad, is intent on extending the celebrations.

The three-match series bowls off on Thursday at 10:30pm.

“It was a very inspiring win that they had in the last Test. It’s great momentum for us, of course it’s a different format, but great signs for us to continue what happened in the last Test in this ODI series,” Hope said in a pre-game press conference.

“It (the mood in the camp) is pretty good. Everyone's up and ready to roll. Seeing some of these grounds here in Australia, that in itself (makes you) want to play cricket so the guys are upbeat and ready to go,” he added.

It was a mixed bag for West Indies last year where results are concerned with their failed World Cup qualifying campaign and a loss to India at the height of their disappointments. However, they rebounded with 3-0 and 2-1 series victories over United Arab Emirates (UAE) and England, followed by a stalemate with South Africa.

Despite the fact that they have won seven of 12 ODIs last year, Hope is mindful that West Indies is yet to beat Australia in a series in almost three decades.

“Like we always say in the dressing room, every game matters, not necessarily about series or an opponent. You have to take every single game as a final and it's nice to see that the guys are really taken to the new system and the we're trying to play our cricket. So yeah, it's just one game at a time and then the results will take care of themselves,” Hope noted.

That said, Hope welcomed the challenge for his fairly inexperienced squad, which includes eight players with 10 or less ODIs under their belts, as they commence the rebuilding phase to towards possible qualification for the next ODI World Cup in four years. Teddy Bishop and Tevin Imlach are both uncapped.

“Yeah, it's I think it's great to widen that pool and what is a better way to start a career than here in Australia for some of the guys. But yes, I think four years seems like a long time, but it really isn't and as much games as these guys can play over that span, I think it's going to widen the pool and then give us a headache when that time comes to hopefully select a strong squad, and then they would also gain a lot more experience with that time,” Hope, who has been at the helm for almost a year declared.

WEST INDIES – Shai Hope (captain), Alzarri Joseph, Alick Athanaze, Teddy Bishop, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Matthew Forde, Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Gudakesh Motie, Kjorn Ottley, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.

AUSTRALIA – Steve Smith (captain), Travis Head, Sean Abbott, Xavier Bartlett, Nathan Ellis, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Matt Short, Adam Zampa

With the country basically in a rebuilding phase where getting swimmers back on the Olympic stage is concerned, Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) president Lance Rochester says the immediate focus of his administration is to provide the necessary backing to top level athletes, who boast the potential to achieve the feat.

Apart from decorated five-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, only Timothy Wynter and Keanan Dols, who showed at the 2016 and 2020 Games in Rio and Tokyo respectively, have made the step forward in recent times. But with all three now retired, it is left to be seen if and when other Jamaican swimmers will appear on that big stage.

While there are a number of prospects namely Kito Campbell, Zaneta Alvaranga, Sidrell Williams, Emily MacDonald, Sabrina Lyn, Nathaniel Thomas, Kaheem Lozer and Kyle Sinclair, Rochester is well aware that along with hard work, the swimmers –particularly those in universities –also require support, financial and otherwise, to bring their Olympic dream to fruition.

Outside of Williams, who will be hunting qualification to this year’s Paris Olympic Games at the 28th Karl Dalhouse Memorial Invitational Meet, the others are first- and second-year students all in strong university programmes, which include gym and sports psychology.

However, financial assistance could provide an avenue for those swimmers to travel to highly-competitive swim meets in the Americas to further improve their craft.

“Swimming has very, very bright prospects for Jamaica. Not just swimming, but all aquatic sports. What we're focused on now is providing the best investments to those athletes at the elite level who are vying for placement within the Paris Olympic Games and the Olympic cycle right after that,” Rochester told SportsMax.TV during the launch of the Karl Dalhouse meet on Tuesday.

“So, the question is how to invest in them, how to provide them with the right competition experience, locally and overseas, and also the investments in terms of technology and high performance that they will need, so that’s what we are focused on that right now,” he added.

At the same time, Rochester explained that they also have sights set on a long-term project which includes an expansion of swim programmes to both unearth and develop talent right across the island.

“So, we are meeting with regard to our expansion programme targeting more pools, to find the talent that exists in our learn to swim programme and develop it appropriately over time. This of course is a 20-year project, but we're embarking on that starting now,” he shared.

On that note, Rochester pointed to the significance of swim meets such as the Karl Dalhouse Memorial Invitational in the development of age group swimmers, in particular.

This year’s staging of the meet hosted by Y-Speedos Swim Club, serves as a qualifier to the Paris Olympic Games, and will see over 500 swimmers, including those from four clubs in the Cayman Islands and Florida, parade their skills over three days from Friday (February 2) to Sunday (February 4).

“The Karl Dalhouse meet is exceptionally important and has been for many athletes over the years. Many coaches will time this meet in terms of qualification needs for bigger events. Many coaches will time this meet to ensure their athlete peaks at the right time. It's exceptionally well-organized, well supported by some very fast swimmers overseas and it augurs well for the development of our swimming in Jamaica that we have meets as important as these and others as well,” the president declared.

Finally, Rochester, who recently took office stressed the need for corporate sponsorship, which he said will be critical in terms of achieving their goals to invest in swimmers among other things.

“We are looking to demonstrate to corporate Jamaica why the ASAJ is a great investment opportunity. Swimming, yes, but all our eight aquatic disciplines, how we manage our governance our transparency, our accountability, what we're able to deliver to our athletes with learn to swim, nutrition, sports psychology and producing great athletes over the long term. So, we're encouraging our partners to come on board with us and support us in this mission to develop Jamaica,” Rochester ended.

While pleased with aspects of their team’s display in the first warm-up contest, Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 Men’s Head coach Brian Haynes and his Jamaican counterpart John Wall are optimistic of a more efficient display from their respective units when the two teams meet again on Thursday.

The young Soca Warriors edged the young Reggae Boyz 3-2 in the first contest at the University of TT, O'Meara Campus recently, with Lindell Sween, Levi Jones and Michael Chaves on target for the hosts, while Jahmani Bell and Demarion Harris, pulled things back for Jamaica.

That contest, both coaches believe, not only provided the impetus needed to finalize selection of their respective squads for next month’s Caribbean phase of the Concacaf Under-20 Men’s Championships, as they only had a few training sessions prior, which doesn’t necessarily assist in highlighting the true competitive nature and, by extension, cohesiveness of the teams.

Haynes expressed satisfaction with the progress of his players, especially as he explored different combinations.

"As far as I am concerned the exercise was good. Nobody's hurt, thank God. The guys worked hard and the main group, the group that started, they did what we wanted them to do, and I thought the guys that came in did a good job as well,” Haynes said.

"I commend the Jamaica team for coming down and giving us a good game, because this is what we need and this is what they need and hopefully this propels us to keep playing at the level I know we can,” he added.

Still, no performance is ever perfect, and as such, Haynes said the objective remains to strengthen their flaws in all areas to ensure that the young Soca Warriors not only prove more formidable in the next game, but also against their more illustrious opponents in future fixtures.

Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica will lock horns in the second warm-up encounter on Thursday at Larry Gomes Stadium at 4:00 pm.

For the upcoming tournament, Haynes’s side will host Group D which includes Canada, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines with only the group winner set to progress.

"There are things we have to work on, but right now I am really happy with the result for the boys,” Haynes noted.

Wall echoed similar sentiments, even as the young Reggae Boyz held Police FC’s youth team to a goalless stalemate in another encounter.

"The whole idea of these games is to create relationships and a common understanding on our game model. So, there are instances where we are kind of pleased with what we saw and for me it’s the bigger picture of getting ourselves ready and competitive for the tournament,” Wall shared.

"One of the core non-negotiables that we have is that no matter what, we don’t give up because we are playing for our nation which is a big responsibility.  So, there are areas we need to improve on with regards to our pressing, counter-pressing and some other technical things in that region,” he reasoned.

Wall’s side will contest Group F with Bermuda, Grenada and Martinique in St Kitts and Nevis in the upcoming tournament.

After round-robin play in the Concacaf qualifying opening round between February 23 and March 2, the group winners will progress to the Championship round to join the six pre-seeded nations – United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president, Christopher Samuda, welcomed a recent move by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to accommodate athletes' freedom of expression, albeit with certain restrictions, during the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Though athletes have frequently used the Olympic stage to make statements through boycotts and protests, the IOC in a bid to not only protect the Games integrity, but also to strike a balance between freedom of expression and maintaining a respectful and competitive environment, has set out the places and forbidden topics where competitors will be able to express their opinions.

At the Paris Games, athletes will be able to express themselves freely in all but five moments –the opening and closing ceremonies, the medal ceremonies, during competition and during their stay in the Olympic Village. 

As such, the mixed areas where they interact with the media, press centres, press conferences, interviews, team meetings, traditional or digital media, social networks and pre-competition moments, such as call room and athlete presentation, will be the appropriate places for athletes to defend their points of view, but still under certain conditions.

For Samuda, the move represents a step in the right direction in the current era.

The Tokyo Games opened the door to the expression in the Olympic environment, which had been completely banned at previous editions. This, as players from the women's football teams of Great Britain, Chile, United States, Sweden, and New Zealand knelt on the pitch before some matches to protest against racism.

“The decision of the IOC to give a voice to athletes in designated spaces at the 2024 Olympic Games is laudable. The recognition of the inalienable right to freedom of expression which, notwithstanding, must be exercised responsibly so as to safeguard the integrity and reputation of the Games, which is of immense brand value to athletes, and importantly, to protect sport, which creates a meaningful livelihood for athletes and stakeholders,” Samuda told SportsMax.TV.

“Giving athletes a voice to articulate their viewpoints in spaces including the mixed areas where they will interface with the media, and also in press conferences, centres and interviews, as well as team meetings and traditional and new media, demonstrates athlete centricity on the part of the IOC,” he added.

Among the restrictions placed on athletes is the fact that they must respect the basic principles of Olympism, and refrain from attacking individuals, organisations or countries. Athletes are also expected to follow the instructions of their Olympic committee or federation, and avoid disruptive behaviour.

Disruptive behaviour in this case, could be making comments during the presentation or anthem of other athletes, or displaying a flag or banner at that moment.

According to rules published by the IOC, failure to comply with these rules may result in disciplinary action proportionate to the offence.

This, Samuda believes is a responsible stance by the IOC, as with the conferment of a right comes responsibility and therefore, athletes in their expression must also adhere to the IOC rules and guidelines.

“A very reasonable position which I have no doubt will be subject to further refinement as sport evolves globally, and the imperative to protect its integrity becomes more acknowledged in the interest of athletes and their livelihood,” Samuda reasoned.

“Capital and stakeholder satisfaction prefer a risk free and regulated environment in which to thrive. So, striking a balance between liberty to speak and the responsibility of remaining silent provides a safe haven for viable return on investment and engagement,” he ended.

 

Much like his Jamaican counterpart John Wall, Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Brian Haynes is in the process of trying to find the best possible squad to parade at the upcoming Concacaf Under-20 Men’s Championships.

As such, the three-warm up matches between the two is a welcome addition to up the tempo of their preparations, as it not only promises good competition, but more importantly, will give both coaches a better indicator of the quality of respective players ahead of the tournament, which serves as a qualifier to next year’s FIFA Under-20 Men’s World Cup in Chile.

The young Soca Warriors will face their young Reggae Boyz counterparts at 6:00pm on Thursday at St James Police Barracks, and again at 4:00pm on Sunday and February 1 at the Larry Gomes Stadium. Haynes is expecting players to put their best foot forward, especially with spots up for grabs.

“It’s going to be games against a team from the Caribbean first of all with the kind of play that we’re accustomed to. But at the same time, it’s quality games and we are going to have to come with our best effort to show these guys that we can play, not only play but to win because as far as I’m concerned that’s what is going to bring the crowds to the stadium,” Haynes told TTFA Media

“We are going to work hard and try to win games. I expect these matches to be well contested so that it serves its purpose in this phase of our preparations,” he added.

For the upcoming tournament, Trinidad and Tobago will host Group D which includes Canada, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines. If what Haynes has seen in preparation so far is anything to go by, then he is expecting a good showing in the tournament.

“I’m at a point where I can start to see what the team is going to look like. Everybody is not here as yet but all the players who are here at the moment in T&T are doing what they are supposed to do,” Haynes shared.

“I’ve seen improvements in the defending, into the midfield and when we go forward and as far as I’m concerned, all those are things that we still need to sharpen up. We haven’t been good on finishing. One goal in a game of 90 minutes is good so far but we need to improve in getting more goals,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Jamaicans for their part, will contest Group F with Bermuda, Grenada and Martinique in St Kitts and Nevis, and Wall is pleased with how things have progressed so far, as he looks ahead to the warm-up fixtures.

“Trinidad has been treating us good, we have had two trainings so far, we like to create an environment as similar as possible to tournament conditions. We have a lot of things to cover in terms of our attacking and defending but the main reference is the first game (against Trinidad) and from there we can map our way forward,” Wall said.

“I know Brian Haynes is pretty seasoned and experienced and I think we should respect them but at the point where we have to play our own game and start building the foundation for what we want to do in the tournament from this point on. So, for me, it makes a whole lot of sense that the JFF allowed us to come here as part of the process of getting prepared for St Kitts and Nevis,” he added.

After round-robin play in the Concacaf qualifying opening round between February 23 and March 2, the group winners will progress to the Championship round to join the six pre-seeded nations – United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

Few outside of athletics' circle had heard of teenage sensation Roshawn Clarke before his World Athletics Championships exploits in Budapest last year. But if all goes according to plan in this, his first full season in the senior ranks, then the budding 400m hurdler could have more tongues wagging leading up to, and after the Paris Olympic Games.

Clarke's performance and, by extension, rise to prominence at the World Championships was extraordinary given that he had only recently transitioned from junior competition, a testament to not only his grit, but also his immense potential.

The 19-year-old first gave a glimpse of his form when he won the event at Jamaica's National Championships in 47.85s, a time which tied with Sean Burrell for the world junior record set in 2021. With that win, Clarke also became only the second Jamaican to run under 48 seconds for the event, and the time placed him fourth-fastest in the world for the year, at that time.

However, Clarke later claimed the World Under-20 record for himself when he lowered the time to 47.34s on an even bigger stage in Budapest, when he placed fourth in the final behind Norway's World record holder Karsten Warholm and company.

Having digested the piquancy of competition against some of the world's best athletes, Clarke is now left hungry for more, and like any ambitious athlete, his next target is a podium finish at the Paris Olympic Games. 

"The feeling to finish fourth at a World Championships at 19 years old is always crazy. Of course, when something like that happens you have to let it sink in, but at the same time, I am also thinking about striving for more, so the mindset going forward now is to get on the podium in Paris," Clarke declared.

With his best only good enough for fourth in Budapest, Clarke knows very well that significant improvement is required in order to make the step up. In fact, he would readily tell you that success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, sacrifice and most of all, love for what you are doing.

“Physically, I'm stronger than last season for sure, so that's a good thing, but I still think I need to grow strength wise. At the World Championships, I learnt how to be consistent at running fast through the rounds because you have to run fast times to get to the finals and to challenge for a medal. My takeaway from that championship is that I have to be consistent at running fast, so I have to be strong, which means I have to keep training hard and keep pushing,” Clarke shared.

“Mentally, I'm prepared to face the challenges because I've been there. I know what it takes to get there. I know what it takes to be in that final and I know what it is like to miss out on a medal, so the mindset is definitely stronger than last season and I am more determined to be successful,” he added.

Unflinching in his desire, Clarke, a Swept Track Club representative, is resolute in his press toward the goal to not only make it big for the country, but also to use his journey to inspire others and, of course, make his parents Etheleta Williams and Michael Clarke even more proud.

“Yes, definitely. My goal going forward is to win the national trials, get to the Olympic Games, give it my best shot and hopefully challenge for a medal. You won't be happy in a final without a medal, but I am not really stressing it right now, I just want to take things in stride and keep pushing to be the best that I can be,” the Camperdown alumnus ended.

Former champions Montego Bay United extended their unbeaten run across four games, as they showed grit and determination in their come-from-behind 2-2 stalemate with Waterhouse in a lively Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League (WNJPL) encounter at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall on Monday.

It was a contest worthy to be the first at the venue in almost 10 months as fans, who braved a downpour, were treated to end-to-end action for the most parts. The small turnout particularly came to life when Montego Bay United through Lucas Lima Correa (75th) and Owayne Gordon (83rd) overturned a two-goal deficit, after the League's leading scorer Javane Bryan (32nd) and Revaldo Mitchell (59th) put Waterhouse up.

With the point, eighth-placed Montego Bay United inched up 19 points, one behind Waterhouse in seventh position.

Montego Bay United's Head coach Neider Dos Santos welcomed the point as part of their steady ascension up the order.

"I feel like we should have won the match in the last 20 minutes, but we didn't and it's just the nature of the game because they played well in the first half, and we played better in the second half. Our midfield was very open in the first half, and we fixed it second half and we proved something because even two goals down the players never gave up. So, we just have to build on this," he said in a post-match interview.

Waterhouse adjusted best to the underfoot conditions and dominated proceedings for most of the first half but squandered numerous chances. They inevitably broke the deadlock two minutes past the half-hour mark when Navardo Blair's weighted cross found and unmarked Bryan, who expertly headed home his 10th on the season.

Montego Bay United's best chances of the half came through Gordon and Brian Brown, but both were denied by Kemar Foster's brilliance in goal for Waterhouse, as they went to the break 1-0 up.

Waterhouse maintained their momentum on the resumption and doubled the lead on the stroke of the hour mark through Mitchell, who rose highest to steer Denardo Thomas' well-weighted corner kick past the advancing William Ferreira.

The Drewsland-based team could have added to their tally and put the game beyond doubt, but for faulty shooting on the part of the usually clinical Andre Fletcher and others, and they later paid for their profligacy.

Lucas Lima Correa pulled one back for Montego Bay United in the 75th when he finished off a rebound for his third goal of the season after Foster blocked Brown's initial effort.

And the host were back on level terms eighth minutes later when Gordon applied a delightful first touch to Gregson President's chip pass, followed by a stinging left-footed drive that whistled past Foster, who had no chance at a save. That goal marked Gordon's second since his recent return to Jamaica's top-flight, and 48th across his Premier League career.

Both teams pushed for the win but came up short and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Waterhouse's Head coach Marcel Gayle, like his counterpart felt the win was there for the taking.

"When you look at it, it could be considered a loss, but nevertheless I thought we played well. I thought we were in full control of the game until we lost concentration and gave up two silly goals. It has been an issue for us all season and we paid for it, so we just have to take the point, move on and turn our attention to the next game," Gayle noted.

Matchweek 15 Results

Lime Hall Academy 0, Portmore United 2

Mount Pleasant 1, Treasure Beach 0

Harbour View 0, Vere United 0

Humble Lion 0, Dunbeholden FC 0

Tivoli Gardens 0, Cavalier FC 0

Arnett Gardens 4, Molynes United 1

Montego Bay United 2, Waterhouse 2

While optimistic about Jamaica’s chances of making a deep run in the upcoming Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championships, Head Coach John is cognizant that his team’s performance will be dependent on their build up to the tournament.

It is for that reason why Wall welcomed an ongoing four-day camp with local-based players, which will be followed by three friendly encounters in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the big show in St Kitts and Nevis next month.

With the qualifiers scheduled for February 23 to March 2, Wall and his team engage Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 team in two games, with the other set to be against a senior team from the twin island republic.

Those games are scheduled for January 22 to February 2, and will be followed by a pre-tournament camp locally from February 14-21.

"I think it is another assessment round with the domestic players ever since March during those two sessions a month, then obviously, we stopped September, October, November and then commenced again December with a small scrimmage [practice] against Portmore United. I really appreciate that they were able to play us, and it gave me a lot of insights too," Wall said.

"So, I am very excited about this camp, which has now started. I am very excited about the talent that is in store, and I am looking forward to the next four days of action. It is a great opportunity for the players to impress ahead of the qualifiers and an opportunity to showcase their worth in a very busy calendar going into 2024," he added.

Wall explained that the camp in Trinidad and Tobago will also be used to engage overseas-based players and simulate a tournament format with games being played every other day.

“These games will basically put the staff to work as well because we will basically be playing every other day, so the recovery will be important which is why we want to use these games to mimic that scenario,” he explained.

“We also want to give a full scope to know who they (overseas-based players) are, see how they fit into the group and how they can aid us and ultimately see if they can qualify for the U-20s final squad. We would like to have a full calendar where everyone (local and overseas) is synchronized, but the biggest thing now is that Jamaica has started to export players in a bigger volume than it is right now, that’s one of my concerns,” he noted.

With Jamaica drawn in Group F alongside Bermuda, Martinique and Grenada, Wall pointed out that they have already down their homework on the opponents.

But, in the same breath, he argued that it would mean very little if they aren’t adequately prepared and ready to challenge for the coveted top spot, as only the group winners will progress to the next phase of the tournament to join the top teams –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

“Martinique had four of their U-20 players in that game against Lille which they lost 12-0; Grenada has five English-based players that is going to be a part of their squad and we basically have them covered, and Bermuda hasn’t started preparations as yet, so they are more of a dark horse. But for me it’s about controlling the controllable at this point in terms of what we can do,” Wall declared.

“My hope and aspiration (for the tournament) lie in the work that we put down and not the talent that we assess, so we have to do the work consistently because ultimately what I care about is making sure that Jamaica prevails,” he ended.

There is no doubt that half-century knocks by Kavem Hodge and Justin Greaves in the ongoing three-day warm-up match against Cricket Australia’s XI, have put them at the front of the line to earn their first Test cap, but both remain grounded and focused on the immediate task at hand.

In fact, while both admit that it would be a dream come through to earn their first Test cap in the upcoming two-match series against Australia, they were quick to point out that readiness will be key should Head coach Andre Coley call upon them.

Greaves and Hodge, who are among seven uncapped players in the 15-man squad Down Under, posted scores of 65 and 52 respectively, on the first day of the warm-up contest to assist West Indies to 251-8 declared in Adelaide. Cricket Australia's XI were 52-1 at the time of writing.

After captain Kraigg Brathwaite scored 52 at the top, the Caribbean side lost wickets in quick succession, before Greaves and Hodges anchored the innings with a 120-run, fifth wicket stand, which unfortunately, was followed by another collapse.

Still, Greaves, who recently recovered from a hamstring injury took the positives from the innings, which obviously was his partnership with Hodge.

“It has been an enjoyable one (journey); sometimes plagued by injury, but you know, just try to make the most of it when you get opportunity on the field. So, to be on my first Test tour is great and I'm really looking forward to it. Spending some time with Kevin in the middle last season as well, gave me a bit of confidence up in the middle and our thing is always just try to be as positive as possible,” Greaves said.

The 29-year-old right hand batsman, while declaring that he still enjoys bowling, pointed out that even with runs on the board, it offered very little comfort about whether or not he will get the nod next week.

“No, not really. Just taking it one game at a time. You know, coming here, you just wanted to be able to get into your work and if you're selected for that first Test, you know, just make sure you're prepared,” the Barbados-born Greaves said.

“Anyone coming up in the Caribbean playing cricket, dreams of playing Test, so if I'm selected for the first Test, receiving a cap is always a very big thing. So, for me, being in this group, I've played with most of the guys as I've been travelling a bit in the Caribbean, but I am just trying to enjoy my game as much as possible,” he added.

The Dominican-born Hodge, 30, echoed similar sentiments.

“It was really nice to get some time out in the middle, as a batsman you know that is worth its weight in gold, so I'm really happy for that.

“The partnership with Justin, we understand each other's game pretty well; obviously spending some time in the middle at this level is pretty good and we're really happy for that. It's just unfortunate that we couldn't push on and bat out the rest of the day. But you know, you know, we have a lot of positives from that inning,” Hodge shared.

And like Greaves, Hodge remained modest when asked if he believes the opportunity to possibly earn his first Test cap comes at a time when he is ready.

“Yeah, I'm a firm believer that everything happens on its own timing and what's meant to be, will be. For me, it's just a matter of being ready, whenever that time comes and you know, control what I can control. So, like I said, my big, my biggest thing is just preparing and making the most of whenever the opportunity is there,” the right-hand batsman, who also bowls slow left-arm orthodox spin, declared.

“It would mean a lot to me, obviously, you know, as a little boy growing up, I wanted to play Test cricket, so it's been a dream of mine, and it would definitely be a dream come true. So, until then, you know I'm keeping my fingers crossed and just try and be ready for it,” Hodge ended.

West Indies Test head coach Andre Coley says they will be using the opening practice match on their tour of Australia to tighten up in both the batting and bowling departments, as they brace for what will be a tough two-match Test Series Down Under.

The Caribbean side’s preparations for the series, which is part of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), will hit another gear when they engage a young Cricket Australia XI in a three-day, practice match at Karen Rolton Oval, on Wednesday.

Coley, working with a fairly inexperienced 15-man squad which boast seven uncapped players, expressed pleasure with how things are coming together, and is optimistic that his team can find success on this occasion. It has been well over 20 years since West Indies las won a Test series in Australia dating back to a 1992-93 series, which they won 2-1.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite is one of only five members of the squad returning to Australia, along with long-standing pacer Kemar Roach, vice-captain Alzarri Joseph, wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva and opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul. The seven debutants are opener Zachary McCaskie, Tevin Imlach, all-rounders Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Kevin Sinclair, Akeem Jordan and Shamar Joseph.

“Everybody wants to do well here, whether they have had experience of playing here in the past, or it is their first trip. It has been a good experience watching them get over the jetlag and then get into the work, whatever it has been on a specific day, and the focus has been good,” Coley shared in a Cricket West Indies (CWI) interview ahead of the warm-up game.

The practice match does not have first-class status, which means both teams can rotate more than 11 players through their line-ups, and this provides Coley the opportunity to better observe the new players in action.

“When you think about Test matches, it’s really important that you are able to bat a day to be able to set up the game from a batting standpoint. On the flipside of that it’s pretty simple for me, if you can get the opposition out before the end of a day’s play, so for me, those are easy markers,” he said.

“How we go about it as a batting and bowling group is where it becomes more specific as it relates to the roles and the different skill sets that each player brings to the table. But we are looking to keep it really, really simple, and these are some of the markers that we are looking to get out of the game,” Coley added.

That said, Coley pointed to the progress made in their build up to the Test match. The first Test is scheduled for January 17 in Adelaide, with the second set to take place on January 25 at The Gabba.

“I am happy with the progress we have made. It has been a gradual adjustment (to the conditions), but at the end of the day, regardless of how the pitch plays and what response we get from the pitch when bowling, each player has to adapt to what is in front of him,” Coley declared.

He continued: “Sometimes the pitch has little to do with it, as opposed to being locked in to what is in front of you. I think we have covered that pretty well in the batting, and similarly, adjusting to bowling lengths and what we want to achieve.

“The ability to hit specific areas has been good, as well as getting a general feel for how the ball moves around in the atmosphere from a fielding standpoint, we have been able to spend some time on that.”

Individually and in relay teams, Kito Campbell displayed dominant form in his season opening competition and with time on his side, the future is bright.

In fact, if all goes according to plan for Campbell this season, then an Olympic Games appearance in Paris later this year, could very well be on the cards, especially if he continues his rapid improvements in the breaststroke events, under the guidance of legendary Jamaican swimmer Sion Brinn.

“I'm aiming for the Olympics this year, but I think I'm going to take that one step at a time. I am in collegiate season now, so I just want to focus on being good for college, and then after that, focus on being good for the Olympics,” Campbell told SportsMax.TV.

The former Calabar High standout made the declaration after he smashed his own 50-yard breaststroke record during a season-opening meet, which pitted his Indian River State College against Rochester Institute of Technology and Grand Valley State University.

Campbell, currently in his freshman year, proved too good for rivals, as he stopped the clock in 25.14 seconds. He was almost a second ahead of runner-up Andrew Goh (26.04) of Grand Valley.

That time bettered Campbell’s 25.19 set at the 2022 PST 32nd Speedo Winter Championships, while representing Azura Florida Aquatics. He continues lead the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings in the event.

The 20-year-old completed the sprint breaststroke double when he took the 100-yard event as well. Much like he did in the shorter event, Campbell went out hard and left the field in his wake, as he clocked splits of 25.93 and 29.39 on his way to a final time of 55.32.

Campbell, swimming the breaststroke leg, which he completed in 25.09, earlier assisted his Indian River team to victory in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:30.47. He also placed fifth in the 100-yard individual medley in a new personal best time of 53.19, lowering his previous best of 53.60.

Having firmly established himself as the best Jamaican breaststroke in the yard and Olympic-sized pools, Campbell is now hoping to build on his current momentum, as his coach, Brinn has put structures and strategies in place that have aligned him on the path to success.

“Things have been going well for me so far, I've dropped times in all of my main events for this year and training has been going well. I feel like I'm improving constantly since I've arrived at Indian River, and coach Sean has been really taking me under his wing. I wouldn't say I've improved in strength drastically, but the technical aspect of turns, underwater and dives are just right,” Campbell explained.

Campbell, who has represented Jamaica at numerous championships, to include the Pan American (PanAm) Games, Commonwealth Games and the FINA World Championships, knows that swimming can be a game of centimetres and milliseconds.  As such, he admitted that he doesn’t boast too much in the expectations department.

“The details are what I have been fine tuning over the past couple months, and it's been getting better and better. I no longer go into seasons with expectations anymore, I just I race on the day, give of my best and the results will come,” he reasoned.

“But like I said, things are coming together, and I feel really good. I feel like I'm in a really good spot right now and I think the rest of this collegiate season is going to be great for me,” Campbell added.

Still, the former Kaizen Swim Club representative is well aware that it will not all be smooth sailing in the years ahead, as he pushes for longevity in his career, but the hope is to draw on experience to bring his Olympic dream to fruition.

“After the collegiate season, I have a few long course competitions that I'll have to contest, but I'm going to take that one step at a time. I usually don't like to mix too many things in my head, because I don’t want to be focusing on long course times when I'm only swimming short course. So right now, it's collegiate season and after that long course, and then we aim for the Olympics,” Campbell declared.

 

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