Last year’s finalist Stag Trinidad Northern will return to the final of the T&T Rugby Football Union (T&TRFU) Marcus Minshall Cup after whipping Rainbow Sport and Culture Club 74-7 when the two teams met in the last four stage, at Harvard Pitch, Queen’s Park Savannah, on Saturday.
The win put Northern into the title deciding match against Harvard, which defeated Royalians 46-5, at the same time. Northern, which has been struggling in the Championship Division league competition this season, took one step further in an attempt to cop silverware this season, albeit at the expense of a fringe Rainbow team. Brad Soulette gave Northern the perfect start with an early try, which was cancelled out by a response from Rainbow’s top player Agboola Silverthorne. The equalizer was converted by Themba Jack, giving the Marabella club a 7-5 lead. However, a flurry of tries put Northern in a commanding position to lead 36-7 at the half, before going on to crush the usually plucky Rainbow team by a whopping 67 point margin.
Soulette found a second try in the match, Jerome Maxime and Michael Augustus scored four and three tries, respectively. Cubison Thorne, Quami Felix and Andrew Crooks all got on the scoresheet with one try each, with Justin McLean successfully converting seven of the 12 tries. Harvard, which are in contention for both the league and knockout titles, meanwhile, had a similarly easy task against its semifinal opposition. The winning team opened with a try from Tariq Cheekes, which was converted by Ryan Hinckson, followed just minutes later by a try from Wayne Kelly. Royalians, which stunned champions Caribs by a one-point victory in the semifinal two weeks ago, looked to be on a comeback when Trizine McLean touched down to cut the deficit by seven points. However, his try went unconverted, as with a penalty attempt just moments before by the usually reliable Kelson Figaro. In the second half, it was all Harvard. A pair of tries from both Claudius Butts and David Quashie, along with a lone try from Hinckson and a second from Cheekes, sealed a comfortable victory in the end. Hinckson also added to his try by converting two more efforts in the second half.
Harvard and Northern will meet in the final, of which a venue and date is yet to be confirmed. In the Women’s Knockout match scheduled for Saturday, Caribs was a no-show, handing Romans a default 28-0 win and entry into the final. However, on Sunday, the other last four match was played with Royalians defeating Police 69-0. The tries came from Jenilee Lemada and Kwanieze John, both of whom scored hat-tricks, a pair from Dalia Jordan-Brown, and single tries from Ebony Young, Alesha Bruce, Talia Wilson and Ayana Skeete. John also scored two conversions. Meanwhile, champions Caribs was able to turn its attention from its untimely exit from the knockout competition, by returning to the top of the TTRFU Toyota Championship Division standings, with a 104-12 blowout of Police, in the final rescheduled match. The expected win and bonus point put Caribs, which has won every league match thus far, three points ahead of Harvard.