Champions’ clash headlines opening weekend

Bodden Town (white/black) and Scholars International have won the last three league titles between them.

A showdown between the last two clubs to win the Cayman Premier League title headlines the opening weekend of matches for the 2017/18 campaign.

Defending champions Bodden Town FC faces Scholars International, which won the prior two seasons and the 2017 President’s Cup, at the Annex on Sunday 15 October for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

They split their three meetings last season. Scholars won the first game 2-0 in week three thanks to goals from Rodrick Pearson and Dwight Dunk, while Ricoh Brown produced the winner in a 1-0 win for Bodden Town on 15 January. Their third match-up ended in a scoreless draw on 26 March.

While their league showdowns were low-scoring defensive battles, they met twice in cup competitions that brought the fireworks.

Scholars, led by a brace from Rolly Bodden and other goals from Terrence Thomas and Pearson, beat Bodden Town 4-1 to in the President’s Cup final on Ash Wednesday. Theron Wood scored for Bodden Town.

The sides met again in the semi-finals of the FA Cup when Ricoh Brown provided the winner for Bodden Town in the 110th minute in a 3-2 finish. Karl Solomon and Wood scored earlier to offset a double from Jamar Dickens.

With the changes made for this season, teams will play each other once in the league, so both sides will be eager to take three points from the clash. Bodden Town will also be looking to put Sunday’s Charity Shield loss to Elite Sports Club behind them as they open their title defence.

Roma United and Cayman Athletic will face each other in Week 1.

The season opens with Academy Sports Club taking on Savannah Tigers FC at the Annex on Saturday, 14 October at 5:45 p.m. Cayman Athletic and Roma United meet at the Annex at 4:45 p.m. Sunday ahead of the Bodden Town-Scholars game. At Ed Bush Sports Complex, East End United comes up against last season’s First Division champions – George Town Sports Club at 4:45 p.m.. The 7:00 p.m. game features West Bay sides Elite Sports Club and Future Sports Club.

(Update) North Side FC will play Sunset FC at the Annex at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, while Latinos FC will meet the Cayman Islands National U20 Men on Wednesday, 18 October at the Annex starting at 7:30 p.m. for an exhibition.

The Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) has done away with the two-tier system this season, combining the teams that contested in the Cayman Premier League and the CIFA First Division last season for a single round of play. The only club that suited up last season that will not be part of the 2017/18 season is Alliance FC, which withdrew in recent days.

Although initial reports stated that the National U20 Men’s Team would be included in the league to provide greater match-readiness ahead of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U20 World Cup Qualifiers next summer, it was later decided that each club in the league would face the U20 Men in a mid-week fixture that would be outside of the league. This frees up players who would have worn the national colours to compete for their respective clubs.

The season is scheduled to be completed by 8 April 2018. All teams will also compete in both the FA Cup and the President’s Cup.

Stay up-to-date with scores throughout the season with the Cayman Sports Buzz scoreboard ticker at the top of our website.

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