January 2023 Volume 19

The Roper Cup – New York edition 2022

George B. Bell
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St. Georges College and Kingston College are physically located within a couple hundred meters of each other. Additionally, the founder of Kingston College attended St. Georges College.

Accordingly, there is a direct and inseparable link between the two well-known institutions. This familiarity and link fueled a number of competitive football (soccer) battles over the years.

This schoolboy rivalry manifested into an “Old Boys” rivalry, which now ignites the Roper Cup. Traditionally, the Roper Cup is a football competition played between past and present footballers of both schools in Jamaica.

This normally takes place just before the beginning of the high school boy football season.

In 2018, Kingston College Old Boys’ Association USA Inc. (KCOBA USA Inc.) and St. Georges College Old Boys’ Association Northeast (STGC OBA NE) introduced the tradition into the United States – specifically, New York. This gave rise to the Roper Cup New York Edition.

On Sunday, September 18, 2022, both associations staged the fourth iteration of the competition. This took place at the spacious and comfortable, Elmont Memorial High School, located in Long Island, New York.

It was a struggle to secure the location; however, because of its enormous parking lot, excellent location (proximity to Queens and a couple highways), and its amenities, the struggle was worth it. Planning, coordinating, and ultimately executing an event like this is inherently challenging. However, the committee made up of board members from both organizations did a masterful job of hosting a successful event in spite of numerous obstacles. KUDOS to the committee and the non-committee members who rolled up their sleeves and made it happen.

In prior staging, the competition included guest teams – either from other alumni associations such as Jamaica College OBA and Calabar OBA and/or local youth football teams. This year’s version was truly a KC versus STGC duel – Purple & White vs. Blue & White battling on the green field of Elmont High School.

The day featured three (3) matches:

- Over 50s (Masters) – The North Street Giants Cup

- Over 40s – The Sydney Burrowes Cup

- Under 40s – The NY Roper Cup

The first game got off to a later than scheduled start; nonetheless, it turned out fairly entertaining for the nice size crowd. The game ended STGC Masters 3 KC Master 1 – STGC took first blood by winning the “North Street Giants Cup”. Congrats, STGC!!!

The second game was the Over 40s for the “Sydney Burrowes Cup”. The KC team was determined to avenge the defeat in the first match. This was done with a handsome thrashing of the men from STGC – 5 nil. This allowed KC Over 40s to hoist the Sydney Burrowes Cup. Congrats, KC!!! Naturally, with the teams splitting the first two (2) matches, it set the stage for the third and final match – The NY Roper Cup. This further fueled the mood of the crowd, which was buzzing with excitement and anticipation of the finale.

As was expected, both sets of Under 40s teams were up and ready for the featured match - the younger, more fitter men went strides for strides, blows for blows. Buoyed on by a crowd that grew much bigger, the ‘ballas’ did their thing and after the dust was settled, the score ended STGC Under 40s 2 and KC Under 40s 1. STGC was the NY Roper Cup champions for 2022. Congratulations, STGC!!!

It was a great day of football and camaraderie, with excellent weather and a good size crowd made up of supporters of both schools, family, friends, and football lovers. Yes, indeed, it was a successful day – on and off the field.

Thank you to the management of Elmont Memorial High School, particularly coach Mike Graham. Special thanks to Ansell B. Thank you to the officials and all the players (especially those who travelled from out of state) who participated and made the day a joyous occasion. Thank you to the vendors: Fortis Restaurant and New York Life. Special thank you to Tower Isle’s Frozen Foods, Ltd. Thank you to the patrons, who travelled from near and far – appreciation for supporting!

As usual, special thanks to the Fortis ladies – cheering with “pom poms” et al. Even to the lady commentating – Ingrid D - we saw and heard you. To the Roper Cup Committee and members of each Board, who contributed to the success of the event – Thank you. Gentlemen, we know the many hurdles and challenges faced, let’s be better prepared for them next year.

- George B. Bell

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