Soccer was called to order yesterday at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in the first semi-final match between Nimba and Grand Gedeh but after a grueling 90 minutes of total football, Nimba’s Sam Jackson pulled a stunning surprise to sweep victory the hard way.And the 4-2 drubbing of rivals, Grand Gedeh propelled Nimba to the soccer finals of the 2014 edition and their opponent could be either Grand Bassa or Bong County who were deciding the winner at press time last night.Sunday’s game will be the grand final and Nimba will be in action again to decide which county becomes the undisputed champion.Interestingly, player Jackson scored his 6th goal to lead as the highest scorer so far, and with his incredible strength and skillful tricks with the ball, there seems no player even close.Though for Nimba County, celebrating the victory to the finals on Sunday began the moment improved referee Jerry Nyekeh sounded his whistle to end the game yesterday, someone said it was only the beginning.Hundreds of Nimbains chanted their appreciation to their gallant warriors who stood the threat from Grand Gedeh after they (Grand Gedeh) scored their second goal in the second half to reduce the tally 2-3.Nimba, who had resumed the second session slowly, came under intense pressure as the warriors of Grand Gedeh mounted repeated attacks. They were impressive and even radio commentators expressed the fear and hope that Grand Gedeh would call off Nimba’s bluff.But like all things human, Sam Jackson, the man of the match had different ideas.It was around the 87th minute when the rising star, who just signed a contract to play for BYC, got a connection, and hampered towards Grand Gedeh’s goal. It was like hell on earth as radio commentators cried in celebration as the striker, chased by Grand Gedeh defenders, chose to ignore them.The stadium remained apprehensive as the wonder kid challenged the poor goalkeeper in Grand Gedeh’s post. Having conceded three goals already, only God knew what Grand Gedeh’s goalie was thinking about.In the stands for Nimba County were Senators Isaac Nyenabo and Prince Y. Johnson. And no one was sure if the player had promised them a goal each. Sam Jackson made nonsense of Grand Gedeh’s defense and pushed the ball beyond the reach of the advancing goalkeeper to begin the celebration that would end this coming Sunday.That was in the 88th minute.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
HULL FC hooker Danny Houghton beat off stiff competition to be named the 2016 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel.Houghton, who is the first ever Hull FC player to win the coveted award, has been at the heart of the Black and Whites attack and defence this year, playing a major role in their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup victory and helping them secure a top three finish in the First Utility Super League for the first time since 2006.Shortlisted alongside teammate Gareth Ellis and Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona, the 28-year-old Hull FC player has been in fine form this season and received the award as the stand-out performer in 2016 at the First Utility Super League Man of Steel dinner held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester.Houghton secured the award following a ballot of 288 Super League players and beat Hull Captain Ellis, who finished in second place, by almost twice as many first choice votes 113 to 59. For the first time ever the choices of every Super League player who voted have been made public on rugby-league.com. Each Super League player votes for three players they feel deserves the award, with their first choice receiving 5 points, second choice receiving 3 points and third choice receiving 1 point.The award winners in full from the 2016 First Utility Super League Man of Steel awards are as follows:Hit man – Danny Houghton (Hull FC – 1289 tackles)Top metre maker – Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves – 3983 metres made)Top try-scorer – Denny Solomona (Castleford Tigers – 40 tries)Top Gun – Marc Sneyd (Hull FC – 83% conversion rate)Outstanding Contribution – Gregory Mounis, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Jamie Langley, Kirk Yeaman, Luke Dorn, Luke Robinson, Pat Richards, Paul Jackson, Paul Wood, Richard Mathers, Stuart Littler, Wayne Godwin Foundation of the Year – Widnes Vikings First Utility Super League Club of the Year – Hull FCFirst Utility Super League Young Player of the Year – Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats)First Utility Super League Coach of the Year – Lee Radford (Hull FC)The Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel – Danny Houghton (Hull FC)You can see the players’ vote for Man of Steel here.