St George’s face tough Excelsior in group decider
EXCELSIOR HIGH will look to avoid defeat when they face St George’s College in an unfinished ISSA/-FLOW Manning Cup Group A football game at Stadium East today. Match time is 3:30 p.m.
The game is a continuation of the abandoned one, following the death of former St George’s College captain, Dominic James, on September 20. James collapsed less than five minutes into the contest and was pronounced dead at the University Hospital of the West Indies.
When the announcement of the player’s death came, Excelsior were leading 2-1 at the half-time break.
Now, the teams will do battle for 45 minutes in a crucial encounter to decide the group winner.
Excelsior lead on 19 points from seven games, while St George’s have 18 points. With one game remaining in the group, a point for Excelsior will cement their spot at the top.
Both teams have already qualified for the Manning Cup second stage, but the battle is also hot for an automatic spot in the prestigious FLOW Super Cup, as well as the Walker Cup KO competition.
With all that at stake it should be a gruelling second half and spectators should brace for a hot contest. Excelsior defeated St George’s 2-1 last Friday in their return match at Winchester Park and the latter is fully aware that only a win can put them in a position to defend the FLOW Super Cup, having won last year.
Excelsior’s technical director, Xavier Gilbert, says that his team will be mentally ready for this battle.
“We know the situation, the players are some mature young men and should be able to manage the game. It is a fresh start and teams lose games in a minute,” Gilbert told The Gleaner yesterday.
“I’m sure that St George’s want some sort of revenge following the loss on Friday, in order to win the group. We have to be mentally ready to defend our slim lead,” added Gilbert, a former St George’s College cricket star. WESTERN BUREAU: WITH THE first round of the 2016 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)FLOW daCosta Cup now out of the way and the sifting of teams done, attention now turns to the inter-zone battles, of which several blockbuster matches are scheduled for today.
One such is the Zone C clash between defending champions St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) and Holmwood. This game will be played at Manchester High School, starting at 3:30 p.m.
STETHS, one of five teams identified with having the best chance of lifting the title this year, along with Dinthill, Cornwall College, Rusea’s and Clarendon College, have been slowly getting into gear. According their technical director, Wendell Downswell, the inter-zone round is the part of the competition that will trigger the usual STETHS tenacity.
“We look forward to this part of the daCosta Cup. The players know what is to be done and now that we have passed the first stage, it is now time to just become bolder and stake our claim,” Downswell told The Gleaner.
“The first round we kind of took it in stride. We didn’t need to push ourselves, but the interzone is a different thing. Here we will need to push because other teams are coming for our scalp. We wear the crown that others want and we will need to defend,” he added.
STETHS are in Zone Three
Excelsior will rely on senior players such as Thorne Buchanan, Cadine Graham and captain Christopher Thorpe.
The Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell-coached St George’s will certainly be in attack mode as only maximum points today will see them winning the group.
St George’s will look to players such as new captain Alex Marshall, Hakim Williams, Ronaldo Watson and former Wolmer’s striker Akiki Jackson.
In another crucial encounter, Jonathan Grant High and Haile Selassie High will meet to decide the winner of Group D.
Haile Selassie are in front on 24 points, ahead of Jonathan Grant (22), St Catherine (17), Ardenne High (10), Meadowbrook (3) and Pembroke Hall, who are yet to score a point.
Haile Selassie, under the guidance of veteran coach Geoffrey Maxwell, have been performing well with eight wins and only one loss. Now, they need a point to top the group.
Jonathan Grant must win today’s game in order to march past Haile Selassie and win the group. In the reverse fixture, Haile Selassie edged Jonathan Grant 3-2. Another close and exciting game is expected.
Also, St Jago High and Hydel will square off in a key game in Group G. Bridgeport are the group winners after finishing on 23 points from 10 games, followed by St Jago on 19 points from nine games and Hydel on 16 points from nine games.
That means Hydel and St Jago are battling for second spot in the group. Hydel need to win against St Jago to move into second spot.
STETHS, Manchester blockbusters highlight second-round kick-off
alongside Holmwood (first in Zone G), Mile Gully High (second in Zone F) and last year’s semi-finalists, Lennon High, out of Zone E. Mile Gully will tackle Lennon to complete today’s schedule in the zone.
PERFECT WIN RECORD
Meanwhile, the competition’s most prolific team, Dinthill Technical, face strong opposition in Port Antonio. Dinthill have scored 49 goals. They are one of two teams with a perfect win record, the other being Cornwall College.
Over in Zone One, Cedric Titus will take on a Cornwall College team high on and confidence.
The former many-time champions breezed through the first round, racking up 35 goals along the way. Also in that zone, Petersfield High will be in the hunt for all three points against Green Island.
In Zone Two, Godfrey Stewart meet Rusea’s, while the improving Spot Valley take on St James High.
Another big clash will see Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis’ Clarendon College locking horns with the always consistent Manchester High in Zone Four, while Lacovia and Spalding do battle at the Lacovia Community Centre.
SECOND ROUND ZONES
Zone 1: Cedric Titus, Cornwall College, Green Island and Petersfield Zone 2: Godfrey Stewart, Rusea’s, Spot Valley and St. James Zone 3: Holmwood, Lennon, Mile Gully and STETHS Zone 4: Clarendon College, Lacovia, Manchester and Spalding Zone 5: Alston, Fair Prospect, St Mary Tech and Steer Town Zone 6: Brimmervale, Dinthill, Port Antonio and BB Coke/Alston Zone 7: Glenmuir, Seaforth, Vere Tech and Ocho Rios/Browns Town
Zone 8: Garvey Maceo, Kemps Hill, Little London and Paul Bogle
Matthew Wilson of St George’s College (right) and Raewin Senior of Excelsior High battle for possession of the ball in their ISSA-FLOW Manning Cup football matchup at Winchester Park Friday, October 7. Excelsior won 1-0. The teams renew battle this afternoon in a fixture that will decide the group winner.
Cedric Titus vs Cornwall College Petersfield vs Green Island St James vs Spot Valley Godfrey Stewart vs Rusea’s Lennon vs Mile Gully Holmwood vs STETHS Clarendon College vs Manchester Lacovia vs Spalding Dinthill vs Port Antonio Glenmuir vs Bog Walk Seaforth vs Vere Tech Paul Bogle vs Kemps Hill Garvey Maceo vs Little London