Gar­den party in the Jun­gle

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Nod­ley Wright Gleaner Writer

THEY MAY be close to the mid­dle of the table, but these two ri­vals will top the bill in to­day’s round of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).

Ar­nett Gar­dens, a team favoured by neu­trals and one which in­creased in pop­u­lar­ity when the likes of Wal­ter Boyd, Onandi Lowe and Fabian Davis – all na­tional play­ers – donned their colours, will head­line to­day’s RSPL ac­tion when they host their big­gest ri­vals, Tivoli Gar­dens, in a game which rep­re­sents more than foot­ball for many. Kick-off time is 3 p.m.

While many will be look­ing on at the qual­ity of foot­ball on dis­play, oth­ers will be look­ing at the sharp­ness, or the lack thereof, of the Ar­nett Gar­dens team as they did not train for three days. The Junglists, as Ar­nett Gar­dens are dubbed, are, at least, one of two teams in tur­moil after the salaries of play­ers and coach­ing staff were slashed.

“There are sev­eral things that can af­fect us, but we just have to put them be­hind us. Yes, we have not trained for three con­sec­u­tive days and this morn­ing we had a train­ing ses­sion for the first time since then,” Ar­nett Gar­dens coach Jerome Waite con­firmed to The Sun­day Gleaner yes­ter­day.

That sit­u­a­tion, Waite con­ceded, could give the vis­i­tors the ad­van­tage, but he added that the sig­nif­i­cance of the game will not al­low his team to be any­thing less than com­pet­i­tive.

“The op­pos­ing team could have the ad­van­tage, yes, but a game against Tivoli Gar­dens is al­ways more than just a game. Pol­i­tics is al­ways a fac­tor. Tivoli’s Jer­maine John­son (left).

There is the ri­valry and brag­ging rights, of course. It is our equiv­a­lent of a Manch­ester City-Manch­ester United derby. That is how big it is.

“With that be­ing the sit­u­a­tion, you know we will find a way. Any­thing but a pos­i­tive re­sult will not sat­isfy us. Our ob­jec­tive is to en­sure that we don’t lose at home – as we did two years ago when we last won,” Waite ex­plained.

As far as Tivoli Gar­dens are con­cerned, they are run­ning into good form at the right time.

“We fore­see that this game will be a very tough one as Ar­nett Gar­dens are play­ing well and are play­ing at home. Tra­di­tion­ally, these games are very phys­i­cal ones and this should be no dif­fer­ent,” Coach Omar Ed­wards said. Da­mari Dea­con of Ar­nett Gar­dens.

“What is good for us is that we are com­ing off a good re­sult. Our last game, a 3-0 win over Reno, shows that we are ca­pa­ble of scor­ing goals and pre­vent­ing other teams from scor­ing, so this is a plus for us,” added Ed­wards.

EX­PE­RI­ENCE AND CON­FI­DENCE

What is even more pos­i­tive for Ed­wards is the fact that his team is gelling nicely. Vet­eran goal­keeper Ed­sel Scott, he said, has come in and brought ex­pe­ri­ence and con­fi­dence to the team. Scott’s ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as the qual­ity of an­other vet­eran, Jer­maine John­son, added to those of emerg­ing stars El­ton Thomp­son, who has scored three goals in two games, and the mid­field duo of Tevin Shaw and Marvin Ste­wart.

Ar­nett Gar­dens, on the other hand, will be look­ing to the vet­eran pair of cap­tain O’neil Thomp­son and Di­coy Wil­liams to pro­vide lead­er­ship at the back and count on the of­fen­sive gifts of Fabian Reid, Marvin Mor­gan, Ke­mal Mal­colm and the young Da­mari Dea­con to pro­vide the am­mu­ni­tion.

At We­spow Park, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, Mon­tego Bay United, will have it all to do against lead­ers UWI FC, es­pe­cially in the ab­sence of their top for­ward, Dino Wil­liams, who got him­self sent off against Port­more United last week. For­mer cham­pi­ons Har­bour View will be aim­ing to con­tinue their sta­bil­i­sa­tion with a win over the strug­gling Ja­malco.

Sec­ond-placed Hum­ble Lion will look UWI FC Hum­ble Lion Port­more Ar­nett Tivoli MoBay U Ja­malco Maverly Water­house Reno H.View Boys’ Town

to show their su­pe­ri­or­ity over the sur­pris­ingly com­pet­i­tive Maver­leyHugh­en­den FC. Wolry Wolfe has led Hum­ble Lion from the front as al­ways, but the Hum­ble Lion back­line will have to con­tend with Phillip Ped­die, who has scored in ev­ery sin­gle game he has played since his re­turn from over­seas.

Port­more United will be look­ing to add an­other scalp to their col­lec­tion when they host the bat­tling Water­house at Prison Oval, while Reno will be look­ing to put some dis­tance be­tween them­selves and the bot­tom two when they host the em­bat­tled Boys’ Town.

TO­DAY’S GAMES:

3 p.m: Hum­ble Lion vs Maver­leyHugh­en­den – Ef­fortville Com­mu­nity Cen­tre 7 p.m: Har­bour View vs Ja­malco – Har­bour View Sta­dium 3 p.m: Port­more United vs Water­house – Prison Oval Com­plex 3 p.m: Mon­tego Bay United vs UWI FC – We­spow Park 3 p.m: Reno vs Boys Town – Frome Com­plex 3 p.m: Ar­nett Gar­dens FC vs Tivoli Gar­dens FC – An­thony Spauld­ing Com­plex

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2 2 3 2 1 1 1 7 1 4 3 1

L1 2 2 2 3 3 5 1 5 3 5 6 GF GA GD

13 10 9 12 11 9 12 11 9 5 5 6

7 6 8 7 6 7 12 11 11 9 12 16 Pts

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