Ex­cel­sior, Hy­del to con­test Walker Cup fi­nal

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT - BY SHERDON COWAN Ob­server staff re­porter cow­ans@ja­maicaob­server.com

EX­CEL­SIOR High and Hy­del High will meet in the fi­nal of the Issa/dig­i­cel Walker Cup knock­out com­pe­ti­tion af­ter reg­is­ter­ing con­trast­ing vic­to­ries over St Cather­ine High and Cum­ber­land High in their re­spec­tive semi-fi­nal en­coun­ters at Span­ish Town Prison Oval yes­ter­day.

Hy­del High came away 3-0 win­ners over Cum­ber­land in a lop­sided af­fair, be­fore Ex­cel­sior High got by St Cather­ine High 6-5 on sud­den death penal­ties af­ter play­ing out a goal­less score­line at full time in the fea­ture game of the dou­ble-header.

Af­ter a fairly stale first half-hour in the fea­ture, both Ex­cel­sior and St Cather­ine tempo in their at­tack­ing thrust and poked a few holes in each other’s de­fence but failed to find the elu­sive goal.

The Moun­tain View Av­enue­based Ex­cel­sior looked the more likely to score and came close in the 50th minute, but Ta­jhay Wil­liams’s sting­ing right-footed shot from just out­side the 18-yard box was equally well saved by cus­to­dian Ra­heem Henry, fly­ing full stretch to his left.

With the teams fail­ing to sep­a­rate them­selves in full time it was straight to the dreaded penal­ties to de­cide the win­ners and Ex­cel­sior came away with brag­ging rights in this their third meet­ing of the sea­son. In two pre­vi­ous meet­ings this sea­son St Cather­ine se­cured a 2-0 win at home, but Ex­cel­sior re­turned the favour with a 2-1 win at their base.

Dur­ing the shoot-out Ex­cel­sior’s sec­ond kicker Jhe­van Smith had his ef­fort from the 12-yard spot saved by Henry, which left St Cather­ine sit­ting pretty at that point. How­ever, Javaughn Bha­lai of Ex­cel­sior also de­nied St Cather­ine’s fourth kicker Mar­rovich Brown to set up a nail-bit­ing fin­ish.

In sud­den death Ra­jaughn Joseph and Joseph Green­land con­verted for Ex­cel­sior and Isaac Dun­klely replied for St Cather­ine, but Christo­pher All­wood, also of St Cather­ine, hit his ef­fort over the cross­bar, which sent the small batch of Ex­cel­sior sup­port­ers into a frenzy and the mas­sive turnout of home sup­port­ers dis­ap­pointed.

Win­ning coach Daniel Ri­ley was over­joyed that all went his way in the penalty shoot-out.

“We had de­cided that if we get to an­other penalty shootout we are not go­ing to lose, so we have been kick­ing penal­ties ev­ery train­ing ses­sion, and so we worked on it and ev­ery­one that we put on the field are good penalty kick­ers, and the guy that un­for­tu­nately missed is one of our best kick­ers, but that is how it goes. But we have to give thanks for this vic­tory,” Ri­ley told jour­nal­ists in a post-game in­ter­view.

“So hats off to the guys; they stuck it out and got to penalty, and we knew once it got there we were go­ing to win the game, so it is just one of those games,” he added.

For An­thony Patrick of St Cather­ine, it was déjà vu as he re­vealed that the two play­ers who missed from the spot were also guilty of not con­vert­ing from their pre­vi­ous train­ing ses­sion.

“It could have gone ei­ther way, it was a very tough game and not a lot of chances were cre­ated but we even­tu­ally got to the penal­ties and we came out on the los­ing end. This is the first time that we are los­ing in a penalty shoot-out since I have been here in three years and when you look back on it, it was those two play­ers who missed to­day (yes­ter­day), missed in the train­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day (Thurs­day), so that is just how it goes,” Patrick shared.

Ear­lier, Jor­dane Cameron (15th) and Ke­mar Reid (26th) gave Hy­del a com­fort­able two-goal cush­ion at the half­time break be­fore Ewan Hamil­ton (90th+3) got the other in time added. They could have, how­ever, won by a wider mar­gin as they dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings right through­out.

The fi­nal is sched­uled for next week Thurs­day.


Dane Grey (left) of Hy­del and Daniel An­der­son of Cum­ber­land chal­lenge for pos­ses­sion of the ball dur­ing their ISSA/ Dig­i­cel Walker Cup knock­out semi-fi­nal en­counter at Span­ish Town Prison Oval yes­ter­day. Hy­del won 3-0.

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