Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Hard to swallow! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Hard-to-swallow-_90294 BY SANJAY MYERS Senior staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com For the second game running, Tivoli Gardens FC assistant coach Damion Gordon was left lamenting his team&rsquo;s finishing after a defeat in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).<br /> <br /> On Monday, they surrendered an early lead to fall 1-2 to struggling Harbour View FC in the feature game of a double-header at National Stadium.<br /> <br /> In-form veteran attacker Jermaine Johnson gave Tivoli the lead in the sixth minute, but injury-troubled striker Luton Shelton (41st) and Kemar Bennett (62nd) gave Harbour View a surprise win.<br /> <br /> Only last week, Tivoli Gardens &mdash; playing at home &mdash; went ahead, but were ambushed 2-3 by University of the West Indies (UWI).<br /> <br /> Tivoli, who started the match day with the lead, fall to third with 42 points after two-straight defeats. They are a point behind leaders UWI.<br /> <br /> Harbour View, who have won two on the trot in an otherwise dismal campaign so far, are eighth with 27 points.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Execution [was missing]; we got a lot of chances today, even when Harbour View were 2-1 up, we got chances to score,&rdquo; Gordon told the media during a post-match interview.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The impact [on the RSPL points table] is not severe; it&rsquo;s just about how we regroup and come again. It is football and winning and losing is a part of the game. You don&rsquo;t want to be on the losing side, but we have to correct our errors and come again,&rdquo; the Tivoli assistant coach added.<br /> <br /> Shelton, who was previously playing club football in Russia and has been grounded by knee problems for the better part of two years, was pleased with Harbour View&rsquo;s fightback.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was a very hard game and Tivoli are a competitive team. They are very aggressive and not an easy team to break down. We did well to take our chances and things look good going forward,&rdquo; the former Reggae Boyz striker told the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> But it was all Tivoli in the first half in cool, evening conditions on Monday.<br /> <br /> And the dominance told from as early the sixth minute when Junior McGregor fed a pass to Johnson, who held off a challenge before lodging into the net.<br /> <br /> In the midst of a series of opportunities that fell to Tivoli, Marvin Stewart could have made it two-nil, but he cut inside a defender and shot weakly at goalkeeper Christian Kluvi from close range.<br /> <br /> But Shelton, who appeared to be ambling about harmlessly for the opening 40 minutes, rose high to direct a header beyond the reach of goalkeeper Davin Watkins to shock Tivoli Gardens.<br /> <br /> Shelton, after sustaining a knock, did not return for the second half, but his teammates slowly wrested the ascendancy.<br /> <br /> It came as no surprise when Bennett bravely threw himself to turn in Hugh Evans&rsquo; swerving cross from the left side to give them the lead.<br /> <br /> The hard-running Johnson crafted a couple of chances for Tivoli, but they failed to materialise into a goal.<br /> <br /> Teams:<br /> <br /> Tivoli Gardens &mdash; Davin Watkins, Kevin Graham, Barrington Pryce, Kemar Seivwright, Nicholas Smith, Marvin Stewart, Tevin Shaw, Miguel Ricketts (Ajuma Johnson 68th), Junior McGregor (Howard Morris 69th), Jermaine Johnson, Peter Keyes (Donavon Dawkins 72nd).<br /> <br /> Subs not used: Nicholas Clarke, Rushane Facey, Jermaine Parris, Arthur Walters<br /> <br /> Booked: Johnson (71st), Seivwright (85th)<br /> <br /> Harbour View &mdash; Christian Kluvi, Hugh Evans, Javain Brown, Evan Taylor, Rashawn Mackison (John-Ross Edwards 68th), Nicholas Beckett, Fabian Grant, Kemar Bennett (Sheldon McKoy 81st), Akeem Priestly, McKauly Tulloch, Luton Shelton (Michael Martin 46th).<br /> <br /> Subs not used: Devon Haughton, Damarley Oliver, Clayon Pusey, Andre Messam<br /> <br /> Booked: Evans (90+5)<br /> <br /> Referee: Dwight Royal<br /> <br /> Assistant referees: Jermaine Yee Sing, Oyinco McTaggart<br /> <br /> Fourth official: Okeito Nicholson<br /> <br /> Match Commissary: Richard Nathan http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660639/260071_86507_repro_w300.jpg National Premier League Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Luton Shelton reinvents himself at old club Harbour View http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Luton-Shelton-reinvents-himself-at-old-club-Harbour-View_90311 BY SANJAY MYERS Senior staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com Luton Shelton was drained after only 45 minutes of action upon his return from a lengthy injury layoff.<br /> <br /> But the striker was clearly satisfied as his boyhood club Harbour View FC &mdash; boosted by his first-half goal &mdash; came from behind to clip fellow former champions Tivoli Gardens FC 2-1 in the Red Stripe Premier League encounter at National Stadium on Monday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been out of the game for the last two years because of injury and now I&rsquo;m working on my fitness and my confidence to get back,&rdquo; Shelton, who most recently played for FC Volga in Russia between 2013 and 2015, told the Jamaica Observer after Monday&rsquo;s win.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;While trying to get back into the game, I said I might as well play for Harbour View to try to help them and also see how much I can get from it. For a first game back it feels very good, and as a striker you always want to get that first goal and after that it becomes easier,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Shelton, 31, offered little threat throughout his time on the pitch, as he loped about, obviously lacking confidence and fitness following a problematic knee injury.<br /> <br /> While lacking the blistering pace that helped him become the Reggae Boyz all-time scoring leader with 35 goals, Shelton soon had a telling impact in his comeback game.<br /> <br /> Crafty off-the-ball movement came to the fore when he peeled away from the defence to direct a looping header into the goal to cancel Tivoli&rsquo;s opening goal from fellow veteran Jermaine Johnson.<br /> <br /> Shelton, who sustained a knock, was substituted at the break. However, a second-half strike from Kemar Bennett assured Harbour View all three points and condemned former leaders Tivoli to their second-straight loss.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t a very good game for me because I just started back playing this week, so I don&rsquo;t have much fitness. It was good to get the goal and I know the rest will come after,&rdquo; the former schoolboy star explained. <br /> <br /> Shelton, who has also played in Sweden, England, Norway, Denmark and Turkey, is one of several Harbour View stalwarts who have returned to help the struggling former champions.<br /> <br /> Sean Fraser and Akeem Priestly were on the scoresheet as Harbour View outscored Portmore United 3-2 last week.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It feels very good because we are way down in the table and we have got some experienced players to come in and give their input. It&rsquo;s the experience that was needed, because we had a lot of young kids before but now we are able to win,&rdquo; Shelton told the<br /> <br /> Observer.<br /> <br /> Harbour View, who have lost 10 of their 23 games so far this season, have achieved two successive wins. They are eighth in the 12-team table with 27 points. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660566/260049_86506_repro_w300.jpg National Premier League Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Humble Lion coach disappointed even in victory http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Humble-Lion-coach-disappointed-even-in-victory_90295 Boys&rsquo; Town FC sunk deeper in relegation mire after a 1-2 loss to semi-final chasing Humble Lion FC in the first game of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) double-header at National Stadium on Monday.<br /> <br /> Perry Bartley, standing in for absent Boys&rsquo; Town Head Coach Andrew Price, saw his team take the lead through Rafiek Thomas in the eighth minute.<br /> <br /> However, Humble Lion&rsquo;s Jermaine Christian hit the equaliser in the 24th minute and Ricardo Dennis struck the winning goal for the Clarendon-based team in the 36th minute.<br /> <br /> Boys&rsquo; Town are last in the 12-team standing, with 16 points from 23 games. Humble Lion, hunting a place in the RSPL semi-finals, are fourth with 42 points.<br /> <br /> The top two teams at the end of 33 preliminary games will automatically advance to the league semi-finals. The next four teams finishing between third and sixth will battle for the remaining two places.<br /> <br /> The two teams with fewest points will be relegated.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The objective was to come out and dominate the first half and hold them for the second half. We made mistakes and we conceded goals,&rdquo; experienced Boys&rsquo; Town&rsquo;s wing back Xavian Virgo told journalists after the game.<br /> <br /> Despite the victory, Humble Lion Coach Donovan Duckie walked away with some degree of displeasure.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m very disappointed. You need to be more mature as a team if you have title intentions. We just did not do well tonight, but we give thanks for the result,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Former champions Boys&rsquo; Town, looking set to suffer the ignominy of demotion from the nation&rsquo;s top-flight football competition, got a shot in the arm in the early exchanges.<br /> <br /> Thomas &mdash; returning to the club after an unsuccessful stint with Humble Lion &mdash; got the opening goal. <br /> <br /> But Christian settled Humble Lion with a low strike from inside the 18-yard box in the 24th minute.<br /> <br /> Humble Lion, who opened cracks in the Boys&rsquo; Town defence in the first half, took the lead when Ricardo Dennis broke through on goal in the 36th minute to angle home a low effort.<br /> <br /> Humble Lion had several chances to widen the advantage in the second period but failed to convert.<br /> <br /> Teams:<br /> <br /> Boys&rsquo; Town<br /> <br /> &mdash; Shavon Wilson (Rushane Campbell 46th), Pierre McPherson, Ricardo Dennis, Anthony Dawes, Xavian Virgo, Garfield Gillespie, Chavaney Willis, Jamiel Hardware, Andrew Allen (Michael Campbell 65th), Shamar Nicholson, Rafiek Thomas (Orlando Brown 81st)<br /> <br /> Subs not used: Kevon Wilson, Kimarley Fray, Tarique Campbell, Lennox Cargill<br /> <br /> Booked: Gillespie (45th)<br /> <br /> Humble Lion &mdash; Kadeem Davis, Ricardo Campbell, Kevon Reid, Hughan Gray, Dwayne Holmes, Jermaine Christian, Kevaughn Isaacs (Wolry Wolfe 67th), Ricardo Dennis (Gregory Lewis 67th), Leaughn Williams (Francois Swaby 61st), Devon Hodges, Andrew Vanzie<br /> <br /> Subs not used: Sanchez Lloyd, Kirk Duckworth, Hugh Howell, Rafe Wolfe<br /> <br /> Booked: Holmes (63rd)<br /> <br /> Referee: Odette Hamilton <br /> <br /> Assistant Referees: Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing, Jassett Kerr<br /> <br /> Fourth official: Doyen Tummings <br /> <br /> Match commissary: Norman Blair<br /> <br /> &mdash;Sanjay Myers <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660640/260072_86508_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Jamaican badminton players to match strides with foreign counterparts http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Jamaican-badminton-players-to-match-strides-with-foreign-counterparts_90282 PLAYERS from eight overseas countries are expected to participate in the third staging of the Jamaica International Badminton Tournament scheduled for March 2-5 at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston.<br /> <br /> At a press launch at the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) office yesterday, details of the meet were delivered by second vice-president of the Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA), Nichole Case.<br /> <br /> As part of her delivery, she said the participating countries are Australia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, India, Denmark, Canada, Panama, and Barbados, along with hosts Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Case said she is expecting local players to measure up to their foreign counterparts, with world-ranked Gareth Henry, All-Jamaica Senior men&rsquo;s singles champion Dennis Coke, and Katherine Wynter, last year&rsquo;s All-Jamaica women&rsquo;s singles champion, to lead Jamaica&rsquo;s charge. <br /> <br /> She added that the overall prize money has been increased from US$5,000to US$10,000. Prize money will be presented to the top three in the men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s singles, men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s doubles, and mixed doubles.<br /> <br /> Guest speaker at yesterday&rsquo;s launch, general manager of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) Denzil Wilks, congratulated members of the JBA for undertaking the massive challenge of host an international tournament. <br /> <br /> Along with the SDF, the Jamaica Tourist Board, LASCO Distributors Limited, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Pure National Ice Company, CARIMED Limited, Coldwell Banker, Fontana Pharmacy, Tastee Limited, Eshopoly.Com., Chad-Ad Distributors, Konnexx Services Limited, Jamaica Sport, Milex Security, Yonex and Badminton Pan Am Confederation.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Gerald Reid http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660518/260006_86489_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Five Star receives high rating in race six http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Five-Star-receives-high-rating-in-race-six_90241 BY HURBUN WILLIAMS Observer writer With no feature race carded, a native-bred three-year-old event will take centre stage on a well-supported nine-race midweek programme at Caymanas Park today.<br /> <br /> Slotted at race number six, the maiden condition race has attracted a very competitive-looking field of 13 runners going 1,300 metres for a purse of $768,000. Post time is approximately 3:45 pm, with the first post at 1:15 pm.<br /> <br /> Based on past performances, Silver Rocket, Twilight Storm, Blood Song, along with Five Star, who dislodged his rider on his debut during the running of the race, should enhance their chances of shedding the maiden tag. <br /> <br /> However, one never knows about these young horses, who are late developers, or those taking the time to mend quirks in their physical and mental behaviour.<br /> <br /> Five Star, the nicely bred Traditional-Jadore dark bay colt, is returning from a 14-day respite in fairly good racing shape and, all being well, could be an easy winner for the second time of asking. Trained by Richard Azan, Five Star will once again be ridden by champion apprentice Bebeto Harvey. <br /> <br /> The main danger to a Five Star victory could be the Carl Anderson-bred, -owned and -trained Twilight Storm. Quite a consistent bay gelding son of Twilight Time out of the Brainstorming mare Star Attitude,<br /> <br /> Twilight Storm, like Five Star, has gone well in preparation for this and; with Harriston Lewis remaining in the irons, he should have a serious impact on the race. <br /> <br /> Silver Rocket, trained by the in-form Fitzroy Glispie, and Blood Song, trained by Patrick Fong, will be coming to run and should have a say in the proceedings. Silver Rocket will be up with the pace, while Blood Song will be coming from behind.<br /> <br /> An interesting runner in the event is the Deon Facey-trained first-time runner Lady Eli. The nicely-bred Lady Eli (<br /> <br /> Miracle Man-Immanuel And Katie) has shown good ability in preparation for this and, under these circumstances, the bay filly should run well. <br /> <br /> Ones to watch<br /> <br /> Race 1<br /> <br /> Sure Step, Jason&rsquo;s Gold, Drag Line<br /> <br /> Race 2<br /> <br /> Traditional Storm, Mind Set, Command Aviator<br /> <br /> Race 3<br /> <br /> Annie Oakley, Beast, Sink The Bismarck<br /> <br /> Race 4<br /> <br /> Ruby Rose, Lady V, Silver Slipper <br /> <br /> Race 5<br /> <br /> Brave Prospect, Exquisite Choice, Cheers<br /> <br /> Race 6<br /> <br /> Five Star,Tropical Storm, Blood Song <br /> <br /> Race 7 Song Bird, Markofaprince, Fiery Path<br /> <br /> Race 8<br /> <br /> Hey Champs,<br /> <br /> Dusseldorf, Conclusion<br /> <br /> Race 9<br /> <br /> Ray Ray, Timeforacat, Mandeya<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660603/259971_86449_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Photo: Back to roots http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Photo--Back-to-roots_90297 SHELTON... I&rsquo;m working on my fitness and my confidence to get back http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660566/260049_86506_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Thomas savours US indoor shot put record http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Thomas-savours-US-indoor-shot-put-record_90280 BY PAUL REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com Days after setting a new national indoor record in the shot put at a meet in Kent, Ohio, on Saturday, Olympian Danniel Thomas has set her sights on taking her form to the outdoors. <br /> <br /> The former Frome Technical and Edwin Allen High athlete set a new lifetime best 18.32m to beat the 18.19m set by former Jamaican thrower Kimberly Barrett in February 2005 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.<br /> <br /> The mark was further than the outdoor record of 18.28m, also set by Barrett in Florida in May 2004.<br /> <br /> Thomas told the Jamaica Observer yesterday the outdoor mark was well within her range.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think anything can happen. Yeah, I do think it is [possible]. The mark I threw indoors is better than the outdoor record as well. Therefore, I think if I continue to be consistent throughout the season it should be attainable,&rdquo; Thomas said.<br /> <br /> The athlete who won at the Penn Relays and was a two-time National senior champion in both the discus throw and shot put is still some way away from the record with a personal best 17.76m set at the Pan-American Games in Toronto, Canada in 2015.<br /> <br /> She said her first reaction when she got the big throw was just relief.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was relieved when I threw it because I knew that I had it in me and to finally trust my abilities and technique.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The ability was always there; I was just patient this time and it happened. I think it sets me up well going into the outdoor season. I hope to maintain a level of consistency which should make good things happen for me,&rdquo; she noted.<br /> <br /> Thomas, who was representing Kent State University in Ohio, got the mark on her second legal throw and third overall, breaking a number of records in the process.<br /> <br /> It was a Kent State indoor record and the longest ever at the Kent State Fieldhouse where the event was held.<br /> <br /> Thomas is now ranked number eight in the world and second among all Division One athletes in the US, and her mark is the ninth longest ever in US college history. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660516/260041_86490_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Antigua lose second straight as Honduras dominate http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Antigua-lose-second-straight-as-Honduras-dominate_90266 SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (CMC) &mdash; Honduras produced a ruthless second-half blitz to condemn Antigua and Barbuda to their second-straight defeat of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship with a 4-1 humbling here on Monday.<br /> <br /> Playing in Group A at the Estadio Nacional, the Antiguans trailed just 0-1 at half-time, but the floodgates opened in the second stanza to see the Hondurans run out easy winners and post their second victory on the trot.<br /> <br /> The Central Americans lie second in the standings on six points, only on goal difference behind giants Mexico. Antigua are third without a point with Canada, who lost 0-5 to Mexico on Monday, bottom of the table.<br /> <br /> After going down 0-3 to Mexico in their opener last Friday, Antigua would have been hoping for an improved performance, but instead found themselves struggling again.<br /> <br /> They were behind as early as the eighth minute when Jamarlie Stevens accidentally turned a cross from Jose Reyes past his own custodian Christian Corbett.<br /> <br /> The Caribbean side then kept Honduras at bay for the remainder of the half to ensure the scoreline remained manageable at the break.<br /> <br /> However, Honduras doubled their lead two minutes following the resumption when Douglas Martinez scored with a close-range header.<br /> <br /> Antigua then stunned the favourites in the 57th minute through England-based Luther Wildin, who showed great strength and poise to hold off several markers and score from the top of the box.<br /> <br /> That spark failed to ignite an Antiguan comeback, however, and the Hondurans further extended their lead three minutes later when Darixon Vuelto finished off Martinez&rsquo;s smart pass.<br /> <br /> With the fight virtually gone from the Antiguans, Honduras added another goal eight minutes from time, courtesy of a close-range strike by Jorge Alvarez.<br /> <br /> Two Caribbean Football Union sides will be in action on Tuesday when St Kitts and Nevis take on Panama and French side Haiti battle with United States in two Group B encounters. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10595868/Football-2_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Aguero stars as Man City sink Monaco in thriller http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Aguero-stars-as-Man-City-sink-Monaco-in-thriller_90306 MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) &mdash; Sergio Aguero starred as Manchester City beat Monaco 5-3 in a breathless and dizzyingly end-to-end Champions League last-16 first-leg encounter at a rocking Etihad Stadium yesterday.<br /> <br /> Raheem Sterling put City ahead, only for Kylian Mbappe to level and Radamel Falcao to score twice &mdash; the second goal a magnificent chip &mdash; as Leonardo Jardim&rsquo;s side moved into a 3-2 lead.<br /> <br /> But City struck three times in the last 19 minutes through Aguero&rsquo;s second goal, John Stones and Leroy Sane &mdash; to put Pep Guardiola&rsquo;s men in charge ahead of the return leg on March 15.<br /> <br /> For a long time it looked likely to be a scarring night for City, who reached the semi-finals last season, as a succession of calamitous defensive errors allowed Monaco to take control.<br /> <br /> But Aguero&rsquo;s doggedness allowed them to haul themselves back into the game, abetted by Falcao&rsquo;s failure to convert a penalty early in the second period. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660624/260065_86505_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Ball in Bravo&rsquo;s court &mdash; Cameron http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Ball-in-Bravo-s-court---Cameron_90256 PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &mdash; West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President Dave Cameron has remained vague on the future of embattled left-hander Darren Bravo.<br /> <br /> With the career of the Trinidadian up in the air following his sending home ahead of the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe last November, Cameron refused to be drawn definitively on the player&rsquo;s future, saying only &ldquo;the ball is in his court&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My understanding is that Mr Bravo has met with the executive of the WICB and the ball is in his court as to whenever he is willing to come back and play cricket,&rdquo; Cameron said at a recent WICB town hall meeting here.<br /> <br /> Clearly incensed by Cameron&rsquo;s criticism of his &ldquo;declining&rdquo; form and &ldquo;poor performances&rdquo;, Bravo slammed the Jamaican administrator in a Twitter outburst, labelling him a &ldquo;big idiot&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The WICB promptly cancelled Bravo&rsquo;s match/tour contract and sent him home from the tour, but also gave him until 4:00 pm of November 11 to remove the offending tweet and issue an apology for his actions.<br /> <br /> Failure to do so, the WICB said, would result &ldquo;in further disciplinary action, including referral to the WICB disciplinary committee&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Asked at the town hall meeting if he had received an apology from Bravo, Cameron again repeated: &ldquo;The ball is in his court.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Bravo did not play in the WICB&rsquo;s Regional Super50 for his native Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, and with no clear information emerging from the regional governing body on the matter, it remained uncertain when the impasse with the player was likely to end.<br /> <br /> On Monday Bravo was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League auction, but he will need a No Objective Certificate from the WICB in order to participate.<br /> <br /> Bravo is West Indies&rsquo; leading Test batsman with 3,400 runs from 49 Tests and at an average of 40.<br /> <br /> Only last October, he stroked a superb century in the day/night first Tests against Pakistan in Dubai. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660267/259999_86448_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12496689/171067_86447_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Roach, Cornwall in President&rsquo;s XI squad to face England http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Roach--Cornwall-in-President-s-XI-squad-to-face-England_90259 ST JOHN&rsquo;S, Antigua (CMC) &mdash; West Indies A gloveman Jahmar Hamilton has been named to captain the WICB President&rsquo;s XI in a one-day game against touring England next Monday in St Kitts.<br /> <br /> The 26-year-old Leeward Islands Hurricanes player will lead a side which includes Test bowler Kemar Roach, Windies A all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, and prolific Windward Islands Volcanoes batsman Sunil Ambris.<br /> <br /> Hamilton toured Sri Lanka last October as part of the squad for the three-match four-day &ldquo;Test&rdquo; series and has since been among the runs in the regional first-class championship.<br /> <br /> Roach, meanwhile, is on a comeback following injury and loss of form. He was a member of the title-winning Barbados Pride squad in the recently concluded Regional Super50, finishing with 12 wickets.<br /> <br /> The 23-year-old Ambris, meanwhile, was among the tournament&rsquo;s leading scorers with 423 runs.<br /> <br /> Cornwall, the outstanding Hurricanes off-spinning all-rounder, was superb in taking 23 wickets in the &ldquo;Test&rdquo; series against Sri Lanka A, and extended his form into the recent Super50 where he scored 252 runs and took 10 wickets.<br /> <br /> The President&rsquo;s XI encounter against England, carded for Warner Park, will serve as a warm-up for the tourists ahead of their three-match One-Day International series against West Indies starting on March 3 at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.<br /> <br /> Squad &ndash; Jahmar Hamilton (captain), Sunil Ambris, Ronsford Beaton, Rahkeem Cornwall, Montcin Hodge, Kyle Hope, Damion Jacobs, Reynard Leveridge, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660268/259998_86446_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Mourinho gives no guarantees on Rooney future http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Mourinho-gives-no-guarantees-on-Rooney-future_90272 SAINT-&Atilde; TIENNE, France (AFP) &mdash; Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho was coy on questions over Wayne Rooney&rsquo;s future at the club as he confirmed the striker was still not fit enough to return for their Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne.<br /> <br /> There have been rumours that Rooney, who is no longer an integral part of the United side under Mourinho, could eventually leave for the mega-rich Chinese Super League.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You have to ask him,&rdquo; said Mourinho yesterday, when asked if there was any chance the 31-year-old could follow in the footsteps of the likes of former United teammate Carlos Tevez and move there before the transfer window closes next week.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Of course I can&rsquo;t guarantee (he will be here). I can&rsquo;t guarantee that I&rsquo;m here next week; how can I guarantee that a player is here next season?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mourinho, though, insisted he wants Rooney to stay, saying: &ldquo;I would never push, or try to push a legend of this club to another destiny.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Rooney trained with his United teammates in Manchester yesterday morning, but was not part of the 20-man squad that flew to France for Wednesday&rsquo;s last-32 second leg.<br /> <br /> Asked if he would be fit for Sunday&rsquo;s English Football League Cup final against Southampton, Mourinho was non-committal.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know. This morning was the first time he trained and didn&rsquo;t even train 100 per cent with the group,&rdquo; the Portuguese boss told reporters at Saint-Etienne&rsquo;s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He is injured; I cannot do miracles at that level,&rdquo; said the boss.<br /> <br /> The Europa League has taken on added importance for United, who are battling on four fronts, as it offers a qualification place to next season&rsquo;s Champions League for the winners.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13555439/251459_78185_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Incredible Hulk blasts Shanghai to victory http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Incredible-Hulk-blasts-Shanghai-to-victory_90268 SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) &mdash; Brazilian forward Hulk blasted Shanghai SIPG to a 1-0 victory over FC Seoul, but the big-spending Chinese giants needed to survive a penalty and a red card before winning their AFC Champions League opener yesterday.<br /> <br /> Hulk&rsquo;s rocket of a strike on 53 minutes got Andre Villas-Boas&rsquo;s team off to a winning start in Group F, where they lie second on goal difference after Urawa Red Diamonds&rsquo; 4-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers.<br /> <br /> SIPG have splashed out 60 million euros ($63.3m) on Brazilian midfielder Oscar, among other buys, in their bid for glory after they reached last year&rsquo;s quarter-finals under Sven-Goran Eriksson.<br /> <br /> But a speculative effort from Hulk and another shot way over the bar from the Brazilian were the closest SIPG came in a tepid first half in front of a noisy Seoul crowd.<br /> <br /> At the other end, Dejan Damjanovic had a chance to finish off a sweeping move from the hosts, but the Montenegrin striker shot tamely at goalkeeper Yoo Hyun from close range.<br /> <br /> Oscar&rsquo;s most significant moment of the first half came when he petulantly raised his hand to Lee Sang-Ho&rsquo;s throat and shoved the Seoul forward, earning a yellow card.<br /> <br /> But the muscular Hulk brought the game to life with a moment of magic on 53 minutes when he smashed a left-footed shot from well outside the box which swerved into the top corner.<br /> <br /> Six minutes later Damjanovic tumbled in the box, earning a soft penalty and a second yellow card for He Guan &mdash; but the striker&rsquo;s scuffed spot kick was easily saved by SIPG&rsquo;s Yan Junling.<br /> <br /> Earlier, Japan&rsquo;s Urawa smashed four second-half goals past Western Sydney Wanderers to open their campaign with a thumping win. <br /> <br /> Shinzo Koroki and Tadanari Lee struck within two minutes of each other before Tomoaki Makino and Rafael Silva also got on the scoresheet as the Group F visitors ran riot in Sydney.<br /> <br /> The result gives Urawa an early boost in their campaign for a second Champions League crown, but dents the Wanderers&rsquo; chances of emulating their fairy-tale title run of 2014, when the club was just two years old.<br /> <br /> It was Lee who prised open the home defence on 56 minutes when his perfectly placed through-ball released Koroki, who finished smartly with the outside of his right boot.<br /> <br /> Two minutes later and Urawa took a stranglehold on the game when the Wanderers&rsquo; defenders failed to clear and stood watching each other as Lee swept home the second goal.<br /> <br /> Urawa capitalised on yet more slack defending when Makino, unmarked at the back post, prodded home a loose ball from a corner on 68 minutes to make it 3-0.<br /> <br /> And four minutes from time, Brazilian forward Silva was afforded plenty of space when he raced clear and beat Vedran Janjetovic at his near post from the edge of the box.<br /> <br /> In Group E, Kashima Antlers beat Ulsan Hyundai 2-0 and Brisbane Roar were held to a 0-0 home draw by Thailand&rsquo;s Muangthong United.<br /> <br /> In Doha, Al Rayyan&rsquo;s heavy reliance on their South American imports was very much in evidence as the Qatar Stars League champions edged out UAE&rsquo;s Al Wahda 2-1 in Group D.<br /> <br /> Uruguayan Gonzalo Viera headed in from a corner to give Al Rayyan a 13th-minute lead, but the advantage was short-lived as Rim Chang-woo struck from close range to equalise for Al Wahda in the 35th minute.<br /> <br /> Al Rayyan, however, were not to be denied as Paraguayan Victor Caceres came to their aid with a header off a Viera assist on the hour to give Michael Laudrup&rsquo;s men all three points.<br /> <br /> Also in Group D, Iran&rsquo;s Persepolis held 1991 and 2000 champions Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia to a 1-1 draw, while Al Ain of the UAE and Iran&rsquo;s Zobahan also played out a 1-1 draw in Group C. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660650/260018_86465_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Magic Johnson takes charge in major Lakers shake-up http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Magic-Johnson-takes-charge-in-major-Lakers-shake-up_90277 LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) &mdash; Earvin &lsquo;Magic&rsquo; Johnson, who sparked the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles in the 1980s, was yesterday named president of basketball operations for the struggling NBA squad.<br /> <br /> Lakers president and part-owner Jeanie Buss also announced the firing of general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice-president of basketball operations Jim Buss, Jeanie&rsquo;s brother and son of former owner Jerry Buss, who died in 2013.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,&rdquo; Jeanie Buss said. &ldquo;Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our search for a new general manager to work with Earvin and coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new general manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new general manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hall of Famer Johnson, 57, was part of the fabled &ldquo;Showtime&rdquo; line-up alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA all-time scoring leader. &lsquo;Magic&rsquo; was part of Lakers championship squads in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 before retiring in 1991 after being diagnosed with the HIV virus.<br /> <br /> The Lakers returned to greatness behind superstar guard Kobe Bryant with five NBA crowns from 2000-2010, but have fallen on hard times since.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as president of basketball operations,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;Since 1979, I&rsquo;ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I&rsquo;m passionate about this organisation.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> At 19-39 this season, the Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA, ahead only of conference doormats Brooklyn and Phoenix.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Jeanie Buss said she acted so the organisation would unite behind one vision and plan for improvement going forward.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I took these actions today to achieve one goal. Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction &mdash; the direction established by Earvin and myself,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Kupchak, 62, had been controlling general manager of the Lakers since 2000. He won NBA crowns with the Lakers playing alongside Johnson in 1982 and 1985, as well as with Washington in 1978.<br /> <br /> Jeanie Buss said that she and her brother shared the same desire in seeing the team prosper once more.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jim loves the Lakers. Although he will no longer be responsible for basketball personnel decisions, he is an owner of this team and we share the same goal: returning the Lakers to the level of greatness our father demanded,&rdquo; she said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660263/260036_86464_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13660264/260034_86463_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM Miller heartened despite Super50 final flop http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Miller-heartened-despite-Super50-final-flop_90172 BY SANJAY MYERS Senior staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com Jamaica Scorpions skipper Nikita Miller was heartened by the show from his team at this season&rsquo;s Regional Super50 tournament despite the 59-run loss to Barbados Pride in the final on Saturday.<br /> <br /> The Scorpions were bowled out for 212 after restricting the Pride for 271-9 in the day/night affair at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. Shai Hope, who struck a century in the semi-finals against Leeward Islands Hurricanes, followed with 101 in the final.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would say it&rsquo;s a seven out of 10... from seven to eight; we almost got it right. I have no arguments or regrets. I&rsquo;m very happy with my team; the way they represented themselves... I&rsquo;m proud of them,&rdquo; Miller told the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Yes, there are things we could have done a little bit differently and better and we pointed that out to individuals. Overall, I think the tournament was a success; to get to the final for the first time since 2011,&rdquo; said the Scorpions captain.<br /> <br /> Both finalists were in the same group in the preliminary stage where the Pride &mdash; loaded with players who have senior West Indies team experience and billed as tournament favourites &mdash; came out on top with 33 points.<br /> <br /> The Scorpions, who lost their opening game of the tournament to Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners, rebounded to finish second with 28 points in a group that also included Guyana Jaguars.<br /> <br /> In the semi-finals against 2016 champions Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, the Scorpions scorched a record-breaking 434-4 off their allotted 50 overs en route to a 292-run win.<br /> <br /> There were question marks over why all-rounder Rovman Powell, who took five wickets in the semi-finals, was only introduced into the attack in the 46th over of the Pride innings.<br /> <br /> Powell, who batted as low as eight, was also the top-scorer for the Scorpions on Saturday with 65. In the semis, he had belted a remarkable 95 off 45 balls from the number four position.<br /> <br /> The experienced slow left-arm orthodox bowler Miller, in his first season as captain, said Barbados Pride should be credited for recovering from 138-5 in the 35th over to their eventual total.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We restricted them for 271 after they were going great guns. At one stage it looked as if they were going to make fewer and at another stage it seemed as if they were going to make more. I think it was a great bowling performance from us. There are things within that I could have done differently, but I don&rsquo;t want to look at it in that way because they played well and it&rsquo;s a one-day cricket game,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In everything you do there are always things you could do differently or better when you look at it afterwards. When I look on the performances of the bowlers we restricted Barbados to the lowest team total batting first since the semi-final stage. We batted first and scored 400 and Barbados batted first and made 300. I think we bowled well throughout the tournament,&rdquo; Miller reiterated.<br /> <br /> The Scorpions skipper said the overall management set-up, which included new Head Coach Robert Samuels, and a selection panel led by former coach Junior Bennett deserves credit.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like a new team with new captain, new coach and new selectors and I think it&rsquo;s an achievement and we should celebrate it,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658094/259744_86270_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Scorpions captain calls for batting consistency http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Scorpions-captain-calls-for-batting-consistency_90174 Lack of consistency in the batting is one area that Captain Nikita Miller wants to see improved within the Jamaica Scorpions set-up.<br /> <br /> He was pleased the team reached the final of the 2017 Regional Super50 before faltering to favourites Barbados Pride in Antigua on Saturday.<br /> <br /> But with attention turned to the resumption of the four-day championship next month and even an eye on the 2018 edition of the Super50, Miller is demanding more of the batsmen.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We need to improve our ability to chase a total, however small or large. It&rsquo;s something we need to work on and we need to be consistent in our batting and to repeat performances,&rdquo; Miller said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What happened this tournament is that one game one guy will get some runs, then the other game another guy gets the runs &mdash; which is good, but you need guys to be consistent in getting runs so they can improve themselves,&rdquo; he explained during an interview with the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> Barbados Pride had that kind of consistent contribution from top-order batsman Shai Hope. He hit centuries in the semi-finals and the final to lead the Pride to the title.<br /> <br /> However, a bright spark for Jamaica Scorpions was all-rounder Rovman Powell. He was sixth in the tournament&rsquo;s runs tally with 356 runs at an average of 44.5. His electric strike rate of 114.1 was way higher than any other player in the top ten. Powell also took 10 wickets with his medium pace.<br /> <br /> Scorpions wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton, who opened the batting, was eighth with 350 runs, while teammate Jermaine Blackwood was ninth with 313. Andre McCarthy (269 runs) fell just outside the top 10 run-scorers.<br /> <br /> Left-arm hander John Campbell failed to impress with the bat, but he took 15 wickets with his part-time off-spin.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For the batters Rovman did well and Blackwood had his best tournament, batting-wise, for Jamaica. Chadwick, McCarthy and Devon Thomas did well with the bat. I think it was a big blow for us when Thomas got injured in the early morning [of the final] because he was slated to play and he got injured in the warm-ups. If he was in the team we would have done better batting-wise. [Batsman Brandon] King, who got injured [early in the tournament], also did well. He was a big loss for us, but things happen.<br /> <br /> Miller credited leg-spinner Damion Jacobs and pacer Jerome Taylor, who ended with 17 and 16 wickets, respectively, to lead the Scorpions bowling. <br /> <br /> He also praised inexperienced fast bowler Reynard Leveridge and off-spinner Damani Sewell &mdash; a newcomer in the Scorpions squad &mdash; for pulling their weight.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In terms of people who did well I think Jerome Taylor as a senior did well and Jacobs did well. Leveridge as a junior did well, while Damani and others who were playing their first games for Jamaica did well &mdash; all of them did well and it was good to see.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t complain about the bowling effort, and also the part-timers put in a very good shift. Every time I called on a part-timer they did the job,&rdquo; he ended. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657978/259743_86273_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657980/259740_86272_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Two from two for Campesino http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Two-from-two-for-Campesino_90134 The Philip Feanny-trained Campesino continued his recent victory charge with another impressive run, this time in the $1.2 million Graded Stakes Eileen Cliggott Memorial Cup feature last Saturday. <br /> <br /> In the grade below, the Open Allowance level, on January 7, Campesino outran rivals to win the St Catherine Cup feature over 1,100 metres, cruising home by six lengths in a smart 1:05.0 minutes compacted with quarterly splits of 22.2 and 45.1 seconds. <br /> <br /> Last Saturday the seven-year-old proved that that run was no fluke as in another good effort he won going six and a half furlongs (1,300 metres) by over three lengths in a quick 1:17.3. <br /> <br /> The Caribbean Sprint Championship winner has completed back-to-back victory, setting the stage for an interesting year among the sprint races.<br /> <br /> Feanny, a man of few words, said that the victory by Campesino was easier than he expected and that he was pleased with his charge&rsquo;s progress.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think that Campesino ran very well today (Saturday) for the victory. We will just wait and see as to where we will take him for here on. One day at a time,&rdquo; Feanny said.<br /> <br /> Sporting the popular colours of owner Hamark Farms, Campesino with Robert Halledeen, again doing riding duties, left the gates in good order and tracked the speedy Sir Budget (Anthony Thomas) from second position.<br /> <br /> When Halledeen let loose, the long strides of Campesino carried him on the outside of Sir Budget at the top of the lane before he took over, sprinting away for the victory.<br /> <br /> Brawn (Aaron Chatrie), who was outpaced from the get go, came with his usual late run on the inside rails to finish in second spot ahead of Franfield (Bebeto Harvey), who was prominent throughout the race.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657681/259687_86203_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Big wins in Grace Shield semi-finals http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Big-wins-in-Grace-Shield-semi-finals_90171 INNSWOOD, Papine, Wolmer&rsquo;s, and St George&rsquo;s College registered convincing wins as the semi-finals of the 2017 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace Shield cricket competition got underway last weekend. <br /> <br /> AT CHEDWIN PARK: Innswood beat Tarrant by an innings and 565 runs. Tarrant were bowled out for just 13 runs with fast bowlers Martino Bloomfield taking five wickets for 12 runs off 5.3 overs and Anthony Ricketts capturing four wickets for no runs off five overs. <br /> <br /> Innswood replied with a massive total of 645 runs for nine declared off 51 overs. The principal scorers were Carlos Brown 201 off 101 balls with 20 fours and 10 sixes; Omari Wallace 153 of 110 balls, including 12 fours and six sixes; Jeavor Royal 126 in 48 balls 12 sixes and four fours; Zidane Copeland 62 off 35 balls with four fours and four sixes; Martino Bloomfield 57 off 21 balls with six fours and five sixes, while Jerome McGowan four wickets for 193 and Zidane Wilson two for 135.<br /> <br /> AT PAPINE HIGH SCHOOL: Papine defeated St Catherine High by an innings and 289 runs. Papine made 553 for nine declared with Romario Lynch scoring 169 with 24 fours and eight sixes; Andre Bailey 77, seven fours and four sixes; Ksihaman Graham 59, inclusive of seven fours and three sixes; David Bird 57, of nine fours, while Jordan Thompson took five for 186 runs.<br /> <br /> St Catherine replied with 127 all out. Davany Morgan made 83, 14 fours and two sixes, while Orinde Pearson took four wickets for eight runs, Kenneal Green four for 41. Papine forced the follow-on as St Catherine were tumbled out for 137 runs with Morgan scoring 92, 17 fours and five sixes, while Pearson captured seven wickets for 17 runs. <br /> <br /> AT WOLMER&rsquo;S BOYS SCHOOL: Wolmer&rsquo;s defeated Campion College by 233 runs. Batting first, Wolmer&rsquo;s made 319 all out, with Marlon Pearce scoring 97; Ramon Johnson 67; Nash Amin 27; Roberto Brooks 27, while Kyle Pottinger took three wickets for 65; Jeheil Smith three for 95; Dominik Samuels two for 63, and Atishai Mansingh two for 51.<br /> <br /> Campion College replied with 151 all out with Mansingh making 37, Samuels 29 and Zidane Constantine 25, while Beckford took three wickets for nine tuns, Andre Thompson two for 11 and Rajir Redhi two for 38.<br /> <br /> Leading by 168 runs, Wolmer&rsquo;s batted a second time and made156 for six declared with Llewelyn Campbell 32 not out, Amin 32 and Pearce 30, Andre Thompson 22 not out. Mansingh took three for 44, Jeheil Smith two or 64.<br /> <br /> AT NELSON OVAL: St George&rsquo;s College defeated Ardenne High by seven wickets. Ardenne made 106 all out with Christopher Green 27 and Samuel Blackwood 25, while Vayani Bailey took three for 31, Kirk McKenzie three for 37.<br /> <br /> St George&rsquo;s replied with 219 all out. Kimani Wilson slammed 129 with nine fours; Kirk McKenzie 36, seven fours, while William Thompson took seven wickets for 52 runs and Green three for 76.<br /> <br /> Batting a second time, Ardenne were bowled out for 149 with Joel Willhemas 69, Green 39. McKenzie took four for 53, Joel Ewan two for 30 and Garth Holmes two for 34. <br /> <br /> The two finalists will come from the winners of Group E and Group F, respectively, and they will face each other in a three-day two innings final scheduled for March 14, 15 and 16 at a venue to be named.<br /> <br /> Group E &ndash; Innswood High, St Catherine High, Papine High, Tarrant High.<br /> <br /> Group F &ndash; Wolmer&rsquo;s Boys&rsquo;, St George&rsquo;s College, Campion College, Ardenne High. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10677419/cricket-ball_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Cornwall sprinter Brown gets better with each race http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Cornwall-sprinter-Brown-gets-better-with-each-race_90192 CATHERINE HALL, St James &mdash; Cornwall College&rsquo;s Matthew Brown completed a full set of gold medals on Saturday when he won the Class One boys&rsquo; 100m at the County of Cornwall Athletic Association (COCAA) Digicel Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.<br /> <br /> After setting a personal best 10.68 seconds at the preliminaries held at St Elizabeth Technical on Tuesday, Brown further lowered his lifetime best to 10.58 seconds (1.4m/s) in the final on Saturday, getting to the line ahead of Rusea&rsquo;s High&rsquo;s Rushane Edwards (10.63 seconds) and another Cornwall College runner, Washington Brown (10.65).<br /> <br /> Brown, who is in his second season in Class One, said he was happy to &ldquo;hold on for the victory&rdquo;, explaining &ldquo;the better part of my race is the first 40 metres&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The 17-year-old upper sixth form student, who has won at every stage at Western Champs from Class Four, said he still has a lot of work to do if he was to not only make the final at the ISSA Championships later next month, but to also try and win a medal.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My season has gone well so far, but I tend to lose my form in the last 30 metres, so if I can sustain my form at the end, I know I will run faster and do well,&rdquo; Brown said.<br /> <br /> Despite another year of eligibility at Champs, its&rsquo; unlikely Brown will be back as he has his eyes set on taking up a track and field scholarship to an American college.<br /> <br /> He has so far scored well on the SAT exams, with 1,100 points.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Paul Reid http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658072/259793_86294_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Spot Valley&rsquo;s Reid eyes Boys Champs 800m title http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Spot-Valley-s-Reid-eyes-Boys-Champs-800m-title_90191 CATHERINE HALL, St James &mdash; Spot Valley High&rsquo;s Tyrese Reid has his eyes fixed on winning the Class One boys&lsquo; 800m at the ISSA Boys&rsquo; Championships next month, and so far it would be hard to bet against him.<br /> <br /> On Saturday, Reid ran a personal best 1:52.20 minutes to win the event at the County of Cornwall Athletic Association (COCAA) Digicel Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, despite not being able to execute his race how he wanted.<br /> <br /> Reid got off to a slow start and was at the back of the field at 250 metres, and then was almost tripped at the 400m mark as he tried to go into lane one.<br /> <br /> Once he got into his rhythm, however, he ran away from the field to win easily, beating Rusea&rsquo;s High&rsquo;s Ackeem Colley, a medallist in the 1500m at Champs last year and the new record holder at Western Champs.<br /> <br /> Also finishing behind Reid was the St Elizabeth Technical pair of Rayon Butler and Jauavney James, both outside of the medals.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I came out here to execute the race the way my coach told me,&rdquo; he said afterwards, and said he felt good about his improvement after running a sub-1:543.00 seconds time at the Youngster Goldsmith meet at GC Foster last month.<br /> <br /> Reid, who is hoping to become the second runner from Spot Valley High to win a gold in the two-laps race at Champs after Devannah Gayle in the Class Three finals in 2014, says his expectations are to win and he is motivated to go even faster.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am satisfied with the season so far... I have had some good times and I hope to run faster,&rdquo; Reid noted<br /> <br /> &mdash; Paul Reid http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658071/259791_86295_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Ictus excites with first effort http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Ictus-excites-with-first-effort_90124 BY RUDDY ALLEN Observer staff reporter Ictus (Performing Magic &ndash; Starship Elaine) placed himself on the list of possible contenders for the upcoming native-bred three-year-old Classic races with an encouraging run in a maiden special event last Saturday.<br /> <br /> The Anthony Nunes-conditioned bay, who was running for the first time, showed speed while tacking across to his left to meet up with<br /> <br /> Zi Beast (Bebeto Harvey) in the middle of the racetrack as Legal Prince (Jemar Jackson) led the field on the outside in the five-furlong straight event.<br /> <br /> Passing the dummy rails, Ictus and Zi Beast took over control of the race and a battle for supremacy then developed in deep stretch but jockey Robert Halledeen kept his mount well-balanced and Ictus began to pull away, winning by one-and-three-quarter lengths. Zi Beast dead heated with Bruce Wayne (Richard Mitchell) for second place.<br /> <br /> Ictus ran 1,000-metres straight in 1:01.0 after splits of 23.0 and 47.3 seconds.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Not a bad performance for a first -time runner. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ictus ran the way how he worked, so we are pretty pleased with that. There wasn&rsquo;t any real plan coming into the race, I just told Robert (Halledeen) to get him out of the gates and everything else would be up to him,&rdquo; Nunes said.<br /> <br /> When asked if his charge would run next in the Sir Howard Stakes next Saturday, Nunes said: &ldquo;The Sir Howard is in a week&rsquo;s time and so we will see if he comes out of this race good and happy and if he eats well. However, I don&rsquo;t usually like to run my horses so close but he might surprise you and me and he may well run on Saturday.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Halledeen was also pleased with the effort by Ictus.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was a good run for the first time asking. It was also an easy run as he wasn&rsquo;t under any pressure whatsoever. We got a good break, sat in a good position and when the right time came, he just ran away with the victory. Nice horse,&rdquo; Halledeen said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657724/259562_86216_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Stanislaus arrives in style http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Stanislaus-arrives-in-style_90121 BY RUDDY ALLEN Observer staff reporter Any assessment of the Spencer Chung-trained Stanislaus might be too early, but based on preliminary signals, this chestnut colt showed that he has some potential after racing for the first time last Saturday. Stanislaus easily romped home in a three-year-old maiden special weight event over 1,000 metres straight.<br /> <br /> The<br /> <br /> Traditional &ndash; Absolute Justice offspring, made all, convincingly, cruising to a seven- length win over Rambunctious Links (Omar Walker) with another first timer, Toot The Blues (Jerome Innis) third. The recorded time was 1:00.1.<br /> <br /> Chung said that he was encouraged by the run by his charge as it was a performance that indicated some of the horse&rsquo;s potential.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was good performance by Stanislaus for the first time out on the racetrack. The final time of 1:00.1 behind a strong headwind down the straight was good and I thought it was a decent run,&rdquo; Chung said. .<br /> <br /> When asked if his charge can challenge in the upcoming Classic races, Chung said that it was way too early to make any predictions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The plan coming into the race was to get into the race and make him know what is competitive racing. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are hoping for him to get into the Classic races but we will have to wait and see what happens now. He is a nice racehorse,&rdquo; Chung said.<br /> <br /> Ridden by Oneil Mullings, Stanislaus, breaking from the number 11 draw, shot into an early lead and stayed with his 10 other rivals for the first two furlongs of the quick sprint.<br /> <br /> Passing the dummy rails, Mullings urged his mount to go and the chestnut colt responded effortlessly, moving away to win emphatically in the end. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657723/259560_86218_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657725/259561_86217_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Fearless Samurai did not turn up http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Fearless-Samurai-did-not-turn-up_90115 BY RUDDY ALLEN Observer staff reporter In preparation for the season&rsquo;s first Classic the 2,000 Guineas, Fearless Samurai returned against older horses in a Restricted Stakes event at Caymanas Park last Saturday.<br /> <br /> However, racing fans and connections, who wanted to see how far the Fearless Vision &ndash; Sayuri offspring had improved, were left disappointed after the chestnut colt&rsquo;s surprising third place finish as the 1-9 favourite in the 1,600-metre event.<br /> <br /> After acting up in the starting gates, Fearless Samurai, ridden by Omar Walker, didn&rsquo;t show his usual speed and had to watch proceedings from some six lengths in fourth position as stable companion Big Mistake (Andre Powell) led the small field ahead of the chasing Gato Dorado (Robert Halledeen) and Bird Catcher, the mount of Odeen Edwards.<br /> <br /> At the half-mile, in tandem with Bird Catcher, Fearless Samurai drew alongside Gato Dorado, who had by then dispatched Big Mistake. <br /> <br /> In deep stretch Bird Catcher kicked away from Fearless Samurai, who had no answer to the calling from Walker and who began to show some signs of distress by swerving in the straight, eventually giving up second spot to stable companion Queen Of Bagdad under Oneil Scott, in the final half-furlong.<br /> <br /> Bird Catcher went on to win by two-and-and-half lengths in 1:40.3. <br /> <br /> Fearless Samurai&rsquo;s trainer, Wayne DaCosta said that he was upset with how the gate handlers managed his charge after the incident in the starting gates.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Once again, I have endured another situation where my horse reared up in the starting gates and almost turned over and he wasn&rsquo;t even taken out of the starting gates and checked to see if he was OK,&rdquo; the disappointed DaCosta said.<br /> <br /> He continued: &ldquo;Everybody is disappointed, the public lost their money and nothing is happening. This is about the fourth time I have saddled a horse that has injured himself in the starting gates and nothing was done. The jockey said that when he was coming around,<br /> <br /> Fearless Samurai felt sore. We won&rsquo;t know how badly he has been injured until he cools off himself and we will take a closer look at him.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657709/259565_86215_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:00 AM Ball in Bravo's court, says Cameron http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Ball-in-Bravo-s-court--says-Cameron PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &mdash; West Indies Cricket Board president, Dave Cameron, has remained vague on the future of embattled left-hander Darren Bravo.<br /> <br /> With the career of the Trinidadian up in the air following his sending home ahead of the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe last November, Cameron refused to be drawn definitively on the player&rsquo;s future, saying only &ldquo;the ball is in his court&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My understanding is that Mr Bravo has met with the executive of the WICB and the ball is in his court, as to whenever he is willing to come back and play cricket,&rdquo; Cameron said at a recent WICB town hall meeting in Port of Spain.<br /> <br /> Clearly incensed by Cameron&rsquo;s criticism of his &ldquo;declining&rdquo; form and &ldquo;poor performances&rdquo;, Bravo slammed the Jamaican administrator in a Twitter outburst in November last year, labelling him a &ldquo;big idiot&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The WICB promptly cancelled Bravo&rsquo;s match/tour contract and sent him home from the tour but also gave him until 4:00 pm of November 11, to remove the offending tweet and issue an apology for his actions.<br /> <br /> Failure to do so, the WICB said at the time, would result &ldquo;in further disciplinary action, including referral to the WICB disciplinary committee&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Asked at the town hall meeting if he had received an apology from Bravo, Cameron again repeated: &ldquo;The ball is in his court.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Bravo did not play in the WICB&rsquo;s Regional Super50 for his native Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and with no clear information emerging from the regional governing body on the matter, it remained uncertain when the impasse with the player was likely to end.<br /> <br /> On Monday, Bravo was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League auction but will need a No Objective Certificate from the WICB in order to participate.<br /> <br /> Bravo is West Indies&rsquo; leading Test batsman with 3400 runs from 49 Tests and at an average of 40.<br /> <br /> Only last October, he stroked a superb century in the day/night first Tests against Pakistan in Dubai. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13417847/Dave-Cameron_w300.jpg Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:19 PM Photos: COCAA/Digicel Western Championships http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Photos--COCAA-Digicel-Western-Championships Kimone Hines (left), the Girls&rsquo; Class One 100m champion, celebrates with her Green Island High teammate Angielee Jackson, who was second at Saturday&rsquo;s COCAA/Digicel Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Hines ran a personal best 11.95 seconds. (Photos: Paul Reid) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658894/ZZ4A937885_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658868/ZZ024565AC_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658861/ZZ17DA9B43_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658857/ZZ6EEE21F4_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658856/ZZ7C8E8DD6_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13658853/ZZ3C1DCA91_w300.jpg Local Sports Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:26 AM