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d'Cup heats up

Western Jamaica schools battle for second-round spots

Observer West writer

Thursday, October 05, 2017

LITTLE LONDON, Westmoreland - Today will be a big day for a number of western Jamaica schools which have hopes of qualifying for the revamped second round of the ISSA/Flow daCosta Cup schoolboy football competition.

After Tuesday's set of games, just one school, Spot Valley High in Zone C, had secured a place in the second round that is set to be played on October 11 and 14.

Today, defending champions Cornwall College and St James High could secure both automatic qualifying spots from Zone A with wins over Maldon High and Anchovy High respectively.

Additionally, Cedric Titus High — second in Zone C — face a potentially season-deciding game against Spot Valley with third place Herbert Morrison lurking in the background.

Zone D has lived up to expectations and it seems will go to the final day with four schools still in contention for the two spots.

The Gregory Palmer-coached Spot Valley High leads Zone C with 22 points and need only a draw today to win the zone and maximise their bonus points. But they will face a desperate Cedric Titus High team who are on 16 points and will be seeking to stay ahead of Herbert Morrison who are three points behind.

Spot Valley and Cedric Titus drew their first round game 2-2, but since then Cedric Titus have dropped points against last-placed Holland High, before rallying to edge William Knibb 2-1 on Tuesday.

Anything but a win for Cedric Titus today could prove disastrous to a season that promised at least qualification to the second round, however, four drawn games have seen then lagging behind on the points table.

Herbert Morrison have had an up and down season, winless in their first three games, then winning two with a combined 10-2 aggregate, then losing at home to Cedric Titus.

Since then, they have rebounded with back-to-back wins, but go to an equally unpredictable William Knibb Memorial at Martha Brae today.

St James High and cup holders Cornwall College are locked on 19 points, but St James have a plus six goal-difference and with two games to go with both teams can secure their places in the second round with wins today.

Both teams scored five goals each on Tuesday— St James blanked Irwin 5-0, while Cornwall College came back from a goal down to overrun Green Pond 5-1, both teams wining away from home.

Today Cornwall College will host Maldon High whose hopes of an automatic qualifying spot went up in flames on Tuesday, after they lost to Anchovy 0-1 at home, while St James face an Anchovy team that will be seeking a big scalp.

Both Anchovy, who go to Cornwall on Saturday, and Maldon who will end against Irwin High, are on 10 points each.

There could be an extra edge to the game at Cornwall College after Maldon had beaten them 3-1 in the first round, snapping their perfect winning streak in the daCosta Cup at 21 straight, and their unbeaten run in zone A at 26 games.

It's a four-team race in Zone D, where Petersfield High took over the lead on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Grange Hill, and are on 16 points from eight games.

Little London lost some grounds after a draw against Mannings School and are a point back, but from seven games, with Mannings on 11 points and Godfrey Stewart hanging on with 10 points, but with fading hope.

Today, Little London host Petersfield in a game that could help decide the zone winners, while Mannings School host Godfrey Stewart. Both first round encounters ended in tied scores.