Sport

Champions Clarendon lead d'Cup final charge

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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CATHERINE HALL, St James — Defending champions Clarendon College, record holders Cornwall College, two-time champions Dinthill Technical and first-time semi-finalists McGrath High will be gunning for a place in the final of the ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup today.

Clarendon College, who beat Cornwall College in last season's final, will face 'party crashers' McGrath High in the first game set to start at 4:00 pm. That encounter is to be followed by the clash between former winners Cornwall College and Dinthill Technical, set to kick off at 6:00 pm.

Both games are scheduled for Montego Bay Sports Complex. Clarendon College, Cornwall College and Dinthill were in the semi-finals last year and today's winners will return to the venue in just over two weeks' time for the November 30th final.

There is a 50-50 chance of the final being an all Zone K affair as McGrath High and Dinthill Technical, both of whom have defied the odds to get this far, could win today and qualify for the winners-take-all game. Both are coming off losses however, failing to get past the first round of the ISSA Champions Cup.

Last season, Dinthill Technical gave up four second-half goals in the semi-finals against Clarendon. Coach Xavier Gilbert said they have to be careful not to make the same mistake this time.

“We were beaten by a better Clarendon College team last year,” he conceded. “We held them 0-0 for the first half, but we did not concentrate long enough and against a good Cornwall College team we have to concentrate for the full 90 minutes.”

Dr Dean Weatherly, who has guided Cornwall College to back-to-back semi-finals in both the daCosta Cup and Champions Cup competitions, is wary of the threat that Dinthill Technical pose.

“No matter what happened earlier in the season, all four teams are contenders and we have to play our best game. We are going to play our style of football and will make the adjustments if we have to,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Clarendon College will start favourites to win the opening game at the venue, but McGrath's Coach Jermaine Thomas says they have not come this far to roll over.

“We are going to play what is in front of us. As they say in cricket, play each ball on its merit. We are not scared of the big name schools,” he said.

Clarendon College have been on a tear over their last few games and seem to be peaking at the right time after a pedestrian first round. They have scored 25 goals in their last four daCosta Cup games.

“Our preparations have been good, and we are taking this game seriously,” said Clarendon College's Lenworth Hyde.

He told the Observer that McGrath's loss to Jamaica College in the Champions Cup will not lead to complacency on Clarendon's part.

“We think they will play better against us and we are expecting a tough fight as they will fix things,” Hyde said.

—Paul A Reid


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