Ben Francis finalists welcome move to push game back


Ben Francis finalists welcome move to push game back

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Coaches of teams in the ISSA Ben Francis Knockout final have welcomed the decision by organisers of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) to push the game back a week and use it as a curtain-raiser for the daCosta Cup final at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on November 30.

Garvey Maceo, the 2007 champions, and first-time qualifiers BB Coke High, were scheduled to meet in the final today, but the decision was taken to play the game as the first half of a double-header before the daCosta Cup final between defending champions Clarendon College and Dinthill Technical, ISSA president Keith Wellington confirmed yesterday.

The schools qualified for the final after semi-final wins, with BB Coke coming from a goal down to beat Manchester High 2-1 last Thursday, while Garvey Maceo beat St Elizabeth Technical by the identical scoreline in a game that was completed on Monday after being blown off prematurely because of lightning on Thursday.

Garvey Maceo Coach Merron Gordon said while he did not fully agree with the game between two teams from central Jamaica being played in Montego Bay, the decision “was neither here nor there”, while the decision was welcomed by BB Coke's Kemar Ricketts who is having a dengue outbreak in his team.

Gordon says he “understands what ISSA is trying to do”. adding that it was not a good look for rural area teams playing finals in urban areas, but said “until there were proper venues in central Jamaica then we have to play at the best venues with lights”.

Ricketts told the Jamaica Observer that if the game was played today, he would be forced to play without two-thirds of his team as a number of his starters were struck down by dengue fever.

“I am okay with the postponement, it gives us more time to prepare... it also works out the best for us as we have a number of players who would not be able to play,” he said.

Ricketts says playing the final in Montego Bay “does not matter”.

“The game would have been played at a neutral venue anyways and the better team will win wherever the game is played,” he noted.

— Paul Reid

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