Camperdown's Bender expects humdinger against KC in final quarter-final game

Friday, November 08, 2019

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A crucial win and impressive performance from Camperdown High on Tuesday has put the East Kingston school right back in contention in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup competition.

After falling 2-3 to Wolmer's Boys in the first game in the ongoing quarter-final round nothing other than three points would suffice against Charlie Smith High.

Led by a man-of-the-match performance from Captain Shaquille “Musa” Bradford, who hit a hat-trick after his teammate Shawn Bradley had grabbed the opener, the boys clad in red and blue eased to a 4-0 win over a hapless Charlie Smith aggregation.

Coach Christopher Bender was pleased with his team gaining their first points of the round.

“Obviously we needed the three points that was most important…we wanted probably four or five goals in the circumstances,” he said.

He was also happy with the classy display by his charges, who have finally shown what they are capable of at this level.

“We did what we had to do today (Tuesday). We came here, we played well. We not only scored the goals but we played well. That was lacking in terms of the composure in the last third and we got it today, we got four goals, hopefully we can continue that in the next game, because the next game is going to be a humdinger,” said the veteran coach.

Bender appeared caustious in choosing his words to describe the importance of Bradford to his team.

“He is very important like the rest of the ten players, always important, plus the bench, but this is something we try to tell him from last year. A little bit more composure could be the difference between us going to the semifinals or not.”

The player himself was not as understated as he recognised before the game, the role he would have to play on the day.

“Two of the goals were the same, attack down the wing and try and get a shot,” he said of his goals. “Laing got card out and he was not in the team so I had to take it up, be the man in the game and score the goals to put my team in front because that match that we played (Tuesday) was a do-or-die match,” Bradford noted.

Just as it was a year ago, Bradford and his teammates must get past the defending champions Kingston College to advance to the semifinals. “Musa” and his teammates are already preparing for the challenge that lies ahead.

“KC is our next match and we have to win to go to the semis. We have to capitalize on their weakness. I know the quality of my team, I know what we can do and what we can't, so we will go into training and do what we are told,” he said.

Team manager Donovan Lofters gave Bradford him high marks.

“I am pleased with Shaquille, he has been stepping up. Last year he didn't score a goal in the second round now he has gone six or seven goals for us, so I am pleased with him. The team's performance I am not totally pleased with,” he stated.

Having fallen out of the Champions Cup in the first round, the Manning Cup will now take priority, said Lofters, as they prepare for another almighty battle with the Purples from North Street.

“We are out of the Champions Cup so now we can concentrate on the Manning Cup on the training ground, get them sharp again.”

“I know they (KC) are a strong team, they are a spirited team and the same thing happened last year. Last year we had four points, they had two, they defeated us. I know it was coming down to this game, I knew that,” Lofters said.

The final set of games in the Manning Cup will be played next Tuesday at venues to be announced.

— Dwayne Richards