Changes coming for Ben Francis Cup and Walker Cup qualification


Changes coming for Ben Francis Cup and Walker Cup qualification

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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With howls of discontent coming from many quarters last year about the changes made by the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) to qualification for the oldest-running schoolboy football knockout competitions, changes are afoot, again.

The Ben Francis Competition, which is contested by daCosta Cup teams, and the Walker Cup competition, which is contested by Manning Cup teams, will have new qualification criteria for the 2019 season.

Having stated clearly last year that things were not set in stone, Linvern Wright, chairman of the daCosta Cup competition, outlined the changes at the launch of the ISSA Schoolboy Football season at Terra Nova All-suite Hotel in St Andrew on Wednesday.

“Second- and third-placed teams from the quarter-final round of the daCosta Cup will vie for the Ben Francis Cup,” Wright revealed.

“The competition will be played over three rounds, with the second round being the semi-finals and the last round the final.”

Last year, the teams that finished third and fourth in the quarter-final round contested the Ben Francis Cup competition.

The Walker Cup competition will see even more changes to qualification.

“All teams knocked out of the second round, home-and-away tie will be involved in a play-off with the winners, matching up in a subsequent round with the third- and fourth-placed teams in each of the two Manning Cup quarter-final groups playing in four match-ups. The winner of each of these games will qualify for the semi-finals,” Wright explained.

The changes introduced will allow teams that fail to qualify for the lucrative Champions Cup competition to stand a chance of winning a knockout title, which wasn't the same last year. This has also introduced another set of games in the Walker Cup.

The schoolboy football season will begin with a triple-header at Catherine Hall Stadium in Montego Bay on Saturday, September 7.

Manning Cup champions Kingston College will face former champions Excelsior High at 2:00 pm in a Group G encounter, which will be followed by daCosta Cup champions Clarendon College going up against Lennon High in a Group H encounter at 5:00 pm. The Champions Cup holders Cornwall College and Irwin High will then close the show in a Group A fixture, starting at 7:00 pm.

—Dwayne Richards

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