Sport

Fireworks expected as daCosta Cup semi-finalists to be decided today

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Saturday, October 28, 2017

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — There will be fireworks today as teams battle for places in the semi-finals of the ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup schoolboy football competition and also for first-round berths in the Ben Francis Knock-out, as the quarter-finals come to a close.

Clarendon College and St James High will meet at Manchester High in a Group One winner-take-all meeting, while St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and Holmwood Technical meet at the St Elizabeth Technical High School Sports Complex, both games set to start at 3:00 pm.

The winners of the four groups will qualify for the daCosta Cup semi-finals, while the winners and the runners-up will advance to the first round of the Ben Francis KO.

So far, six schools have secured their places in the first round of the Ben Francis KO. They are Clarendon College, St James High, Rusea's High, STETHS, Holmwood Technical and Dinthill Technical.

Four of those schools, group leaders Clarendon, Rusea's, STETHS and Dinthill, need only a point today to win their groups and advance directly to the daCosta Cup semi-finals, but Clarendon College and STETHS will both be involved in top-of-the-tables, games against St James High and Holmwood Technical, respectively.

St James High are second in Group One on goal difference to Clarendon College, but have not conceded a goal in their last four games .

Over the same period the Theodore Whitmore-coached team has scored 12 goals and their confidence going up against the seven-time champions will be high.

The combination of Ewan Barton, Tyrique Clarke and Cal-wayne Allen can be daunting, but Clarendon College have shown so far with a 14-game perfect win season they are title contenders.

Clarendon College's Nique Daley leads the scoring since the end of the first round with seven goals, and with Lamar Walker and Ricardo McIntosh, could make life difficult for any defence.

Holmwood Technical have the stingiest defence of all the teams left in the competition with just two goals allowed, both in the second round, in 14 games and could frustrate the STETHS attack today in a game between unbeaten teams.

STETHS have been in the semi-finals every year since 2009, an impressive eight years in a row and will be strengthened with the return of Damani Henderson from his red card suspension.

Playing at home could also help tilt the scales in favour of STETHS, but Holmwood Technical have defied the odds so far and are legitimate dark horses to make it to the semi-finals of the daCosta Cup.

Rusea's High are in charge of Group Two and a point against St Mary Technical at Jarrett Park will be enough to see them through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2011, when they won their 10th and last title.

After a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Cornwall College a week ago, Rusea's followed up with a 1-0 win over Lennon High on Wednesday and face a St Mary Technical team that has lost both games by a seven-goal aggregate and has nothing to play for but pride.

The battle in Group Two will be at Juici Field where defending champions Cornwall College will be trying to stay alive as the daCosta Cup slips away, taking on Lennon High in a battle of the 2016 rural area champions.

Lennon High edged a tired and lacklustre Cornwall College in the semi-finals of the Ben Francis KO last year on their way to winning their first-ever title just days after Cornwall College lost in the final of the FLOW Super Cup to a last-minute goal against Wolmer's Boys' School.

Cornwall College rebounded to win the daCosta Cup, their 13th lien, and must avoid losing to Lennon today to stay in the hunt for trophies in back-to-back seasons.

They are coming off a 6-0 thrashing of St Mary Technical at Jarrett Park, but face a Lennon High team that has managed, until Wednesday, to win when they needed to.

Kewsi Watts is the key man for Lennon High, while Aiden Jokomba has scored in Cornwall College's last three games and had a double on Wednesday. Garnett Hudson has also scored three times in their last four games played.

Dinthill Technical look on course for their second semi-finals in three years when they take on Central High needing only a point to take group honours.

Led by Kaheem Parris, they have scored six unanswered goals in their two quarter-final games and ended Manchester High's perfect record on Wednesday, beating them 2-0.

Central High are however coming off a big win of their own and will be hoping to edge Manchester High for second spot and a place in the Ben Francis KO first round.

Manchester High seem to have the edge, however, as they will play a Frome Technical team that has lost both games played so far while conceding seven goals.

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