Sport

Four schools could win their zones today

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Saturday, September 30, 2017

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FROME, Westmoreland — Four schools could win their zones today and claim big points towards second-round seedings as the return-round of the ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup schoolboy football competition continues with 41 games.

Manchester High, Ocho Rios High, Dinthill Technical and Port Antonio High can all take unassailable positions at the top of the respective zones, while three other schools — Rusea's High, Denbigh High and Seaforth High — could secure safe passage to the second round.

So far, Manchester High, Glenmuir High, Port Antonio High and Dinthill Technical have all confirmed their places in the second round and cannot finish lower than second place to get an automatic second-round slot.

Thirty-two schools, the top two in the 15 zones plus the two best third-placed teams, one each from two pre-ordained pools, will advance to the second round which this year for the first time will be played on a two-way, home-and-away knockout format with the top seeds being paired against the lower ranked teams.

The Inter-secondary School Sports Association, the organisers of the competition, has designed an intricate mathematical formula where teams will be allocated points for a variety of reasons, such as how they finished last season, as well as this year's results that will be used to rank the teams from first through 32nd.

On the field today, teams will be hoping to maximise their chances by winning their zones and Manchester High, winners of seven straight, will be away to May Day High, who have conceded 27 goals in their seven games played, including seven from Manchester High in their first meeting.

Mile Gully, who are second in the zone, eight points behind Manchester High, will be seeking to firm up their grip on the position when they play away to DeCarteret College, who they had beaten 6-0 in the first round.

Ocho Rio High's seemingly smooth run to the second round has hit a pot hole as they have managed one point and no goals from their last two games, but a win over Brown's Town today would see them top Zone I.

Ocho Rios won their first four games scoring six goals and conceding none, but were held 0-0 by last-placed York Castle last week and beaten 1-0 by Marcus Garvey High on Thursday.

They are still leading the zone with 13 points, five more than Brown's Town, who are tied on eight with two otherschools — Steer Town and Marcus Garvey — and anything but a win for Ocho Rios today would throw the zone wide open.

Dinthill Technical are expected to dispatch Guys Hill today and claim their eighth straight win and add to their competition-leading 33 goals scored.

Kaheem Parris leads all players with 11 goals scored and will team up with Shamari Davis and Andre Fletcher against Guys Hill, who they had beaten 5-1 earlier.

Port Antonio High have already secured a second round spot, but a win over second-placed Titchfield High today would see them home safely on 18 points.

Titchfield will have a slight advantage, however, having beaten Port Antonio High 1-0 in their first meeting and will hope to at least match the first-round result today and move to within three points of the leaders.

Ten-time champions Rusea's High will secure their place with a win today, but face long-time rivals and second-placed Frome Technical at Frome.

Rusea's High lead with 19 points and are coming off a comfortable 4-0 win over minnows Hopewell High on Thursday, but nine of Frome's 15 points have come at home where they have won all their games by a 9-1 aggregate.

Jhavoy Diaz and Daniel Reid have each scored three goals for Rusea's this week, but against Hopewell High and Cambridge, and face a tougher Frome defence this afternoon.

Frome Technical should be led by Andre Cunningham, whose seven goals is the best output by anyone on either team.

Denbigh High are virtually through but need a point against Bellefield High to cement their spot from Zone M behind zone winner Glenmuir High, who are off today.

Seaforth High are unbeaten so far in Zone O with six straight wins and face third-placed Morant Bay, who no doubt will be eyeing a second round spot as well.

Morant Bay have given Seaforth High their stiffest test so far this year when they were outscored 3-2 and will hope to get a leg up on them this time.

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