Interesting match-ups in INSPORTS football, netball draws

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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The INSPORTS All-Island Primary School Football and Netball Round-of-16 Draw was revealed on Friday at a ceremony held at the National Arena's hospitality room.

Defending national football champions McAuley face another major hurdle after being paired with Clarendon's Watsonton, who won their first major parish title last month.

McAuley's coach Shane Richards, who guided them to the title last season, says they've been training throughout the Christmas but refused to be drawn into making any predictions over the two-legged tie.

“The ball is round, so we'll take it one step at a time, game by game,” he said.

First-leg matches in the first round are set for January 16 and 18, with the return legs scheduled for January 21 and 23.

August Town are at home to wildcard entrant York Town of Clarendon and will be favourites to win the tie after going all the way to the semi-finals last season.

Hanover's Bethel Primary are the only school to sweep both netball and football titles at the parish level and will play their first leg away to Lowe River of Trelawny.

Principal Jasmin Beckford-Johnson says the Bethel players are high on confidence.

“Like I said earlier, Bethel Primary and Junior High School has a rich legacy of talent and championships, and I have no doubt that the team who we will be playing shortly, which is Lowe River, I hope that they are ready because Bethel is ready to sweep the championships and anybody who comes after we are ready, we are up for it,” she said.

“Our students already understand that they are champions, win or lose, and they are very confident and they're going all out.”

Howard Cooke stunned many-time St James champions Corinaldi to become the standard bearer for the parish and coach Rance Morris believes he has a special bunch of players who could take them all the way.

“I think this team can give me the championship to be honest with you,” said Morris, who doubles as a physical education teacher. “They are very settled and they seem to be progressing more and more each day, and we just hope we can continue with that. We have been preparing and I just think that will be the key to give us the championship.”

In netball, Portland Cottage of Clarendon, beaten finalists last season, face a strong Bethabra aggregation representing the parish of Manchester.

Bethel and Corinaldi are also teams to watch as well as Gregory Park and Ensom City, the respective Portmore and St Catherine champions.

Sport Minister Olivia Grange lauded the teams for getting this far in the competition but also commended INSPORTS for the work it has been doing.

“Three hundred and 10 schools from across the country have been participating in the competitions which we launched in November. I congratulate each team and each player who competed in these competitions,” Grange told the audience.

“We are now down to the best teams in each competition. All of us might not be able to take back the winning trophies to our respective schools – but all of us will be winners if we give of our best each time we compete and observe the honoured rules of fair play,” she added.

This seasons champions are guaranteed $200,000, runners-up $125,000, third-placed $100,000 and fourth-placed $75,000.

The final is set for February 16 at a venue to be announced.

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