JC among teams to begin Champions Cup hunt today

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, November 03, 2018

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Former champions Jamaica College are among 12 teams that will begin their hunt for all-island knockout football supremacy as the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Champions Cup continues today with double-headers across three venues.

Stadium East field will be the venue where Jamaica College battle Mile Gully in a 6:00 pm feature, after Dinthill Technical oppose Holy Trinity at 4:00 pm.

Jamaica College, the 2014 champions of the then Super Cup, are one of four corporate area teams seeking to become the first team to reign twice in the now rebranded competition, which pits the top-eight Manning Cup teams against their top-eight daCosta Cup counterparts in exciting urban versus rural area ties.

Defending champions Kingston College, 2015 winners St George's College and Wolmer's Boys', the 2016 winners, are the other teams chasing the feat in this the fifth edition of the competition.

But for Jamaica College, their first step to achieving that feat will be to get by the Manchester-based Mile Gully in what should be a nail-biting battle from start to finish, as both teams seem evenly poised on paper.

Like the Andrew Peart-coached Jamaica College, the Baron Watson-conditioned Mile Gully seem physically prepared to go for 90 minutes and beyond which should make it a tough task for both teams.

Though the Old Hope Road-based Dark Blues will start slight favourites, Mile Gully have proven that they are no easy pickings when they came from behind to eliminate last year's daCosta Cup champions Rusea's High and so it is anybody's guess who will come away with top honours.

Dinthill Technical, known for their fluent style of play, are heavily favoured to progress to the quarter-final, but should be kept honest throughout by Holy Trinity in the curtain raiser.

Patrons at St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz should also be treated to two delightful encounters as first-time participant Manchester High and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) do battle at 4:00 pm, before Clarendon College tackle Charlie Smith High in the 6:00 pm feature.

Still reeling from the disappointment of their failed daCosta cup campaign, Andrew Edwards and his Manchester High unit are very much aware that this competition represents their last chance at silverware.

“We are very happy to be here and we want to make a statement. We were very disappointed to not get to the semi-finals of the daCosta Cup and this game now will be our last chance at having any shot at silverware and we want to give it our best. So we are going to prepare as best as we can and come Saturday (today) we want to give our best effort and hopefully that is enough to get us across the line,” Edwards told reporters during the draw at Digicel headquarters in downtown, Kingston on Wednesday.

Though STATHS will be missing their influential goalkeeper, captain Jeadine White to national Under-20 duties, head coach Phillip Williams remains confident that his team will be competitive.

“It is a big loss because he (Jeadine White) is our captain and he is very influential on the field for us but this is something that we have prepared for.

“We saw Manchester in preseason and they are a very tough team, very robust and physical and they have a very good coach and so we are looking forward to that game to see where we are at as a team. We are a very young programme and we embrace these types of games to gauge our programme,” Williams reasoned.

Like STATHS, both Clarendon College and Charlie Smith will have individuals absent due to national duties.

The Lenworth Hyde-coached Clarendon College will be without top striker Nicque Daley, while Charlie Smith will be missing head coach Jerome Waite on the sideline, which is an even bigger loss for a team that has been inconsistent all season. As such the very talented Clarendon College should come out victorious.

Meanwhile, at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, Frome Technical oppose Camperdown High at 4:00 pm and at 6:00 pm Cornwall College take on Wolmer's Boys' School in a repeat of the 2016 final.

The quarter-final double-headers will be played on Saturday, November 10 at Stadium East and Catherine Hall at 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm, with the semi-finals being contested on November 16 at Sabina Park at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

The final is scheduled for November 24 at 6:00 pm at Sabina Park or the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall.

Tickets will cost $500 and can be purchased at participating schools and on match days at the venue.

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