Sport

KC, JC favoured in Manning Cup semis

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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It is familiar territory for three of the four ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup semi-finalists, but that will by no means make their task of securing the two coveted spots in the showpiece event any easier.

Renewed rivalries will be the order of today's alluring semi-final clashes, as four of the finest teams in this year's urban area competition square off at the National Stadium.

In the much-anticipated curtain-raiser at 4:00 pm, title-holders Jamaica College (JC) will battle with second-time semi-finalists Holy Trinity High for a place in the Corporate Area championship final next weekend.

The feature game set to start at 6:00 pm will attract similar interest from many football enthusiasts, as FLOW Super Cup finalist Kingston College oppose St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS).

Today's contest will be the second meeting between highly touted title-favourites Kingston College (KC) and STATHS this season, with the former seeking to maintain their dominance over their opponents.

KC drew first blood with a 1-0 win the Walker Cup knockout competition and will be looking to roar into their third final of the season, as they remain on course to cop the next three titles up for grabs.

The North Street-based team, who missed out at this point last year after they went down 0-3 to beaten finalists Wolmer's Boys' School, will feel more at home against STATHS and are favoured to move one step closer to breaking a lengthy title drought, having last held the title back in 1986.

The Ludlow Bernard-conditioned side with an attacking front line to be led by marksman Rashawn Mackinson, Omar Thompson, Trayvone Reid, Fabian Grant and possibly Horace Ramsey, will be riding high and should keep the compact STATHS defensive line very busy.

“The players are very upbeat and they are looking forward to what should be a very good game against STATHS; we defeated them the first time round and we are seeking to maintain our dominance over them.

“We respect their defensive approach because they are playing to their strength and we don't expect anything less. We will also be seeking to play to our strength as well and hopefully our strength will be more superior,” Bernard told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“We have ambitions to win trophies this year, it (Manning Cup) is very much up for grabs and we fancy our chances of winning this game and moving on to the championships after,” he added.

Interestingly, the Bumper Hall-based STATHS last won the title a year after KC in 1987 and even though it is their first time making it into the final four in quite a while, they should not be underestimated.

The Phillip Williams-coached team will start the fresher of the two and the tactician is optimistic that it will work to their advantage.

“We are looking forward to this match-up with much anticipation and confidence; they defeated us in the semi-final of the Walker Cup, but we have done our homework. They are good at what they do and we are good at what we do, so we just need to make the most of our moments whenever we get them in the game.

“No doubt we being fresher will be an advantage. I am not sure how much of an advantage it will be, but as I said before, they are a good team and we have done the necessary preparations to ensure that we will perform well on the day, and we expect to have a good game,” Williams declared.

JC will renew their rivalry with Holy Trinity dating back to 2014 when they met in the inaugural final of the FLOW Super Cup.

Since then, both teams have met on three other occasions, with JC coming out victorious on all four occasions, including at this stage of the competition last year, when they won 5-0.

They will again be favoured to take all the marbles, as they are in superb form despite Saturday's FLOW Super Cup loss.

The “Dark Blues”, who have held the title since 2013, are once again chasing a piece of history as the first school in recent times to retain the Manning Cup title for five consecutive years.

The talismanic Tyreek Magee, along with Norman Campbell, Tevin Rochester, formerly of Holy Trinity, Shaniel Thomas and Captain Maleik Howell are expected to carry the brunt of the Miguel Coley-coached team's attack.

Assistant Coach Andrew Peart pointed out that the team has recovered physically and mentally from Saturday's defeat and will be unrelenting in a bid to make the final, where a fourth meeting with KC seems imminent.

“We have gotten over the game on Saturday and we are anticipating tomorrow's (today's) game to really free our minds. Despite our record against Holy Trinity over the years, we still have to be cognisant that this is a team that has been doing well,” Peart noted.

“So we have to go out and play on the day because it is not about history and what you have done before, it is what you do in the present and we need to approach it with the right attitude and mentality with the desire to win.

“This has been a season where a lot of teams have been coming at us and this one will be no different,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Devon Anderson-conditioned Holy Trinity have looked the part in the first round and, having been rested for a while, should report in good nick to pose a real threat to the champions.

The South Camp Road-based team has never experienced the thrill of Manning Cup title success and today marks the first step of their endeavour to secure that accolade.

Anderson and his team, with the likes of Shai Smith and Fabrizzo Burton among others, are equipped to turn the tables on their more illustrious counterparts.

“We are looking to make the final this year. We have been out of action but we have been working to keep the rust away and the guys are more than ready to go out and give of a good performance.

“What happened with them (JC) on Saturday is not our concern, but word on the street is that they will be coming all out against us. But we are relishing the underdog status as usual and we are going out there to play our game and hopefully come out victorious,” said Anderson.

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