Rusea's, McGrath clash highlights d'Cup 2nd-round games


Rusea's, McGrath clash highlights d'Cup 2nd-round games

Observer writer

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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LUCEA, Hanover — The contest between 16th-ranked McGrath High and 17th-ranked Rusea's High will highlight the first eight of 16 second-round games in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/WATA daCosta Cup competition today.

The other eight first-leg games are set to be contested tomorrow, with the return games scheduled for Saturday. The aggregate winner of each home-and-away tie will advance to the quarter-finals.

The first two teams in each of the 15 first-round zones, along with the two best third-placed schools in two pre-selected pools, make up the 32 teams who qualify in the second round, who then ranked from number one to 32 based on ranking points.

Defending champions Clarendon College are the number one-ranked school this year and as such, will play 32nd-ranked Green Pond High, while second-ranked Cornwall College will play Munro College, slotted as the 31st-ranked team. Both games are scheduled for tomorrow.

Today, Rusea's High, who were knocked out by 32nd-ranked Mile Gully in the second round as defending champions and the number one-ranked team last year, will be on guard about the challenge to come from McGrath.

With no ranking points carried over from last season for this year, Rusea's High, who were runners-up in Zone B, find themselves in the lower half of the rankings, just below McGrath High, who are one of the biggest surprises of the season.

Like it was last year, Rusea's High will start favourites and should seek to make the best of playing at home, knowing they will travel to face McGrath High on Saturday.

The former champions have played twice the number of games that McGrath have played, winning six of them, while scoring 26 goals, compared to their St Catherine-based opponents, who scored a mere nine times in six games. McGrath will come into the game seeking to resume winning ways after losing their last two games, one of which was a 0-1 loss to Dinthill Technical on Saturday.

Tyrique Clarke and Kenroy Campbell have combined to score 17 goals for Rusea's High so far this season and will again be expected to lead from the front today, while Peter McGregor, who scored six of McGrath's nine goals, will be hoping to cause some problems for their more fancied rivals.

Elsewhere, former champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) will hope to start their journey back to the semi-finals when they play away to Brimmervale High. STETHS missed out on the semi-finals for the first time in eight years last season and will be raring to go today after breezing through Zone E.

They will face a Brimmervale High team that just managed to edge St Mary Technical on goal-difference for second place from Zone J and conceded nine goals in eight games, losing three times in the process.

STETHS played four more games than Brimmervale and scored 41 goals. Leading scorers Mustaq Christopher and Kristoff Murray could make it a difficult afternoon for the Brimmervale defence.

The game at Carder Park will pit familiar foes Annotto Bay, the only team with a perfect win record, against Happy Grove. Both teams played in the same group for years, before the former was moved to Zone J this year.

Annotto Bay are unbeaten against Happy Grove in their last two meetings, drawing 1-1 and winning 1-0 last season, as both finished in mid-table positions and failed to advance. So far this season, Annotto Bay High have won all eight games played and have conceded six goals, while Happy Grove comes into the game scoring just eight goals and conceding as many.

Meanwhile, the impressive Mannings School, who are enjoying their best season in years, with a draw against Petersfield being their lone blemish will put their best defensive record of two goals against in 10 games on the line, when they travel into hostile territory to face Ocho Rios High at Drax Hall. Ocho Rios are back in the second round after missing out in the last two seasons, just getting in ahead of Browns Town by a one goal difference.

Finally, Garvey Maceo High and Spalding High will square off in what should be a closely contested encounter at Manchester High.

The Clarendon-situated Garvey Maceo, will be trying to make up for last season's disappointment when they were elimanated at the quater-final stage following a dazzlind run, winning their first 13 games and scoring nearly 50 goals. They will be hoping for a successful run to semi-final on this occasion.

But Spalding High are on a roll, unbeaten in their last eight games after losing their first two games of the season. The Lynval “Palla” Wilson-coached Spalding High will be riding high heading into today's games, as they have also been defensively sound, conceding just five times in their last eight games.

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