WITH the return legs of the opening round now underway, the group favourites are slowly pulling away from the trailing pack.
While Excelsior are enjoying their stint at the top of the group with 12 points and a goal difference of plus 18, Campion College would be hoping that the first round ends sooner rather than later. With just one point from five games played, the Liguanea-based school are enduring a torrid spell in this season's instalment, encompassed by their 6-0 drubbing against the group leaders on Saturday. Norman Manley, who hold nine points have acquired a three-point breathing room from Penwood High in the battle for second place in the group.
Despite not being as prolific as in previous seasons, Jamaica College (JC) are going about their business in a comfortable manner, claiming a maximum 12 points from their games thus far. With most teams in the group posing a threat to the other, it is Camperdown High that has managed to keep pressure in JC with their 10 points, despite playing a game more. Waterford High and St Jago High have not been able to apply the usual dose of pressure to the more successful teams in the group on six and four points respectively.
The defending champions, St George's College (StGC) have finally managed to take sole leadership of the group after trailing Hydel High since the opening week. While Hydel still boast a better goal difference, StGC's hold a two-point lead following Hydel's 2-2 draw with Denham Town High the same time they were brushing aside Clan Carthy High 3-0. Given the playing levels at present, it is widely believed that St George's and Hydel will be the ones to progress to the next.
Bridgeport High and Calabar High in first and second place respectively are still unable to go about their business comfortably as Innswood High continue to have them looking over their shoulders. While Bridgeport are a bit more relaxed with their 13 points from five games, it is Calabar High that are under real pressure as they hold a mere one point advantage over Innswood High, having played a game more than the team from St Catherine.
Teams from St Catherine seem to be doing well for themselves in this particular group as the three teams contesting for the top two positions are all from that parish. Spanish Town High, St Catherine High and Ascot High hold 12, 11 and 10 points respectively, setting up this group to be one to watch as the first round comes to an end. Previous group leaders Holy Trinity High have now fallen off the pace completely and their chances of advancing dwindle after every match day.
'Done and dusted' seems to be theme of this group at the moment with Wolmer's Boys High on 18 points and Donald Quarrie High on 15. The closest rivals José Marti Technical hold a meagre seven points from their six games played, leaving it close to impossible for the top two to be derailed. With 38 goals scored, the maroon-and-gold-clay boys from Heroes Circle are easily the most prolific team of the competition, with only two other teams thus far managing more than 20 goals.
In the top of the table clash on Saturday, Kingston College failed to exact revenge on Charlie Smith High, playing out a 0-0 draw following their 1-0 scoreline earlier in the season. That being said, 16 and 13 points respectively still hold them in a comfortable position. St Andrew Technical and Pembroke Hall are picking up the scraps on eight points each while Meadowbrook's season continues to plummet, conceding 32 goals without managing to acquire a point from their six games.
— Devaro Bolton