Four battle for scarce quarter-final berths in D'Cup
Demarcus Walker of Herbert Morrison Technical (right) tries to get away from Cornwall College's Braxton Richards in Tuesday's daCosta Cup Zone A game at William Knibb. Cornwall College won1-0.

TUCKER, St James — A four-team battle for two quarter-final places from Zone A will be the highlight of today's six games as the first round of the ISSA/Digicel daCosta Cup draws to a close.

Three more quarter-final spots could be decided today — two from Zone A and another in Zone E where the two-game play-offs will kick off.

Six of the 16 available spots in the quarter-finals have been taken already with Frome Technical and Manning's School from Zone B, Garvey Maceo High and Vere Technical from Zone F and Dinthill Technical from Zone H securing their berths.

Eight more teams could book their passage through to the next round tomorrow when the competition continues with 15 games.

Today, three points separate the top four teams in Zone A where the organisers have made adjustments to the schedule and will see three of the four games starting at 3:15 pm with the game between Holland High and Spot Valley High — neither of whom are in contention — starting at 1:00 pm.

William Knibb Memorial lead Zone A with 15 points, Cornwall College are on 13 with Herbert Morrison Technical and Irwin High both on 12 points.

William Knibb will face Irwin High at WesPow Park, Cornwall College and Maldon High, who are yet to score a goal or earn a point, will meet at Irwin High, while Herbert Morrison Technical will play St James High at William Knibb.

After having their five-game winning run snapped in a 1-0 loss to neighbours Holland High on Tuesday, William Knibb Memorial, who have scored 18 goals, are expected to respond with the form that saw them score 12 goals in their first three games.

The Trelawny school need only a point to take their place in the next round, but a win will give them group honours. Mark Lewis, who has scored eight goals so far, is expected to lead the charge along with Tusaine Burgess and Tineaus McPherson.

With the bit between their teeth and coming off back-to-back games where they scored three times, Irwin High have their destiny in their own hands as they seek to advance from the first round for the first time, ever.

The Norman Foster-coached team has equalled their best points total ever, but have only amassed double figure points in one season three times and a win today would be their biggest ever.

While Tavin Leslie is the danger man for Irwin High, Leo Campbell will be looking to add to his tally as well.

Cornwall College have not conceded a goal in their last four games from which they earned 10 points and should be able to beat Maldon High after getting the better of a good Herbert Morrison team on Tuesday.

Maldon High have conceded 20 goals in their six games, but Cornwall have been inconsistent this year and must be able to put consecutive good performances together if they are to register an impressive win today and go into the next round on a high.

Herbert Morrison had looked set to take the second spot in the group until Tuesday's loss, their second of the season and must win today and hope for some luck elsewhere.

Tuesday's game was the only one they had failed to score at least one goal and could have a tough task against a St James team that will be playing for pride but looking to go out on a high.

Zone E leaders Lennon High could book their spot in the next round if they can beat Glenmuir High for a second time this year in the play-offs, in the first game of the double header at Glenmuir High.

Lennon High are on 11 points and a win would ensure that they cannot finish lower than second, depending on the result of the game between Clarendon College and Edwin Allen.

Clarendon College had beaten Edwin Allen 3-2 in the opening game of the season but Edwin Allen have won their next three and drawn the other in a series of impressive displays.

The champions are also coming off a morale boosting 16-1 win, albeit against minnows Claude McKay High who have conceded 43 goals, by far he most by any team in the competition.

Irwin High's top scorer Tavin Leslie (right) dribbles past St James High's Romaine Harwood in an ISSA/Digicel daCosta Cup Zone Agame at Irwin High earlier this year.
Herbert Morrison's Keishawn Heath (left) gets past Irwin High's Kenoy Morant in their ISSA/Digicel daCosta Cup Zone A game earlier this season. Herbert Morrison won 1-0. (Photos: Paul Reid)
BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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