St Catherine hunt Walker Cup repeat as KT look to break 60-year drought
Imarie Foster of Charlie Smith controls the ball under pressurefrom Kingston Technical's Worrell Nelson during their ISSA/DigicelManning Cup Group Two quarter-final contest at Stadium East inthis December 19, 2021 file photo. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

WHAT was a roller coaster season for Kingston Technical (KT) could possibly end in ju bilation when they are presented with a glorious opportunity to upstage defending champions St Catherine High in the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Walker Cup final today.

The 1:00 pm encounter will serve as a curtain-raiser for the much-anticipated Manning Cup final between Jamaica College and Kingston College at Stadium East.

Kingston Technical, who started the truncated season in top form, defeating reigning Manning Cup champions Jamaica College in group play, have since failed to replicate that form, losing all their second-round fixtures.

In fact, they were even hammered 5-0 by Mona High in the Walker Cup semi-final but were later handed this lifeline after their conquerors were booted for using two ineligible players who should have been serving red card suspensions for that game.

The onus is now on the Shaun Charlton-coached side to make the most of the opportunity to end the season on a high and, by extension, bring an end to their lengthy schoolboy title drought that has surpassed four decades.

Kingston Technical's lone Walker Cup triumph was back in 1962, but the likes of Maquan Aldridge, Worrell Nelson, Tajae Medwinter and company could now rewrite that history.

But St Catherine High will be bent on retaining the only schoolboy football title in their history which they won in 2019, as they, like Kingston Technical, have not had the best of seasons.

The Anthony Patrick-coached St Catherine High were a shadow of themselves in the Manning Cup, offering very little resistance as was expected.

So sub-standard was their display that their semi-final triumph over Excelsior High did not inspire much confidence in their supporters.

After playing out a 1-1 draw in regulation time both St Catherine and Excelsior engaged in an atrocious penalty shoot-out — where the first seven kicks from the 12-yard spot were misfires — before the defending champions eventually converted two to the opponents' one.

Patrick, who has also won the Manning Cup title with Bridgeport High School, would have taken his team to task as well as taken lessons from that experience, and as such they should be very much intent on producing a much better display, as Kingston Technical have proven at the top of the season that they can be lethal when focused.

Still, it is anybody's guess if the title will end up at John's Road in Spanish Town or Hanover Street — and that unpredictability has generated some intrigue around the contest.

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