WITH a new champion to be crowned in this year's ISSA/Digicel Walker Cup knockout competition, top contenders St George's College (STGC) and Wolmer's Boys' will make their push for the final when they face Tivoli High and Haile Selassie, respectively, in semi-final action at Stadium East field today.
The Jerome Waite-coached Wolmer's Boys will be first up against Linval Dixon's Haile Selassie unit at 2:00 pm, while Neville "Bertis" Bell's STGC square off against the Christopher Nicholas-conditioned Tivoli in the 4:15 pm feature of the double-header.
After falling short in their bid to capture the coveted Manning Cup, both STGC and Wolmer's Boys' are favoured to contest the showpiece event in this competition as it represents their last shot of ending the season with a silverware.
As it relates to paper, tradition and resources, both are believed to be a cut above their respective opponents but their performances on the pitch today will be the only deciding factor on this occasion, as Haile Selassie and Tivoli have shown that they are no mere walkovers.
STGC showed good form throughout their Manning Cup campaign but had their wings clipped by Mona High at the quarter-final stages.
Having now put that disappointment behind them STGC are said to be focused, motivated and very intent on copping this Walker Cup — which they last won in 2014 — for a 10th time.
They showed grit and determination to get by Excelsior High 2-1 in a quarter-final win achieved in tough underfoot conditions, while five-time champions Wolmer's Boys' edged Campion College 1-0 in their meeting.
However,Haile Selassie, who are hunting their first hold on this title, and four-time champions Tivoli High will want to prove that their places at this stage of the competition is no fluke and as such will fancy their chances against the proverbial big wigs.
In their quarter-final action Haile Selassie booted two-time defending champions St Catherine in a classy 4-1 win, while Tivoli High comfortably blanked Charlie Smith 2-0.
While those opponents are nothing compared to the ability of STGC and Wolmer's Boys, Haile Selassie and Tivoli High are more than capable of holding their own against their more fancied rivals.
Much like STGC, Wolmer's Boys' are seeking to break a lengthy title drought having last won the Walker Cup title in 2015, but with Haile Selassie being both confident and hungry to create history the Heroes' Circle boys will have to put every step right to continue their hunt.
Meanwhile, with Tivoli's last title coming 17 years ago in 2005, this year represents their best opportunity to break their own drought and, as such, they should be highly motivated to make the most of their chances here. Whether are not they will better their North Street rivals is left to be seen.
As a result of the 'No extra time' rule, any game ending in a stalemate after regulation time will go straight to penalty.
2:00 pm: Haile Selassie vs Wolmer's Boys' @ Stadium East
4:15 pm: Tivoli High vs St George's College @ Stadium East
— Sherdon Cowan