Rusea's, William Knibb hunt semi-final spots in Ben Francis Cup
Jevani Plummer of Frome Technical shields the ball from William Knibb (right) Memorial's Kernell Peart in their ISSA daCosta Cup quarter-final game played at Jarrett Park last week. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. (Photo: Paul Reid)

LUCEA, Hanover - FORMER champions Rusea's High and William Knibb Memorial High will meet at the Colin Miller Sports Complex in Lucea on Friday for a place in the semi-finals of the ISSA Ben Francis Knockout competition, starting at 3:00 pm.

Three western Jamaica-based schools are in contention for a place in the November 30 semi-finals, with Frome Technical High playing away to Glenmuir High in May Pen as schools seek to salvage their season with the 'consolation' cup.

Rusea's High had beaten Christiana High 5-1 in last week's first round while William Knibb Memorial and Frome Technical joined the competition after they failed to advance past the quarter-finals of the daCosta Cup.

The Rusea's win came at a very high cost, however, as Terome Morgan suffered a broken leg and will miss the rest of the season. The Rusea's coaching staff is hoping that his presence will not be missed.

William Knibb will be hoping to snap a four-game winless run dating back to their final game in the Round of 16 and have been in freefall since the end of the first round.

After scoring 49 goals in eight games in the first round of the daCosta Cup competition — 37 against Herbert Morrison and Muschett High — goals have dried up for William Knibb. The Martha Brae, Trelawny-based school have scored only four goals in their subsequent eight games while conceding seven in their last six games.

Their form this year mirrors the previous season when they won their first-round group then lost all three games in the next round and were out of the competition.

William Knibb's loss of form seems to coincide with that of their top striker Mark Lewis, who has been coming off the bench in their last few games.

On Friday it will be seen if Coach Dewight Jeremiah will reinstate him to the starting team in their game against Rusea's High.

Rusea's High, who won the last of their four Ben Francis KO titles 27 years ago in 1996, will look to Shamour Smith, Deonjay Brown and Jerrome Williams to get the goals on Friday.

Frome Technical won their lone Ben Francis KO title in 2006 and are hoping to snap a winless run that followed a good first round.

The Westmoreland-based school won Zone B easily in the daCosta Cup competition then got by Titchfield High 6-0 in the second round but have since found goals hard to come by, scoring just four in their last six games and have allowed 10 over the same period.

They must get the better of a solid Glenmuir High team on Friday if they are to extend their participation in the schoolboy football season.

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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