Sports

Big match-ups in daCosta Cup quarter-finals

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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CLARENDON PARK, Clarendon — Clashes involving former champions St Elizabeth Technical High (STETHS) and Cornwall College will highlight today's first round of games in the quarter-finals of the ISSA/Wata daCosta Cup.

St Elizabeth Technical will face Lennon High in a Group Three game in the first match of a double-header at the Juici Field and Cornwall College face red-hot Charlemont High in a Group Four game at the Bramwell Clarke Complex in Ewarton, starting at 3:00 pm.

Both games will feature teams that are expected to be contenders for group honours with only the winners of the four groups qualifying for the semi-finals.

Also today, Clarendon College, winners of 10 straight games, will face Old Harbour High in a Group Two game in the second game at Juici Field, while St James High and Manchester High will meet at Jarrett Park; giant killers Mile Gully High face Port Antonio High at Carder Park in Group One, while Maggotty High and Frome Technical will meet in the first game of a double-header at Frome Sports Complex, with the other being Dinthill Technical versus Petersfield High.

Former champions Glenmuir High and Garvey Maceo High meet tomorrow in the lone game at Juici Field, their third meeting this season after they played each other twice in the first round.

The race for silverware will step up several notches, after a long first round followed by the two-game, home-and-away second-round knock-out format, each team will play three games with the winners of each group advancing to the semi-finals with the second-placed teams accompanying them into the ISSA all-island knockout. The third- and fourth-placed teams will battle for the Ben Francis Knockout.

STETHS cruised past Vere Technical in the second round and will take on a Lennon High team who were second in their first-round group then just got by Little London in the second round.

Ronaldo Webster has carried the STETHS team all year and his 15 goals, three in the two games against Vere Technical, could give them the edge over Lennon High.

Lennon High allowed 13 goals in the first round, allowing 11 in two losses to Clarendon College, but will hope Tyrese Harrison will be able to help them get the better of STETHS who are unbeaten all year in 12 games.

Both teams at the Bramwell Clarke Complex are coming into the game with sparkling credentials and will be meeting for the first time in decades.

The winner of the game between Charlemont High and Cornwall College will get an advantage in the race in arguably the toughest of the four groups.

Cornwall College won the competitive Zone A, dropping two points in the process and cruised past an overwhelmed Titchfield, while Charlemont High, who were advancing past the first round for the first time since the 2012 season, finished second to Dinthill Technical in Zone K on goal difference, holding the former champions to 2-2 draws twice.

Charlemont High's only blemish was their loss to Brown's Town High in the first leg of the second round game, but rebounded with a 3-0 win on Saturday.

Aiden Jokombo has had a breakout season for Cornwall College with 14 goals s far, two each in both games against Titchfield, after scoring 10 in all of the 2017 season.

The partnership of Jokombo and Shavon McDonald, both of who were part of the 2016 team that won the daCosta Cup, has been sufficient to give them the edge over most teams, but Salano Birch, Matthew Thorpe and Santino Barracks have also played their role in the team's unbeaten run so far.

Derron Wildman, Clive Wedderburn and Renardo Brown have combined to score most of their team's 40 goals so far, and playing in front of what is expected to be a 'home crowd'. will be eager to prove their mettle.

After overturning defending champions Rusea's High last Saturday, Mile Gully will also be hoping to prove it was not a fluke as they take on Port Antonio High at Carder Park.

Mile Gully won the first leg 2-1 then rallied form 0-3 down to score two crucial away goals to eliminate the number one ranked team and will fancy their chances against a Port Antonio High team that has cruised under the radar so far.

It will be uncharted waters for both teams who have not gone this far in the competition in some time, but will have their eyes on moving forward.

Frome Technical, who will face Maggotty High at the Frome Complex, are no strangers to this round and their players will hope to make up for losing all three games in the quarterfinal last year.

Maggotty High are also strangers to this level of football, playing much longer then they are used to and the coaching staff will have a big job on their hands today against Frome Technical who also overcame a first leg loss to win the second leg game and earn their place in the last 16.

Alwin Hill has scored in Frome Technical's last three games, taking over from Giovauni Mittoo who started the season with three consecutive hat-tricks and will relish playing on the familiar Frome grounds.

Clarendon College, perfect through 10 games and coming off a 10-0 aggregate win over Green Island High, are favourites to go all the way, as they were last year and will start favoirites to beat Old Harbour High in their Group Two game at Juici Field.

Old Harbour managed just seven goals in their eight first-round games and got two in the second round against St Mary High and will face a high powered Clarendon College team led by Nique Daley, who has scored four goals in the second round and eight in the first round.

Lamar Walker is the player who pulls the strings from the midfield for the Clarendon College team and will be expected to play a part for the team today along with Roderick Granville.

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