Champions ready!

Jamaica College confident of defending Manning Cup title

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

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A new year, new sponsorship deals, a new coach, but it's the same expectations for defending champions Jamaica College (JC) as they hunt their sixth-consecutive ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup title.

JC won the first edition in 1909 and have been winning the Cup non-stop since 2013. They have won seven times in the last 11 years, making them the most successful school in the history of the Manning Cup with 29 titles.

The “Dark Blues” from Old Hope Road are drawn in Group F along with Hydel High, Campion College, Kingston Technical, Kingston High and Vauxhall High, and are expected to easily advance to the second round.

JC, for the umpteenth time, will start the season as favourites, having retained six players that started in last year's Manning Cup final. They are Norman Campbell, Shaneil Thomas, Nathan Hunter, Tahja Reynolds, Saqlain Waul and Khari Williams. Plus, there are about four other squad players from last season, making this unit and experience a dangerous one.

Andrew Peart is the new man entrusted with the responsibility of leading JC to another dominating season ,after they won the 'Triple Crown' — Manning Cup, Walker Cup and Olivier Shield — last year.

Peart, who has replaced the hugely successful Miguel Coley, said he is satisfied with preparations and looking forward to another productive campaign.

“The players are very enthused and are expectant for what's coming up. I am satisfied with the preparation; now it's just to prepare for that first game on Saturday,” said Peart.

“Our objective is to win the Manning Cup title again and that's what we will play each game to get,” he added.

JC will open their campaign against a strong Hydel High aggregation on Saturday and Peart knows that JC will have no easy games-contrary to what people might think.

“Our first game against Hydel will be a tough game, because you know Lebert Halliman is a great competitor and is a coach who wants to win, and is a coach who will prepare his team tactically very well to play against any opponent — so we have to be mindful of that as well,” he pointed out.

“The other members of the group — Campion is starting a new project and they would want to impress, Vauxhall and JC have always played very competitive encounters because we were in the same group in 2016 and we were in the quarter-finals in 2015, so it's always a challenge there against Vauxhall.

“I don't know much about Kingston High and Kingston Technical but I know that every team who plays JC will want to win, so we have to bring our best game,” Peart noted.

He continued: “It's not an easy group. Hydel with a very experience coach and Vauxhall, they have been developing a good programme over the years and also Campion who stated a new project.”' — project.”

“Kingston Technical and Kingston High are pretty much unknown in terms of what they are doing now. I have seen some players from those schools playing in the Under-17 for KSAFA and I saw some playing in the Under-20 last year, so they have some degree of experience so there is no easy games. There is no easy group and you just have to be at your best everyday,” said Peart.

The emerging Hydel are favoured to grab the second qualifying spot with minimum fuss.

But Vauxhall, Kingston Technical, Kingston High and Campion College will battle to usurp Hydel for second place.

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