Upbeat Wolmer's primed for Manning Cup success

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, September 06, 2018

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Following last year's early second-round exit, Wolmer's Boys' School will be looking for redemption while aiming to end a 24-year drought in the quest for the coveted ISSA Digicel Manning Cup.

Wolmer's Boys', who last won the competition in 1994 and were beaten finalists in 2016, crashed out unceremoniously last year to Bridgeport High in the two-legged play-off.

The 10-times champions, bubbling with confidence this season, are drawn in Group G alongside Edith Dalton James High, Holy Trinity High, JosÚ MartÝ Technical, Pembroke Hall High and Waterford High.

It's a group that should provide the Heroes' Circle-based boys with little fuss, but new coach Alex Thomas is not taking anything for granted.

“We don't take any teams for granted and we will prepare for them, and that's how we will be operating in the zone — plan and prepare for them, then take it to the next stage,” Thomas told the Jamaica Observer.

“Preparations have been going quite well. From the start of preseason the boys have been performing very well week in, week out and the practice games have been going well and I commend them for that,” said Thomas, who last played for his alma mater in 1998.

Thomas, who also captained Jamaica's Under-17 team to the 1999 World Cup, and was a part of the Under-20 team captained by his brother Shavar Thomas that reached the 2001 World Cup, has been asked to turn things around for Wolmer's Boys' this season.

“We are going to do our best and our best will be good enough. That's our motto and that's what we working by. We will be putting in great work and performances and will make all Wolmerians proud at the end,” said Thomas.

Wolmer's should have little difficulty navigating their way through the group in which Holy Trinity seems to be the biggest danger. They have retained five starting players in Nickache Murray, Cleon Haynes, Tajay Griffiths, Gregory Bryce and Benjamin Phillips, and about seven players overall from last year's squad. Thomas is expecting them to make their mark in the competition

“We won't put ourselves in the top position, but we will be there. We have played about 14 [preparation] games — [losing] 3-4 MoBay United and Cavalier and 1-2 to Portmore. But we have won all games against schoolboy teams, beating STETHS (St Elizabeth Technical High School) 1-0 last week in our last game,” he noted.

But Wolmer's cannot afford to slip up as Holy Trinity have been a top team over the past few years and, despite being in a rebuilding phase, they are expected to be fighting for top honours.

Holy Trinity are indeed the third-seeded team in the Digicel Manning Cup behind Jamaica College and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) and just ahead of Kingston College, the fourth seed.

If Holy Trinity are to falter, then Waterford High could be their biggest danger for that second spot as JosÚ MartÝ, Edith Dalton James and Pembroke Hall are not considered strong enough to challenge.

While Wolmer's and Holy Trinity should do enough to secure berths to the second round, how far they will go is left to be seen.

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