Orville Higgins | KC may well end the season without a trophy
Schoolboy football has now reached the business end. The Walker Cup and the Ben Francis winners have both been settled, and by tomorrow we will know who will win the Flow Super Cup. Both the Manning and DaCosta Cup finalists have been decided. Generally speaking, it's almost as you were, with the traditional powerhouses holding sway.
The next trophy to be decided will be the Flow Super Cup which will see STETHS taking on Kingston College at Sabina Park tomorrow. You could almost call it the battle of two really wounded teams. STETHS was embarrassed 5-2 in the DaCosta Cup semi-final at Catherine Hall on Tuesday in one of the big surprises of the season. Rusea's will most times be a formidable opponent but to dispose of the high riding STETHS in that cavalier fashion was unexpected. Omar Wedderburn's main job now may well be psychological. He will have to find a way to lift his team from the disappointment of not making it to the DaCosta Cup final.
"Rambo" Wedderburn is not the only coach on Saturday who may find it difficult to motivate his troops. Ludlow Bernard and his KC aggregation were seen as arguably the most dangerous schoolboy team in the island. There were talks of four trophies. There were high hopes that their three decade drought in the Manning Cup would have finally ended. It is not to be. Losing to Jamaica College in the Walker Cup final was a bitter pill to swallow for the KC supporters, but they could at least comfort themselves with the fact that they were stopped by the high riding JC whom they revenged in the Flow Super semi finals. Losing in the Manning Cup semi finals to St Andrew Technical on Wednesday was a hard loss. We take nothing from STATHS. They flew well below the radar and have shown that they can be a tough combative bunch that are difficult to break down. It would be a fairy tale if they get the better of more fancied rivals to lift the Manning Cup. Who knows? At this stage who is to say that they can't pick off JC who doesn't have the same swagger as previous years? JC though is led by a tough coach, who is seemingly able to drag the very best out of his players in a way that other coaches struggle to do.
There is now the real possibility that KC may well end the season without a trophy at all, something which would have been unthinkable at the start of the season. I stated at the early part of the season that Ludlow Bernard was under more pressure than any other schoolboy coach. The KC contingent will be baying for blood if he ends the season empty handed, and it is difficult to see him keeping his job if he loses to STETHS in the Flow Super Cup.
So come tomorrow for the Flow Super Cup finals, we will see two teams who will feel really disappointed with how their season has gone so far. The match could turn out one of two ways. We could see a lacklustre final as both camps try to come to grips with the fact that the season didn't go as planned, and where the coaching staff of both teams find it difficult to motivate their troops. If the coaches are not careful, their players will almost see the Flow Super as a consolation trophy. The very opposite could be the case however. We could see two highly motivated teams, desperate to salvage something, as they make a last ditch effort to get some silverware. I hope it's the latter. Prior to Wednesday's shock loss to STATHS in the Manning Cup semis, KC were seen as real favourites for the Flow Cup. Now it isn't so clear cut. They have wounds to lick. They will be under more pressure than STETHS and as we have seen at least a couple of times this season, they don't always respond well to pressure.
The DaCosta Cup final will see Clarendon College against Rusea's. This is a battle of two DaCosta Cup giants and could go either way. Clarendon College has been the classier of the two teams this season. Their 5-2 demolition job over Dinthill in the DaCosta Cup semis was special, but as we have seen, sometimes class and talent give way to heart and grit. I am calling it for Clarendon College but in front of what is expected to be a heavily populated western-based crowd in Catherine Hall, Rusea's may well have the edge. Whatever may happen in the next few days, this is as fascinating a season as we have had in a while. Schoolboy football in Jamaica is alive and well.
- Orville Higgins is a sportscaster and talk-show host at KLAS ESPN Sports FM. Email feedback to email@example.com.