Quartet to sizzle in Walker Cup KO
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Walker Cup knockout schoolboy football competition moves into higher gear today with the semi-finals showdown featuring Hydel High against Jamaica College at 1 p.m., to be followed by Charlie Smith versus St George's College at 3 p.m. Both games will take place at the Constant Spring Complex.
Looking at the double-header, spectators could be in for a treat as the teams are coached by top tacticians.
In the first game, highly fancied JC will look to maintain their perfect record in all competitions when they face Hydel.
Coach of Hydel, Donovan 'DV' Hayles, believes that his team will win the game and advance to the competition's final for the first time in the school's history.
"I fancy our chances. The youngsters have character and self-belief," Hayles, who is in his first season at Hydel, told The Gleaner yesterday.
"They (JC) have a very high potential, but there are areas we identified in their team that can be exploited, JC have a quality team with a very good coach. It is an obstacle we can overcome with hard work. These are the type of games I hope for as a coach," he added.
Hydel's top players include national Under-17 striker, Donovan Nelson, Stephen Barnett, Dale Reid, Brad Tully, Richard Palmer and Jaleel Chamberlain.
Ian Forbes, manager of JC, also expects a good contest.
"It is going to be a competitive game. I am expecting a tough contest. We have some players affected by chik-V, but will take it a game at a time," Forbes said.
JC will come on the attack with captain and top striker Junior Flemmings, Akeem Shackleford, Orlando Brown, Sheldon McKay, Allando Brown, Donovan Dawkins and goalkeeper Courtney Dowdie.
In the second game, which is highly expected to be a cracker, Charlie Smith, coming off a victory against defending champions Wolmer's Boys', will be oozing confidence going up against highly fancied St George's College.
Charlie Smith's long-serving coach, Jerome 'Jerry' Waite, is expecting a big showdown today.
"St George's are always one of the glamour teams when you are talking about Manning Cup, but we are in the Walker Cup semi-finals with them, and so I am expecting a very tough game," Waite told The Gleaner.
"We are ready and will be blazing on all cylinders against St George's. The victory over Wolmer's has inspired these youngsters, and they are upbeat about the game," he added.
Meanwhile, St George's College have been playing some top football, but could be hampered by the poor playing surface at Constant Spring, against a formidable opponent.
"It is going to be a keen encounter. We are going there to play good football despite the condition of the field," Marcel 'Fuzzy' Gayle, assistant coach of St George's College, responded.
St George's will be missing Alex Marshall, who is in national Under-17 camp, as well as Jamoly Thompson out with an injury. However, they can hurt Charlie with players such as Amoy Brown, Shevon Stewart and Gregory Messam Jr.