Big battle for Grace Shield second round spots
As the first round of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Grace Shield cricket tournament draws to a close, the battle for the places in the next round from groups B and C will be decided today and tomorrow.
In Group C, there is an exciting three-horse race between St Catherine, Calabar High and Jamaica College (JC). St Catherine and Calabar share the lead with 20 points each, while JC sit two points adrift. All three teams play their final group game today, with JC down to face St Catherine in the feature game and Calabar set to take on Innswood High.
The 'Dark Blues' will need maximum points to advance, while St Catherine and Calabar only need to avoid defeat.
"If the youngsters play a disciplined game and play together, we will be formidable," said JC's coach, Dennis Miller. "But while I am optimistic, let's see what happens. We haven't really looked at them, but traditionally, teams from St Catherine have the potential to be dangerous."
Miller will look to captain Courtney Dowdie, the Manning Cup goalkeeper, the experienced Jason Tapper, Josh Gray and Desean Thompson to lead them to victory.
Sights set on victory
His counterpart, Wayne Morgan, said they are aiming to win.
"We are not going to look a draw, we are going for a win. We want to top the group, and victory would put us on top of the group. My team is playing well. I am confident in them doing well," Thompson said.
In Group B, things are also interestingly poised with one game to go. Papine High and Wolmer's Boys' are out front with 14 points apiece, with St Jago on 12 and Norman Manley, 10. However, the front-runners, Papine and Wolmer's, have no more games to play, while St Jago face off against Norman Manley in the group's final game tomorrow. Two will qualify from the group.
Meanwhile, Group A teams Campion College and Excelsior High sealed their place in the second round after victories over Tarrant High and St Andrew Technical High School, respectively, in their last game.
Campion topped the group with 22 points, while Excelsior tallied 20. With one game to go, third-place St George's College are out of contention with 14 points.
Spanish Town and Ardenne took the two spots from Group D, which was completed last Thursday. Spanish Town beat Ardenne to draw level on 24 points with Ardenne, in their final preliminary match. The defeat was Ardenne's first of the competition.
Significantly, the result eliminated defending champions Eltham High.