By Howard Walker, Staff Reporter
Members of the successful Excelsior High football team celebrating with the Walker cup trophy after defeating Comperdown at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium 3-0 yesterday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
IT WAS a stroll in the park for Excelsior High School as they totally destroyed a flat Camperdown High 3-0 to capture the ISSA/Pepsi/Sports Plus Walker Cup at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium yesterday.
Goals by Andrew Morris in the 18th minute, an Anthony Christie penalty in the 47th and Ricardo Ximines in the 68th carried Excelsior to their second title of the season and their sixth hold on the Walker Cup, their first since 1990.
Excelsior are now third with Walker Cup titles, behind Kingston College's eight and St. George's College's seven crowns.
In one of the most one-sided finals, Excelsior dominated a Camperdown team lacking verve and the result was never in doubt once Morris opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
PICKED UP MOMENTUM
Winning coach, Leebert Halliman, dressed in khaki, said his team started slowly but picked up the momentum, got the goal and from there on it was smooth sailing.
"We never expected it so easy," said Halliman of the lopsided contest.
According to Halliman, he motivated his players by telling them during the break that they have never won the Walker Cup before and they have a glorious chance and should make good use of it.
Losing coach Barrington 'Cobra' Gaynor had all praises for double champions Excelsior, noting that they were clearly the better side.
"Congratulation to the Excelsior team, they did a wonderful job. The main problem today is that we played a better team. They seem fitter and stronger and are more technical and tactically better than us," Gaynor added.
The game started slowly as both teams took a while to settle before the yellow-clad Excelsior scored a beauty.
Morris, a left sided midfielder, collected a ball some 25 metres out and with the outside of his right foot, curled the ball out of the reach of the outstretched hands of Andrew Land to break the small resistance from their fellow East Kingston opponents.
The half ended 1-0 but it was totally dominated by Excelsior as the tall and powerful Hugh Howell, the stocky Jermaine Gardener and the elegant Anthony Christie pulled all the strings in midfield for Ximines and Narado Brown to keep the Camperdown defence busy.
As the second half resumed, before the fans had settled, Excelsior scored their second goal and knocked the wind out of their opponents.
Narado Brown latched onto a diagonal ball and was bundled over by a defender and the referee didn't hesitate to point to the spot. Christie stepped up and scored with aplomb.
A couple of half chances followed for Camperdown as John-Ross Edwards and Tristan Burgher tried in vain to penetrate the solid defence led by Robert Coley and Shelton Gordon.
However, it was going to be a day when scoring honours belonged solely to the Manning champions and the final nail was driven into Camperdown's coffin by the ever-dangerous Ximines. Excelsior's top marksman latched onto a ball at the edge of the box and rifled a thunderous left-footed shot which whistled past the goalkeeper before he could react. Ximines has now scored in three finals. He scored the only goal in last year's Manning Cup final against Bridgeport, netted once against Calabar in the 3-1 Manning final this year and now in the Walker Cup. Excelsior are now on course for the schoolboy triple as they await the winner of today's DaCosta Cup final between defending champion Frome and the red-hot Glenmuir for an Olivier Shield date on December 11.
"We would love to play Frome because they are the weaker one. But I think it will be Glenmuir," said Halliman, while admitting it will be a stiff game.