Adrian Frater, News Editor
Cornwall College's Mikhail Weatherley (left) plays the ball with his left boot as he comes under pressure from St James High's Sandrae Moore, in Wednesday's ISSA/Digicel/Pepsi daCosta Cup match between the schools at Jarrett Park. St James High won 1-0, thanks to Jon Barrett's 63rd-minute strike. - Adrian Frater
The battle for supremacy in the ISSA/Pepsi/Digicel daCosta Cup school football league will step up another notch this afternoon, when the return games in the preliminary phase continue in earnest with 33 games across rural Jamaica, all starting at 3:30 p.m.
One big showdown that should generate serious interest is the Hanover Zone B derby between leaders Rusea's (15) and third place Green Island (10).
In the first round, Rusea's scored a narrow 1-0 win at home and according to Anthony 'Follies' Williams, coach of the 'Russians', they will be hunting a more comprehensive win this time around.
"We are now fully into our stride and playing quite well, so I am expecting to see an improvement in each game," said Williams, who guided the team to the coveted title in 2002.
He added: "Our aim is to take every possible point from every game we play."
The other high profile Zone B game, at the Frome Sports Ground between second place Frome Technical (13) and brash newcomer Hopewell High (8), should also produce some amount of fireworks as technical director Boysie Nicholson and his Frome team will be hell-bent on avenging their first round 2-1 defeat.
While the big clashes are scattered far and wide, another game that should be closely watched is the Zone L (a) match-up between leaders Port Antonio (12) and second place Titchfield (8).
That is because a win for Port Antonio will see them joining Zone L (b) qualifier St Thomas Technical and Paul Bogle High in the four-team play-off to decide the two inter-zone qualifiers from Zone L.
In the competitive Zone I where champions Garvey Maceo, in third place on nine points, have been playing second fiddle to leaders Glenmuir (13) and second place Old Harbour (11), all three schools are expected to repeat their first round victories against Central High, Kemps Hill and Tacius Golding, respectively.
In Zone A, leaders St James High (17) and second place Maldon (12) will be seeking to pull further away from third place Cornwall College (11), who will be inactive today. St James will be gunning to improve on their first round 2-1 win away to Herbert Morrison (5).
"Although we have a comfortable lead atop the zone, we will not be letting up as our aim is to carry our current momentum right through the competition," said St James High's coach, Pastor Hugh Solomon. "A winning habit is a good habit to have."
Zone D should also generate a fair amount of interest with Brown's Town (13), joint leaders of the group alongside Marcus Garvey, playing away to second place Cedric Titus (10), who whipped them 2-0 in the first round.
While Brown Town should be eying revenge, Cedric Titus will no doubt want to join the leadership mix.
The Zone J top of the table clash between leaders Bog Walk (15) and second place Dinthill (9) should be an intriguing contest, as both teams seek to pull further away from the other contenders in the group. Bog Walk won the first game 4-2.
Herbert Morrison vs St James at Herbert Morrison
Spot Valley vs Irwin at Spot Valley
Green Pond vs Maldon at Green Pond
Frome vs Hopewell at Frome
Anchovy vs Knockalva at Irwin
Green Island vs Rusea's at Green Island
Grange Hill vs Mannings at Grange Hill
Petersfield vs Maud McLeod at Petersfield
Cedric Titus vs Brown's Town at Cedric Titus
A. Gallimore vs Marcus Garvey at Addison Park
BB Coke vs Lacocia at BB Coke
Black River vs Munro at Black River
Balaclava vs Maggotty at Balaclava
Holmwood vs Knox at Holmwood
Edwin Allen vs Christiana at Edwin Allen
Mile Gully vs Spalding at Mile Gully Community Centre
Claude McKay vs Denbigh at Claude McKay
Thompson Town vs Lennon at Thompson Town
Garvey Maceo vs Central at Effortville Community Centre
Old Harbour vs Kemps Hill at Old Harbour
Tacius Golding vs Glenmuir at Tacius Golding
Charlemont vs Ewarton at Charlemont
Dinthill vs Bog Walk at Dinthill
McGrath vs Glengoffe at Glengoffe
Brimmervale vs Islington at Brimmervale
Iona vs St Mary High at Rio Nuevo
St Mary Technical vs Annotto Bay at Richmond Prison Farm
Tacky vs Oracabessa at Tacky
Zone L (a)
Port Antonio vs Titchfield at Port Antonio
Buff Bay vs Happy Grove at Lynch Park
Zone L (b)
Paul Bogle vs Seaforth at Paul Bogle
Morant Bay vs St Thomas at York Oval
Yallahs vs Robert Lightbourne at Yallahs