STETHS, St George's in Shield showdown
Published: Wednesday | December 9, 2009
( L - R )Gillings, Morgan, Brown, Tulloch
The quest for the coveted Olivier Shield - symbol of all-island schoolboy football supremacy - will commence this afternoon when rural champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) host their urban counterparts, St George's College, in the first leg of their title showdown in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, starting at 3 p.m.
St George's College, the current title holders after their success in last year's two-way final against St James High School, will be hunting their 10th hold on the 100-year-old shield.
Meanwhile, STETHS, three-time daCosta Cup champions, will be aiming to affix their name to the shield for the second time following their maiden success in 1999.
Neville 'Bertis' Bell-coached St George's earned their place in the Olivier Shield final after they closed off an impressive Manning Cup campaign with a 3-2 extra-time win over Bridgeport High a fortnight ago.
Looking ahead to their clash against a STETHS team, which transformed what started out as an ordinary daCosta Cup season into a memorable one, beating Manchester High in the final, St George's are guardedly optimistic as they head to Santa Cruz.
"Ever since the Manning Cup final we have been preparing for this challenge so we are focused and ready," said Fernando Douglas, head of the sports department at St George's.
"We are not worried about going down to STETHS for this game, we are just focused on doing well and retaining the title."
On a mission
For Andrew Edwards-coached STETHS, who showed grit, determination and solid commitment in their 1-0 win against Manchester High in last Saturday's daCosta Cup final at Jarrett Park, their sole mission is to be officially crowned as the top schoolboy football team in Jamaica this year.
While not seeking to slight St George's in any way, based on the expectations of coach Edwards and the buoyant mood of the entire school fraternity, there is much confidence about STETHS' capacity to confront and get the better of any schoolboy team.
"While we have not seen the St George's team this season, based on the way we have been playing, we believe if we go out and play our game, we are quite confident, that we can match any schoolboy team," said Edwards.
"For this first-leg game, we will be seeking to secure an advantage here at home and then try to consolidate in the return-game."
In terms of their season record, St George's College, which campaigned in Zone F of the Manning Cup, will be coming into the game with one that is capable of intimidating even a very good team. Prior to beating Bridgeport in the Manning Cup final, they scored 49 goals and conceded a mere seven.
For their part, STETHS, which finished second behind Munro College in Zone E of the daCosta Cup, have been getting better with each game and possess an overall record of 13 wins, three draws and two defeats.
In their quest to put themselves in a good position for next Saturday's second-leg game at the Harbour View Mini Stadium, St George's College will be banking on the likes of top marksman McKaully Tulloch and the wily midfielder Marvin Morgan, who have been delivering the goods for them all season.
For their part, STETHS will look to prolific Deshawn Brown, Denmark Gillings and Alex Graham, who have been critical in executing coach Edwards' plans.