Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
A place in the inter-zone round of the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup football competition is already assured for defending champions Rusea's, but what is not certain is how many points will they amass in doing so.
Already on 14 points, they are within touching distance of winning Zone B. They lead Frome Technical (13) by a single point and will take on Green Island today, knowing full well that winning the match will guarantee them a place in the Ben Francis knockout competition.
The Rusea's defence has been holding its own all season, while up front the deadly Anthony Walker could once again make the difference with his pace and skill in opening up the arteries for the likes of Kyle Anderson and Dehmar Doeman to benefit.
Both Doeman and Anderson, as did Keano Williams, netted in the 'Russians' 3-0 victory against Herbert Morrison last time out and looked to be getting things right at the crucial time. They should be clinical again against Green Island, who they easily waltzed past 4-0 in the first round.
In the other Zone B game, the listless Herbert Morrison tackle Cambridge in a match that will not figure in the likely outcome of the group.
Frome play Green Island on Saturday and Rusea's face Cambridge High to close out the zonal fixtures. But all things being equal it looks like a Rusea's-Frome tandem (in that order) for zonal honours.
Meanwhile, an intense battle is shaping up in Zone C. With William Knibb already assured the lone Ben Francis spot on 17 points, two other teams are vying for second - Muschett High, 12 points and Spot Valley on 10.
The scenario is not lost on Spot Valley's coach, Creston Bernard.
"We have to win our remaining two games to move on in this competition, and the good thing is we play better away than at home where we tend to struggle somewhat," Bernard said.
"We know that six more points take us to safety, so right now the players are ready and focused to give their all," said Bernard, pinning his hopes on a Muschett loss or a draw in either of their two remaining games.
"What's in our favour is that Muschett play (William) Knibb in their last match on Saturday and that should go the way of William Knibb, who beat them in the first round. That would be just fine with us," reasoned Bernard.
Spot Valley will tackle Hopewell, while Holland host Muschett in the other Zone C encounter.
For Hugh Solomon, the Muschett coach, the same applies.
"It's go hard or go home for us at this moment. Winning our last two games is the most important thing. The players know the position that we are in and are prepared to get maximum points from them, starting with Holland," said Solomon.
St James 3 Maldon 1
Grange Hill 2 Mannings 0
Little London 2 Godfrey Stewart 0
Glenmuir 4 Porus 0
Green Island vs Rusea's
Cambridge vs Herbert Morrison
Hopewell vs Spot Valley
Holland vs Muschett
Maggotty vs Balaclava
Munro vs Black River
STETHS vs Lacovia
Cross Keys vs Bellefield
Mile Gully vs BB Coke
Decarteret vs Spalding
Alston vs Knox
Christiana vs Holmwood
Claude McKay vs Thompson Town
Clarendon College vs Edwin Allen
Ocho Rios vs York Castle
Brown's Town vs Cedric Titus
Iona vs St Mary Tech
Brimmervale vs St Mary High
Oracabessa vs Islington
Dinthill vs Ewarton
Bog Walk vs Tacky
McGrath vs Charlemont
Port Antonio vs Fair Prospect
Happy Grove vs Titchfield
Tacius Golding vs Central
Vere vs Old Harbour
St Thomas Tech vs Morant Bay
Yallahs vs Paul Bogle
Robert Lightbourne vs Seaforth