Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The last round of matches in the round-robin phase of the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup will throw up a number of interesting scenarios for schools seeking to seal their places in the Ben Francis KO and the inter-zone round of the competition.
The defending daCosta Cup champions Rusea's High, Zone B rivals Frome Technical, Zone A standouts Cornwall College, and St James High, Holmwood Technical and Christiana High in Zone G are all in the mix for the Ben Francis KO.
Former champions Clarendon College, Lennon and Edwin Allen from Zone H are among a host of schools hunting the final spots for inter-zone contention.
In Zone D, Petersfield High (13 points) are also facing 'D-day Saturday' with a chance to steal second place pending a win over Godfrey Stewart at home. Leaders Grange Hill High, on 15 points, will secure zone honours with a win or a draw against Little London High.
Though unbeaten to date, Rusea's (15 points) need a win in their final game of the round against Cambridge High to ensure participation in the Ben Francis KO and winners of their zone, with Westmoreland-based Frome Technical hanging tough in second place on 13 points.
A win for Frome coupled with a loss for Rusea's will see the Westmoreland-based school qualifying for Ben Francis ahead of their rivals. Neither school can be caught as third-place Herbert Morrison High and Green Island High are too far back to challenge.
Rusea's had to come from behind to draw their last match against Green Island Wednesday but should post another victory at the expense of Cambridge. The two played out an unimpressive 0-0 draw in their round encounter on a muddy field at Cambridge, but playing the defending champions at home is a different proposition.
Competitive Zone A
Meanwhile, it's even tighter in Zone A as Cornwall College host a stubborn Maldon side and St James High tackle Green Pond.
Both teams are locked on an identical 10 points, separated by goal difference with the Hopeton Gilchrist-coached Cornwall sporting a one-goal advantage. It may come down to that single goal advantage, if both post wins today, to know who takes part in the Ben Francis KO.
Bellefield High (12 points) can still win Zone F but only if they defeat leaders Manchester High, who have 14. Cross Keys High will play Mile Gully High in the other fixture in that zone.
The permutations are that if the Anthony Patrick-guided Clarendon College win against Thompson Town High, they would top the zone with 17 points and that would leave the battle for the second automatic qualifying spot between current leaders Lennon and Edwin Allen, where a win for the latter would send Lennon crashing out of the competition.
Whatever happens, this final round of zonal exchanges is bound to be thrilling with a number of schools having to depend on others to see if they march on.