Richard Bryan, Gleaner Writer
Manchester High's cricketers who secured the Headley Cup for the first time, were duly recognised by Inter Secondary School Sports Association and sponsors GraceKennedy, as they stole the lion's share of awards at the ceremony held at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville on Wednesday.
Manchester had a dominant historic season in which they won four major trophies. In addition to a first time hold on the Headley Cup, they took the Spalding Cup defeating Wolmer's Boys, took the rural Under-14 and also the all-island Under-14 titles.
They also secured the Allied Insurance Brokers trophy for being judged the most disciplined team. In the individual awards, their captain, Oshane Walters, a current sixth former and a past national Under-19 player who has represented the school for the past five years, secured the Douglas Orane Shield for academic excellence and outstanding performance. This award carries with it a scholarship component which provides $100,000 annually for three years at a recognised tertiary institution.
Manchester's coach, Barry Barnes, was awarded the Rafael Diaz Trophy for being coach of the year. Spinner Raghni Francis, who snared 50 wickets, shared the award for most wickets with Thavi Spence of Vere Technical. Two of Manchester's players, fast bowler Christopher Powell and leg-spinner Nicholas Walters, will represent Jamaica in the upcoming regional Under-19 competition.
WOLMER'S WIN BIG
Wolmer's, who won the Grace Shield and JIIC Knockout to claim the urban double, also featured prominently. Their captain, Delbert Gayle, copped the prestigious Carlton Alexander Award for sportsmanship, leadership and discipline. He was also the leading wicket-taker in the Grace Shield with 60 wickets, and scored most runs, 876. He also scored three centuries, including a top score of 173 not out.
Vere Technical, who dethroned St Elizabeth Technical for the rural Grace limited overs title, featured prominently in the individual awards. Thavi Spencer won three awards: top all-rounder; top wicket-taker and most runs, 731. He was also recognised as one of only two bowlers to take a hat-trick. His captain, Fabian Allen, was recognised for his 338, which is the highest ever individual score in rural schoolboy cricket, surpassing the 325 made Eltham High's Shacoya Thomas.
Well-known pollster and sports administrator, Don Anderson, was the guest speaker. He challenged the boys to focus on excellence and use current sprint sensation Usain Bolt as motivation.
"Excellence in cricket can change your life and transform your fortunes," urged Anderson, who revealed he had captained Titchfield's winning Headley Cup side of 1965.
"Set an excellence ladder and challenge yourself by asking, 'How can I make myself an excellent cricketer?'," Anderson told the young players.