Richard Bryan, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Coach Barry Barnes, who masterminded Manchester High's historic 2013 cricket season, believes there is a good chance that the school can develop a strong winning tradition in the sport.
Manchester High won the Grace-sponsored Headley Cup for the first time, the rural Under 14, and went on to claim the Spalding Cup by defeating urban champions Wolmer's Boys. Manchester also defeated Innswood to take the National Under-14 title.
They could have celebrated more but were beaten by St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) in the semi-finals of the rural knockout and the Under-16 competition.
Barnes, who has been at Manchester for six years, believes he has a strong platform to achieve consistency.
"We have a nice programme going and while we may not win every year, we will be very competitive," predicted Barnes who copped the Rafael Diaz Trophy as Coach of the Year at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association awards last Wednesday.
The cricket programme, he revealed, has the support of the school principal Jasford Gabriel, who is an avid fan, having played the game himself competitively at Headley Cup while at Edwin Allen High, as well as representing the parish of Manchester in the annual Jamaica Teachers' Association competition. There is a huge additional incentive for dominance, as Manchester High's players have showed up in most of the national youth squads. They have two players in the Under 19 in fast-bowling allrounder Christopher Powell and leg-spinner Nicholas Walters.
The school also has three players in the national Under-15 squad which will contest the regional championship being hosted by Jamaica starting on Thursday at the Treasure Beach Sports Complex. They are Michael Harriott, who scored the only century in the rural Under 14 this year; Kashawn Beal, and Barry Barnes Jr. Barnes Jr is the captain of the Jamaica Under-15 team.