Robert Bailey ,Gleaner Writer
Defending champions St George's College will oppose Camperdown in their rescheduled Group D top-of-the-table clash in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup match today at Bellevue Field starting at 3:30 p.m.
The Georgians are locked in a three-way battle for top honours in the group. The Neville 'Bertis' Bell-coached St George's lead the standings by virtue of a superior goal difference, having scored 24 goals to Camperdown's 17, with both teams conceding six to amass 14 points.
Charlie Smith (11), who are in third place, will play away to fifth-placed Oberlin (five), while fourth-placed Vauxhall (five) will host bottom-placed Donald Quarrie (zero). With just four rounds of games remaining, the battle is on in earnest for top spot.
The Georgians will welcome back their inspirational playmaker Cardel Benbow, who has returned to the island after a failed trial stint at the academy of a Philadelphia-based Major League Soccer team last week. The creative midfielder, who missed four of the two-time defending Manning Cup champions' games, is set to walk back into the starting line-up for today's game against Camperdown. The speedy and skilful player had netted three goals in two games before leaving, including two against Camperdown in the team's opening day 2-2 draw.
"Mentally, I know that he will definitely bring back some maturity to the squad and we are also looking forward to his leadership out there," said assistant coach of St George's College, Marcel Gayle. "He will definitely carry the firepower for us, along with other members in the squad," he said.
Meanwhile, Christopher Bender, coach of Camperdown, said: "I think the St George's team has improved since we played them and we ourselves have improved as well." He added: "Both would want to win, because the zone is so close and if either of us slip up, it would give Charlie Smith a look- in as well, so we have to rise to the occasion."
Meanwhile, an interesting battle is expected when Group C leaders and former winners Wolmer's Boys take on Paine High at the Stadium East field.
The Ludlow Bernard-coached Wolmer's, who last won the Manning Cup title in 1994, lead the group with 16 points ahead of Denham Town (13), who play away to Kingston Technical (four) at the Deanery Road playfield. St Catherine (12) will host bottom-place Clan Carthy (one). Papine are fourth in the standings with five points.
St Catherine vs Clan Carthy
Kingston Technical vs Denham Town
Papine vs Wolmer's
Camperdown vs St George's
Vauxhall vs Donald Quarrie
Oberlin vs Charlie Smith
Eltham vs Kingston College
Penwood vs Spanish Town
Home teams are named first and all matches are slated to start at 3:30 p.m.