Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Sixteen interzone places have already been decided and the remaining 14 will be known after this afternoon's crucial final round of matches, as teams set themselves up for a crack at the 2013 ISSA/LIME daCosta Cup title with one eye on the do-or-die Ben Francis Knockout crown.
Of the scheduled matches on this afternoon, few can hold the imagination than the big Zone A clash between St James High and Green Pond High, who are still celebrating their 3-1 win over 11-time winners Cornwall College on Wednesday to book a spot in the interzone round for the first time in their history.
Both schools have gathered 18 points from their quota of matches heading into tomorrow's game, separated only by one goal in favour of the Gregory Palmer-coached St James High, setting the stage for a thrilling 90 minutes of action to decide how they finish in the zone.
"It's our first time in the interzone and we are delighted with the effort that got us there, but this is where it gets really serious and the players are well aware of that," Green Pond's coach Gregory Daley told The Gleaner.
"It starts against St James for us, as we want to win the zone for the Ben Francis ticket and that means topping St James this afternoon," he added.
TABLES EXPECTED TO TURN
It would not be a surprise, in fact, if Green Pond manage to upstage their more fancied zone rivals, as they did so in impressive style when the sides met on September 25. Then, Green Pond triumphed 2-1.
"Of course, we feel we can defeat Green Pond," said St James High's coach Gregory Palmer. "We are definitely stronger than they are in the back and, once we can take our chances, I see us winning this and taking the zone honours," he said, adding that his players are all ready to avenge the loss they suffered to the Green Pond team.
Things are equally interesting in Zone B, where former champions Rusea's High (15) and Green Island High (14) jostle for pole position to qualify ahead of Frome Technical. Frome have already completed their schedule in Zone B.
Rusea's should get the better of Cambridge in Lucea, while the same holds true of Green Island, who tackle lowly Irwin High at home. A win for both schools will see them advancing on 18 and 17 points, respectively, earning the Anthony 'Follis' Williams-coached Rusea's a surprise Ben Francis spot after a slow start to their campaign.
Three teams are in a tussle for the second qualifying spot in Zone H, where runaway leaders Clarendon College are already locked in to contest the Ben Francis KO. That leaves Thompson Town, Edwin Allen and Lennon in a three-way battle for the final spot.
Thompson Town host Edwin Allen and Lennon will have the unenviable task of trying to hand Clarendon their first loss of the season. When they met last time around, Clarendon ran out 2-0 winners and will not want to relinquish their unbeaten tag just yet.Early InterZone qualifiers
St James High and Green Pond from Zone A; Rusea's and Green Island in Zone B; Muschett High in Zone C; Grange Hill and Godfrey Stewart in Zone D; STETHS and Munro from Zone E; Manchester High in Zone F; Christiana from Zone G; Clarendon College from Zone H; Marcus Garvey and Cedric Titus in Zone I; St Mary Technical in Zone J; Dinthill in Zone K; Port Antonio in Zone L.
Also already qualified to the interzone are Garvey Maceo and Glenmuir from Zone M, Kemps Hill in Zone N, and Paul Bogle over in Zone O
Maldon vs Anchovy
St James vs Green Pond
Rusea's vs Cambridge
Green Island vs Irwin
William Knibb vs Spot Valley
Holland vs Herbert Morrison
Godfrey Stewart vs Knockalva
Manning's vs Grange Hill
STETHS vs Newell
Maggotty vs Balaclava
Lacovia vs Munro
Mile Gully vs deCarteret
Bellefield vs BB Coke
Manchester vs Cross Keys
Bog Walk vs Charlemont
Dinthill vs Ewarton
Port Antonio vs Fair Prospect
Happy Grove vs Titchfield
Glenmuir vs Bustamante
Foga Road vs Kemps Hill
Old Harbour vs Vere Technical
Yallahs vs Morant Bay
Paul Bogle High vs Robert Lightbourne
St Thomas Technical vs Seaforth
Home team named first; all matches start at 3:30 p.m.