Five-way battle for semis spots
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Five teams are battling for two spots in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup semi-final stage, with crucial games at two venues today.
Hydel High will face Camperdown High in the first game of a double-header at Spanish Town Prison Oval in St Catherine, starting at 1 p.m., to be followed by Vauxhall High against Charlie Smith at 3 p.m.
In the other double-header at the Constant Spring Complex, St Jago High tackle Kingston College (KC) at 1 p.m., then Norman Manley battle Innswood two hours later.
Camperdown are in pole position on a maximum six points in Group K, ahead of Hydel (four). St Jago come next on one point, and KC are without a point.
The Camperdown team need only to avoid defeat against Hydel in order to advance, while Hydel must win to gain the spot to the last four.
St Jago and KC will be involved in a game of academic interest.
Coach of Camperdown Christopher Bender says it is an important game for both teams.
"It is a very important game. We are in pole position and will go there and continue to play our football and hope to get a positive result to advance to the next round," Bender said.
"We have some niggling injuries, but nothing too serious. We are ready for this game against Hydel," he added.
Camperdown will rely on national Under-17 players Fabian Grant and Tahjae Brown, in addition to captain Tevin Shaw, Rameish McKnight, Kevin Clarke, and Prince McGilvery.
Meanwhile, Hydel's Donovan 'DV' Hayles is fully aware that it is 'a win or go home' situation for his team.
"First of all, we have to be in one frame of mind; and that is to win. The players are aware of the circumstances as this could be the final game of the season, so they have to go out there to win," Hayles told The Gleaner.
"Camperdown is a well prepared team, so we will have to fight hard for 90 minutes," he added.
Hydel will look to Stephen Barnett, who has scored 19 goals in all competitions, national Under-17 striker Nicholas Nelson, Dale Reid, Jaleel Chamberlain, Rodari Edwards, and Kurt Thomas to lead them into the semi-final.
one frame of mind
Former champions Charlie Smith and Innswood High are locked on four points apiece in Group I. However, Charlie Smith are ahead on a better goal difference. The Jerome Waite-coached 'Charlie' have scored four goals and conceded one, while Innswood scored four times and conceded two. Vauxhall come next on three points and have a mathematical hope of advancing.
However, Innswood will be playing against Norman Manley, who are out of contention. The Christopher Russell-coached Innswood are favoured to beat 'Manley' and could progress into the last four if 'Charlie' and Vauxhall end in a draw.
On the other hand, 'Charlie' will enter the game for a big win in order to advance on goal difference if Innswood also win.
Vauxhall could qualify for the semi-final with a win against Charlie Smith amid hope that Innswood fail to beat Norman Manley.