KC create Champions Cup history - Head coach Bernard hints at exit after defeating Clarendon College 1-0 in final
There were wild celebrations inside the National Stadium last evening as Kingston College (KC) defeated Clarendon College 1-0 to capture the ISSA Champions Cup Knockout title, in what might have been head coach Ludlow Bernard’s last match in charge of the ‘Purples’.
Striker Ronaldo Robinson, playing in his last match for his school, netted the all-important goal for KC in the 62nd minute of the match, with an amazing strike from outside the box.
The victory also saw KC becoming the first school to win the Champions Cup title twice since its inception five years ago, after their initial success in 2017.
“Any game against Lenny Hyde is always going to be a challenge because he is a very good coach and they (Clarendon) are a very good team. We planned a masterpiece tonight, everything was deliberate ... we just wanted to pick them off and counter. Counter-attacking is our strength this year. This is a gift for the school, I don’t know if I should say a parting gift,” said Bernard, who despite leaving the door open for a change of heart, said he intends to take a break.
“I will take a sabbatical. Iwill sit and discuss with family and everything, but it’s been a joy working with these players,” Bernard added.
KC dominated the first half, moving the ball swiftly around their opponents, who uncharacteristically sat deep in their own half for the majority of the period.
Robinson should have given KC the lead in the 10th minute, but with custodian Prince Daniel Smith at his mercy, he mistimed his shot from eight yards out.
Tajay Williams also came close to opening the scoring for KC two minutes later, but his effort from 15 yards sailed wide of the target.
KC were then forced to make a substitution midway the first half, after Williams went off injured and was replaced by Ajay Stewart.
However, this did not hinder the North Street-based institution’s dominance over the daCosta Cup finalist and with 10 minutes to go before half-time the livewire Robinson, who operates down the right wing, thought he had put his team in front, but his left-footed shot crashed off the inside of the post, as another chance went begging.
Clarendon’s best scoring opportunity in the first stanza fell to striker Rodrick Granville, but his weak effort from close range went straight into the hands of KC’s goalkeeper David Martin.
KC were awarded a penalty six minutes into the second half after Dwayne Atkinson was brought down inside the 18-yard box.
However, Michael Allen’s shot from the spot was saved by Smith, who dived at full stretch to his left to turn the ball behind for a corner, making up for his original error, which led to the penalty kick.
Despite that miss, KC continued to press for the opening goal and were finally rewarded when Robinson curled home a beautiful 25-yard shot past the outstretched hands of Smith and into the back of the net.
Atkinson came close to doubling his team’s lead eight minutes later but after receiving a splitting through pass from Robinson, he fired his close range effort wide of the target.
Hyde believes his team did not react well to KC’s tactics.
“They came out and high-pressed us, we didn’t handle it well. In the second half when we started to play, we gave up a goal. Some of our top players didn’t perform today, but it was just a bad day for the team today,” said Hyde.
Meanwhile, Clarendon are set to defend their daCosta title against Dinthill Technical on Saturday at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay.