Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Walker Cup: St Catherine face Excelsior in repeat of 2019 final

Published:Friday | January 14, 2022 | 12:08 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
 Anthony Patrick
Anthony Patrick
Excelsior High’s head coach Xavier Gilbert.
Excelsior High’s head coach Xavier Gilbert.

A pulsating contest is expected when defending champions St Catherine High and Excelsior High clash in the feature match of the ISSA/Walker Cup semi-finals at the Stadium East field today.

Match time is 3:15 p.m.

In the opening game of the double-header, first-time semi-finalists Mona High and Kingston High will clash at 1 p.m.

The feature is a repeat of the 2019 final when St Catherine edged Excelsior 3-2 to lift the title.

“We are expecting nothing less than fireworks,” said St Catherine High coach Anthony Patrick. “Excelsior defeated us in the semi-finals in 2018 and we beat them in the final in 2019, and now we are back at it and so it is going to be a keenly contested match by both teams.”

The veteran coach pointed out that his players are very determined to retain their title and, therefore, they are very committed to pulling out all the stops to win this encounter today.

“This is a knockout game and it is a semi-final, and the last couple of days in our training sessions, the players have been expressing a lot of confidence and they are upbeat, and I think once we put away our chances then we will have a good chance of winning,” Patrick said.

The St Catherine team will be led by Jevin Parkinson, Nickyle Ellis, Rolando Redman and Joel Palmer.

The Xavier Gilbert-coached Excelsior are in search of their eighth Walker Cup title. Gilbert said his team has nothing to fear and, therefore, they will be coming all out to turn the tables on their opponents.

“We want to turn the tables on them and that is definitely our objective, and to take it one step closer to walking away with some sort of silverware,” said Gilbert.

“Both schools went to the final the last time and St Catherine were the winners, but it is going to be a tough encounter,” he said.

“Both teams want to make sure that they get something out of the season and that makes it even tougher, but we are just going to give it our best shot and see what happens,” he said.

The Mountain View Avenue-based Excelsior will be depending heavily on the likes of attackers Onando Calame and Jevaughnie Simms to lead their hunt for goals. Leonardo Shepherd and Jhevan Smith will be the top players in midfield while Lennon Green and Antwan Johnson will marshal the defence.