Waterford beat JC to claim group honours
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Waterford High School recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over defending champions Jamaica College (JC) to secure zonal honours in yesterday's round of matches in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Pepsi/Digicel Manning Cup game at Waterford.
Theodore Thomas scored the lone goal for the Portmore-based Waterford in the 18th minute.
Waterford thus finished atop Group A with 28 points, three ahead of JC (25). Both advanced to the Walker Cup KO competition, with JC progressing as one of the best second-place teams.
Michael Williams, coach of Waterford, said he was very satisfied with his team's performance because they played a solid all-round game.
"It was a very good performance, knowing that we are just coming off a stretch where we played three straight games in five days," said Williams. "This shows that my players have character and they also have a lot of strength and this is very good for us."
Williams added: "I am feeling very great to know that we have qualified for the Walker Cup competition because I think that this is the second time that we have gained qualification for this competition.
"I think that with the ability and the drive that we have now, we can definitely go far in this competition."
The skilful Thomas, who missed a couple of clear chances in the opening minutes of match, gave his team the lead when he ran on to a defence-splitting through pass from Andre McFarlane, then fired home a powerful shot past goalkeeper Gray Whynter and into the back of the net.
The speedy and tricky McFarlane, who mesmerised the JC defenders, thought he had doubled his team's lead 10 minutes later, but his close-range header was denied by the crossbar.
Ashani Walker, the JC captain, got his team's best chance to score on the stroke of half-time, but with goalkeeper Mickham Harrison at his mercy, his shot went wide of the target.
Both teams failed to create any meaningful chances in the second half, as they cancelled out each other on every possession.
"I think that it was lack of energy that caused us to lose this game today," said Delroy Brown, assistant coach of JC.
He added: "Waterford always tend to give us a hard time in the preliminary round and then they just fade out in the second round and so I am not too worried about this defeat."
'I think that with the ability and the drive that we have now, we can definitely go far in this competition.'