Monday 18 March, 2019

INSPORTS primary school football and netball round-of-16 draw revealed

Sports Minister Olivia Grange (2nd right)  juggles a football before presenting McAuley Primary’s coach Shane Richards (right) and player Nicardo Graham (2nd left) with team gear and match ball during the INSPORTS Primary School Football and Netball Round-of-16 Draw at the National Stadium Hospitality Room on January 11, 2019. Also looking on is former national player Ian ‘Pepe’ Goodison, who is the football ambassador of the competition.

Sports Minister Olivia Grange (2nd right) juggles a football before presenting McAuley Primary’s coach Shane Richards (right) and player Nicardo Graham (2nd left) with team gear and match ball during the INSPORTS Primary School Football and Netball Round-of-16 Draw at the National Stadium Hospitality Room on January 11, 2019. Also looking on is former national player Ian ‘Pepe’ Goodison, who is the football ambassador of the competition.

The INSPORTS All-Island Primary School Football and Netball Round-of-16 Draw was revealed Friday at a ceremony held at the National Arena’s hospitality room.

Defending national football champions McAuley faces another major hurdle after being paired with Clarendon’s Watsonton, who won their first major parish title last month.

McAuley’s coach Shane Richards, who guided them to the title last season, says they’ve been training throughout the Christmas but refused to be drawn into making any predictions over two-legged tie.

“The ball is round, so we’ll take it one step and a time, game by game,” he said.

First leg matches in the first round are set for January 16 and 18, with the return legs scheduled for January 21 and 23.

August Town are at home to wild card entrant York Town of Clarendon and will be favourites to win the tie after going all the way to the semi-finals last season.

Hanover’s Bethel Primary are the only to sweep both netball and football titles at the parish level and will play their first leg away to Lowe River of Trelawny.

Principal Jasmin Beckford-Johnson says the Bethel players are high on confidence.

“Like I said earlier Bethel Primary and Junior High School has a rich legacy of talent and championships, and I have no doubt that the team who we will be playing shortly which is Lowe River, I hope that they are ready because Bethel is ready to sweep the championships and anybody who comes after we are ready, we are up for it,” Beckford-Johnson beamed in an interview with INSPORTS Media.

“Our students already understand that they are champions win or lose and they are very confident and they’re going all out.”

Howard Cooke stunned many-time St James champions Corinaldi to become the standard bearer for the parish and coach Rance Morris believes he has a special bunch of players who could take them all the way.

“I think this team can give me the championship to be honest with you,” Morris, who is also the physical education teacher, said. “They are very settled and they seem to be progressing more and more each day and we just hope we can continue with that. We have been preparing and I just think that will be the key to give us the championship.”

In netball, Portland Cottage of Clarendon, beaten finalist last season, faces a strong Bethabra aggregation representing the parish of Manchester.

Bethel and Corinaldi are also teams to watch as well as Gregory Park and Ensom City, the respective Portmore and St Catherine champions.

Sport Minister Olivia Grange lauded the teams for getting this far in the competition but also commended INSPORTS for work it has been doing.

“Three hundred and 10 schools from across the country have been participating in the competitions which we launched in November. I congratulate each team and each player who competed in these competitions,” Grange told the audience.

“We are now down to the best teams in each competition.  All of us might not be able to take back the winning trophies to our respective schools – but all of us will be winners if we give of our best each time we compete and observe the honoured rules of Fair Play.”   

This season's champions are guaranteed $200,000; the runner-up $125,000; third-placed $100,000 and fourth-placed $75,000.

The final is set for February 16, 2019 at a venue to be announced.

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