KC, JC, STATHS and St George's hunt spots in Manning Cup final today
The top four urban area schools of the 2018 ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup will be in action on Tuesday for the semi-finals of the prestigious competition at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Kingston College (KC), winners of the competition on 14 occasions, and last season’s beaten finalists St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) will contest the first semi-final at 4:00 pm; while five-time defending champions Jamaica College (JC) will face 22-time champions St George’s College in the second semi-final at 6:00 pm.
With another four matches remaining in the 2018 Manning Cup season, three of the four semi-finalists still boast unbeaten records in that competition. Those schools are KC, STATHS and St George’s College, while JC had their unbeaten streak shattered in their final game of the home-and-away preliminary round by Kingston Technical High School, which created a 2-1 away upset victory on October 8. Despite that defeat, JC have emerged as the big favourites to win their sixth straight title.
The KC, STATHS fixture is a repeat of last season’s semi-final, which the Spanish Town Road-based school won 2-1 to get into the championship match. This represents the first meeting between the teams since then and a big grudge match is expected.
KC booked their spot in the semi-finals in impressive fashion on October 30 when their Ugandan student Ari Rodgers scored a brace to lead them to a 2-0 victory over Camperdown High at Spanish Town Prison Oval in their final Group H quarter-final fixture.
KC entered the day needing a victory to qualify for the last four following a 0-0 draw against St George's College on October 24 at the Stadium East field and a 1-1 draw against Charlie Smith High at Calabar High School on October 27.
As a result of the victory, KC finished atop the four-team table courtesy of goal difference over their North Street neighbours St George's College.
STATHS got into the semifinals after a 1-1 draw with Wolmer’s Boys at St George’s College to finish second behind JC in the other quarterfinal group.
Of the two schools, KC will enter the semi-final clash with the better record this season.
The Ludlow Bernard-coached has reached the semi-finals of the Manning Cup with an impressive record of 13 victories and two draws from 15 games. During that undefeated run, they scored 64 goals while conceding only four.
On the other hand, STATHS had eight victories and seven draws from their 15 games. During that run they pumped in only 29 goals, 35 less than KC, and conceded six.
KC will be in action for the first time since November 2 when they were eliminated from the all-island ISSA Champions Cup in the first round by St Elizabeth Technical High School, a competition which features the eight teams that won their second-round Manning Cup two-way play-off games and the eight teams that finished as winners and runners-up in their respective daCosta Cup quarterfinals groups.
STATHS will also enter the semi-finals also with a recent defeat behind them as they were whipped 5-0 by St George’s College in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup on November 10.
The second Manning Cup semi-final features two teams that were in Champions Cup action only four days ago.
St George’s College lost on the day, beaten 2-0 by Cornwall College in the semi-finals, while JC easily defeated last season’s beaten finalists STETHS 4-0 to book their spot in the all-island knock out final.
On Tuesday, JC will be looking to qualify for a second final. Of the two schools, St George’s College have a better Manning Cup statistics this season. They won 11 of 15 games while drawing four compared to JC, which secured 12 victories from 15 games, two draws and a defeat. An interesting game looms between the two teams.
TUESDAY’S MANNING CUP SEMI-FINALS
KC vs STATHS at 4:00 pm
JC vs St George’s College at 6:00 pm