Wednesday, December 13, 2017

St Catherine High School secured their first ever schoolboy football title of any kind when they defeated Eltham High 4-3 on penalties to lift the INSPORTS Challenge Cup at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, St Catherine on August 30, 2017.

The game boil down to penalties after St Catherine’s Marcovich Brown’s 76th minute goal canceled out Eltham’s Devonto Francis 61st minute strike in normal time, while the scores remain unchanged after 20 minutes of extra-time.

Raheem Henry, who starred in St Catherine’s semi-final victory last week, denied Francis in the shootout before Richard Brown, with Eltham’s fourth kick, fired wide of the target to spark wild celebration amongst the boys from St John’s Road.

In a game full of energy but lacking real quality, Francis’ goal which came against the run of play, added much intrigue through to the end. The tension was certainly high, particularly in the St Catherine High camp, which played out when Aliki Ellis wasted a glorious opportunity from the penalty spot to level. But minutes later Marcovich Brown restored parity from a free-kick 14 minutes from the end.

Winning coach Anthony Patrick said it was a morale boosting win and a statement going into the Manning Cup season.

St Catherine’s Paul Planter (left) and Jordan Mullings of Eltham battle for possession in the INSPORTS Challenge Cup final

"This is the first football final St Catherine has ever won, so it is very important and I am very happy we won,” he said. “This is a morale booster, now we have to wait on the Manning Cup season and see what happens. But it augurs well for us, as we started the season shakily but gradually game by game we started to play well and this is a testimony going into the Manning Cup season.”

St Catherine started better and created better opportunities but Brown squandered many of those chances to put St Catherine ahead. Eltham created good openings but most times had no one on the end of things.

The best chance of the half fell to St Catherine's Parrin Lewis but he failed to connect with Paul Planter's low cross.

Just after the break, Brown breached Eltham’s defence but kicked straight to Henry in goal.

Minutes later Eltham won a corner and Francis curled the resulting kick directly into the goal to give Eltham the lead.

But St Catherine got a great chance to equalise when Planter was brought down inside the box, but Ellis placed his effort wide of the target.

Malieke Miller (centre left), captain of St Catherine High School, accepts the symbolic champions’ cheque from Sport Minister Hon. Olivia Grange. Sharing in the presentation are Institute of Sport Administrative Director (ad interim) Renardo Smith (right) and Peter Reid (left), president of the St Catherine Football Association.

However, Brown made amends for all his profligacy earlier, when St Catherine received a free-kick outside the area and the midfielder curled a delicate shot past Ricardo Wright in the Eltham goal.

In extra-time, St Catherine also came closest with Jevaughn Cole missing a sitter. Rudy Brian also found the net but was ruled offside, while Joel Simpson hit the post with a header late on.

In the shootout, St Catherine netted all four kicks taken while Eltham failed to make it count with their fourth and fifth kicks.

Eltham's assistant coach Grenville Holmes said the defeat was “heartbreaking” but they were pleased with the preparation it afforded them for the upcoming schoolboy football season.

"It’s heartbreaking really. The fact that this idea is Eltham High School’s idea and to see we didn't win it hurts, but that's football. But it was a great tournament and hats off to INSPORTS," he said.

Jamaica Football Federation Director of Football Wendell Downswell (left) presents the tournament’s leading goal scorer award to Dinthill’s Antonio Roberts

St Catherine receive the Challenge Cup trophy and $100.000.00. Eltham took home $50.000. The eight participating teams also received $30.000.00 each.

Meanwhile Dinthill finished the eight-team pilot pre-season tournament third after blanking fellow daCosta outfit and neighbours Bog Walk 2-0. Antonio Roberts, who copped the golden boot award with six goals, scored both goals in the 23rd and 30th minutes.

Organised by state agency, the Institute of Sports, The INSPORTS Challenge Cup is a pilot preseason schoolboy football tournament held in parish of St Catherine involving eight teams.

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Over 4,700 athletes assembled at the National Stadium for the May 10-13 Primary School Athletics Championships organized by the state-run Institute of Sports.

But at the end of the championships yesterday, won by Naggo Head Primary, the name Christopher Scott stood head and shoulder above everyone else.

The 12-year-old Old Harbour Primary student was the talk of the championships once he graced the track on the second day in the 200m preliminaries, before joining an elite group of athletes who achieved the sprint double.

This very talented sprinter showed no fears in dispatching his rivals including Naggo Head’s Yourie Lawrence who took the Class Two sprint titles last year.

But in Class One Lawrence was no match for Scott, who was participating in his first major championships of this kind.

Christopher Scott (right) winning the Class One boys’ 200m final ahead of Naggo Head’s Yourie Lawrence

His time of 24.81 seconds in the semi-finals of the 200m had tongues wagging and even talks of threatening Christopher Taylor’s 2012 record of 24.02. And even though he was close to the Taylor’s record in the final, his time of 24.42 seconds was still impressive, as Lawrence was left trailing in his wake.

In the 100m Scott was equally impressive with times of 12.11 and 12.10 done in the preliminary round and the semi-finals respectively and were not too far from Roje Fearon’s 2010 record of 11.90 seconds.

But he could not challenge Fearon’s mark as a strong head-wind made it impossible in the final.

Scott deservedly was named overall champion boy. His two gold medal runs placing Old Harbour Primary 25th out of 94 participating schools.

In a brief chat with Old Harbour News, a proud Ladonna Francis, mother of Scott, says her little speedster simply loves to run.

“From he was three years old he was running,” she said before adding “he has been running in some of the parish meets but this is his first time running here”.

School principal George Goode said he was happy that he made the decision to enter the school with only a small batch of promising athletes.

He wanted to give the most talented youngsters the opportunity to excel, but thanks to Scott, who gave them their only points (19) at the championships, doors are being open that could improve the school’s sporting programme.

The scouts were out in their usual numbers. Surely, Scott will go to one of the top schools with the view of improving his athletic development while exceling academically. Calabar and Kingston College, Old Harbour News understands, are leading the race to land him. He should be fine choosing either.

In 2009, a young man by the name Kemar Bailey-Cole from Old Harbour shot to national prominence.

Eight years later the south coastal town of Old Harbour could lay claim in the near future to giving the country another sprint phenom.

The community awaits with bated breath.

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Former six-time champions Rousseau Primary lead the overall standing at the end of day two of the 36th INSPORTS Primary Schools Athletic Championships at the National Stadium on May 12.

They sit atop the table on 18 points, with Friendship (16), Harbour View (12) and defending champions Naggo Head (11) as the top teams after three finals.

Brittany Smith gave Rousseau their first points when she finished second in the girl’s high jump open with a mark of 1.35 metres. The event was won by Tashianne Creary of Portsmouth who cleared the bar at 1.38m, while Naggo Head’s Tori-Ann Davis secured the bronze with 1.30m.

New record holder in the boy’s long jump open Alicke Cranston of Black River failed to better Wednesday’s historic feat but did enough to secure the gold medal with a distance of 5.01 metres. Harbour View’s Povell Lawrence grabbed the silver in 4.99m, while bronze went to Javone Anderson of Holy Family who recorded 4.89m.

Friendship Primary captured gold and silver in the girl’s cricket ball throw open with Brenda Sterling topping the field with 48.46m, while teammate Julesea Simms threw 43.56m. Demetra Campbell of Rousseau got the bronze with 43.30m, which took her team to the top of pile.

The second record was broken at these championships courtesy of Kensington Primary. The Portmore-based institution established a new mark in the preliminary round of the Class Two girls’ 4x100m relay, winning in 53.44 seconds to erase the old mark of 53.52 seconds set by St Benedict’s in 2009.

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Black River Primary’s Alicke Cranston’s long jump record was the highlight at the end of day one of the 36th INSPORTS Primary Schools Athletic Championships at the National Stadium today.

Clarke, who fouled his first two attempts, established the new mark of 5.42m with his third try, erasing the old mark of 5.27m set by Wayne Pinnock of Clan Carthy Primary in 2013.

Cranston’s coach Davian Elliott says he's expecting the fine talent to lower the record during the final scheduled for 2:00 pm on day two. The performance Cranston is a confidence booster already for the St Elizabeth institution making their third appearance at these championships after finishing fifth and fourth respectively in 2014 and 2015.

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Old Harbour were ousted at the quarter-final stage of the INSPORTS St Catherine Community Netball, losing 26-18 to Knollis.

In the feature of four games played at the Marlie Acres Sports Complex, Old Harbour shot out of the block scoring the first three goals of the contest. Knollis clawed their back however, but Old Harbour ended the first quarter 6-5 ahead.

The visitors from Linstead shifted gears in the second quarter and outscored their opponent 8-3 to open up a four-point gap at half-time.

From then onwards, the visitors were in full control of the game, widening the gap between themselves and Old Harbour with the deficit increase to seven points at the end of the third quarter.

Old Harbour looked dead and buried coming out for the final quarter and despite a slightly improved showing, Knollis ran out deserved winners, joining Friendship, Church Road and Spartans in January 17 semi-finals.

In the earlier matches, Friendship defeated Fraziers Content 24-21; Church Road scored a hard fought 22-20 win over 3West, while Spartans outclassed Tryall 31-18.

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