Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

The 2018 urban area Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Manning Cup final takes place on Friday, with Kingston College (KC) and St George’s College battling it out at the National Stadium in Kingston at 6:00 pm.

This will be the first meeting between the schools in a Manning Cup final and the battle is the first football final between them since 2011 when St George’s College prevailed 2-1 in the Walker Cup Knockout.

St George’s College are widely considered favourites to pick up their 23rd Manning Cup title by virtue of eliminating five-time defending champions Jamaica College (JC) at the semi-final stage, but KC will be motivated by the prospect of trying to win their first title in 32 years.

The coaches are expecting a good battle, but Bernard believes his team needs the title more.

Bernard said, “there is a lot at stake, 32 years of being in the wilderness and that's the objective of the Kingston College team to end that drought.

“St George's will have their own ambitions, but I think we need it more than them. The boys are very optimistic about their chances and very upbeat about their expected performance.”

Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell, who guided St George's College to five of their 22 Manning Cup titles with victories in 1992, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, said  “we are pretty confident. Preparations have been going well. We wanted to be in the final and we know it's going to be hard work for us. It's been hard work all season.”

Both schools are undefeated in the competition from 16 games, but KC have managed to gain a better record in all areas going into the final. This will be the third meeting between the two North Street-based schools this season as they played to a 1-1 draw in the preseason Roper Cup and then battled to a 0-0 result during the quarter-final stage of the Manning Cup on October 24 at the Stadium East field.

KC came into the 2018 season with arguably the strongest squad on paper, but there were doubts over whether Bernard would be able to get the best out of talent at his disposal.

But after easily getting through the preliminary stages and the second round, KC lost their perfect win record at the quarter-final stage where they dropped four points from two games (0-0 vs St George’s College and 1-1 vs Charlie Smith High) before beating Camperdown High 2-0 to qualify for the semi-finals for a second straight year.

In the home-and-away preliminary round of the competition, KC won their 10 games and during that stage, they rammed in 52 goals and only conceded one compared to St George’s College, which won eight of their 10 games, scored 39 goals and conceded four.

Both teams also secured easy passage to the quarter-final stage. KC defeated Cumberland High 3-1 and 6-1, while St George’s College beat Mona High 4-1 and 3-0.

In the quarter-final round, both schools were placed in the same group and ended with five points each from three games with KC winning the group courtesy of goal difference.

It was at the semi-final stage that St George’s College earned the tag of favourites as they defeated a very tough Jamaica College side 2-1 on November 20 and made the final a North Street affair.

KC had earlier defeated last season’s beaten finalists St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) 2-1 in a repeat of last year’s final-four match to make the final for the first time in 17 years.

Interestingly, St George’s College had hammered STATHS 5-0 in the first round of the rebranded all-island Champions Cup knockout competition, 10 days before KC’s 2-1 Manning Cup victory over the Spanish Town Road-based school.

But although St George's College will enter the final as favourites, the momentum is with KC, which have won two football titles over the last two seasons. In 2016, Bernard led KC to the Walker Cup and then in 2017, he guided them to the all-island Champions Cup and based on momentum, the Manning Cup title awaits KC and Bernard in 2018.

Before the Manning Cup final, both teams will also clash in another championship match - the Under-16 final at 3:30 pm.

Five West Indians have been retained to their various teams for the Indian Premier League’s 2019 season. 

Windies skipper against Bangladesh in Chattogram, Kraigg Brathwaite, has placed the blame for the team’s first-Test loss to Bangladesh squarely on poor batting.

The visitors from the Caribbean were bowled out for 139 in their second innings after chasing a target of just 204, despite a valliant ninth-wicket stand between Sunil Ambris, 43, and Jomel Warrican, 41.

The two scored 63 runs but were still well short of the total.

“The key is partnerships, whether the top or middle order. We didn’t get partnerships early, so it cost us,” said Brathwaite.

For things to change in the second Test, Brathwaite explained that getting started was key for the visitors.

“The batters have to start better. We have to get bigger totals. I think they got 40 runs too many in the first innings. If we could have limited their first innings score, it could have been better,” said Brathwaite.

The skipper was referring to the 324 Bangladesh posted after they recovered from 235-7.

Despite scoring too many in that first innings, the Windies should have been able to get close or score more heavily than the hosts but found only Shimron Hetmyer, 63, and Shane Dowrich, 63 as well, willing to spend any time at the crease.

After routing the Bangladeshis for 125 in the second innings, Brathwaite would have expected more from his unit.

“We didn’t play ourselves as well as we should or could. We didn’t put up any good partnership. We lost wickets too quickly. The ball was doing a lot more in the pitch,” he said.

Cornwall College (CC) are the champions of the rebranded ISSA Champions Cup, becoming the first rural team to lift the trophy courtesy of a wonder striker from Shavon McDonald which gave them a 1-0 victory over Jamaica College (JC). 

The Technical Study Group at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship do not believe the Caribbean, or any other region outside of the two teams that made the final of the competition had enough of an impact to warrant a place in a Best XI line up.

The Under-20 final saw the United States and Mexico contest a final with a Diego Lainez brace, giving the former a 2-0 win for their second title.

The performances prompted the TSG to pick eight players from the US and three from Mexico.

Of note throughout the tournament was Mexico’s Diego Lainez, who was a standout for the runners up throughout the tournament.

The Best XI is led by United States goalkeeper Brady Scott, winner of the Golden Glove Award, U.S. midfielder Alex Mendez, who was named the winner of the Scotiabank Golden Ball and Mexico forward Jose Macias, winner of the Golden Boot.

CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Best XI

Goalkeeper - Brady Scott, United States

Right Back - Sergino Dest, United States

Left Back - Chris Gloster, United States

Centre Back - Mark McKenzie, United States

Centre Back - Gilberto Sepulveda, Mexico

Centre Midfielder - Brandon Servania, United States

Centre Midfielder - Alex Méndez, United States

Centre Midfielder - Diego Lainez, Mexico

Winger/Right Midfielder - Ayo Akinola, United States

Winger/Left Midfielder - Ulysses Llanez, United States

Striker - José Macías, Mexico

The Windies and and a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI played out a draw in a two-day tour match that ended on Monday, but more importantly was the form of two of the visitor’s top-order batsmen. 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz found Suriname at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, a tougher assignment than anticipated after they squeezed out a 2-1 victory.

A header from Corey Burke in the seventh minute of play and a penalty from Darren Mattocks in the 16th minute threatened to start a rout. However, Donnegy Fer’s 37th minute tap in marked Suriname’s entrance into the game.

While Jamaica would get a number of chances, to go further ahead, in truth, Suriname were dangerously close to equalizing on a number of occasions and could not be argued with if they believed they dropped at least two points from the game.

Mattocks, while happy with the win, believes the Jamaicans, with himself the most at fault, need to be more clinical if they are to enjoy further success, especially with El Salvador waiting in their next fixture.

“I’m disappointed in myself,” said Mattocks.

“A player of my caliber should put away most of those chances but at the end of the day an ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” he said.

“We’re just going to take the three points and move on and come ready for the next game.”

Mattocks believes the game against El Salvador is going to be much tougher.

“El Salvador is a very hostile environment so we have to go there really prepared,” he said.

“We can’t have a performance like this against El Salvador,” he said.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and these opportunities that we are creating we have to put them away,” he ended.

Jamaica now have three wins from their three games with 12 goals for and one against.

Their record is bettered by Haiti, who have the same number of wins but with 17 goals and one against, while Cuba have scored 14 goals without a response from their opponents.

Jamaica will be at the Rugby League World Cup for the first time in their history after they beat the United States 16-10 earlier on Saturday.

The Reggae Warriors will make their inaugural bow in the World Cup thanks to Jy-Mel Coleman’s two first-half penalty goals as well as tries from Joel Farrell and Keenen Tomlinson.

The efforts gave the Reggae Warriors a 16-0 lead but the USA Hawks would come roaring back before the break.

Tries from halfback Conor Donehue and Ryan Burroughs meant the half would end 16-10.

The Reggae Warriors then showed their defensive prowess in the second half, to keep the period scoreless and become the 11th country to qualify for the 2021 showpiece.

“This team was built on defence. For us to hold them out after they threw everything at us including the kitchen sink and we held on, I’m really proud of the boys,” said Reggae Warriors assistant coach Roy Calvert.

The victory also meant the Warriors claimed the 2018 Americas Championship.

“This is a long time coming. There’ve been a lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard work. I’m so happy,” said Calvert.

“I’m so proud of this group of boys. We’ve kept this team playing together for the last two years. There’ve been a lot of financial sacrifices,” he said.

“This is history, it can’t be taken away from us.”

Jamaican swimming sensation Alia Atkinson today claimed her eighth gold medal of the 2018 Short Course World Championships when she claimed the 50-metre breaststroke in 28.95 seconds, leaving the field in her wake. 

Jamaica College (JC) and Cornwall College will clash in the final of the 2018 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) rebranded Champions Cup all-island knockout football competition. 

The Windies top order came to the party to post their highest Twenty20 International total of 187/5, and backed it up with a dominant performance on the field to wrap up an 83-run win over Sri Lanka in Match 16 of the ICC Women's World T20 and seal their spot in the semi-final. 

St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) have already claimed revenge against Kingston College, who booted them from a previous ISSA Champions Cup. Now, they face Jamaica College, who snatched all-island glory from them in a previous Olivier Shield. Is more vengeance on the cards? 

Cornwall College and St George's College do not have much of a history against each other. They will be writing the first few chapters of that history when they meet in the semi-final of the ISSA Champions Cup later today.

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