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Manning and daCosta cups begin in earnest
The chase for schoolboy football's coveted titles, the Manning and daCosta Cups, will continue today with several matches across the island.
Norman Manley have already set the tone for a competitive season, by clipping defending champions Bridgeport 1-0 at Jarrett Park on Saturday, while Glenmuir sent a clear signal to all contenders with their 6-2 thrashing of Old Harbour.
In Manning Cup action, last year's beaten finalists Excelsior will be looking to get off to a solid start when they face Cumberland at Excelsior. With Excelsior having retained most of a talented team they are favourites to go through, but second place in their group is up for grabs. Having failed to make the second round last season, a good start will also be important for Vauxhall and Jonathan Grant as they face each other at Vauxhall.
In Group D, St George's will look to keep pace with group leaders and defending champions Bridgeport when they host Ardenne at Winchester Park, while Dunoon will tackle Penwood at the Bell Chung Oval.
Boasting two teams that are as experienced as can be expected at the school boy level, Group C is expected to be a keenly contested race between former champions Wolmer's and Calabar.
Wolmer's will kick off their campaign when they face Edith Dalton at home, while Calabar will travel to Clan Carthy where they face Kingston Technical. In the group's other game, Campion will host Meadowbrook.
In what is expected to be a wide open Group B Donald Quarrie will start their season against Jose Marti at the Harbour View mini-stadium. Last year's defending Walker Cup champions Eltham though having lost most of last year's starting team will still be hoping for a bright start to their season when they travel to Kingston High.
In daCosta Cup action there will be one game in Zone I with Central taking on Bustamante. In Zone K Iona will challenge Islington, Brimmervale will battle
Tacky, St. Mary High will play Annotto Bay and St. Mary Technical will be at home to Oracabessa.
All games are slated to start at 3:30 p.m.
While all five games should generate keen interest as the teams seek to get off to positive starts, the whopping $175,000 winners' purse should serve as motivation.
With Glenmuir throwing down the gauntlet on Saturday with their ruthless battering of Old Harbour and looking live candidates to top Zone A, both Central and Bustamante will be hoping for victory today to put
themselves in line for the second inter-zone place from the group.
In the games in Zone K - the competitionŐs largest zone - the action should be quite keen, especially if the teams show the same zeal they displayed last year when only three points separated the top four teams in the
zone at the end of the preliminary round.
While Tacky and Oracabessa, the two Zone K inter-zone qualifiers from last year, should again figure prominently, things could prove a lot tougher this year as Port Antonio, which competed in and placed
second in Zone L last season, have been switched to Zone K.
Based on practice game form, Islington, Annotto Bay and Oracabessa are tipped to come out winners today. The Brimmervale against Tacky match-up should be a humdinger and could go either way.
Donald Quarrie versus Jose Marti
Kingston High versus Eltham
Kingston Technical vs Calabar
Wolmer's versus Edith Dalton
Campion versus Meadowbrook
St George's versus Ardenne
Dunoon versus Penwood
Excelsior versus Cumberland
STATHS versus Trench Town
Vauxhall versus Jonathan Grant
Central versus Bustamante - at Effortville Community Centre
Iona versus Islington - at Rio Nuevo
Brimmervale versus Tacky - at Berimmervale
St. Mary High versus Annotto Bay - at Highgate
St. Mary Technical versus Oracabessa - at Richmond Farm Prison