STETHS dedicate Spalding Cup triumph to late Paul Palmer Sr

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Clive Ledgister lifted the ISSA/GraceKennedy Financial Group Spalding Cup cricket title for the ninth time as St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) head coach when his side took first-innings honours against Innswood High in the drawn three-day match last week in Santa Cruz.

However, the coach dedicated the 2018 triumph to former Jamaica Under-19 and STETHS batsman Paul Palmer Sr, who died from suspected suicide three weeks ago. Palmer Sr, who played Headley Cup for STETHS in the early 1980s, was diagnosed with schizophrenia many years ago.

One of Palmer Sr sons, Nigel, struck a half-century in STETHS's second-innings effort last week. His other son, Paul Jr, also an ex-STETHS player, has captained the Jamaica senior team. Paul Sr's brother Dixeth Palmer is a former national team and St Elizabeth Technical cricketer.

“This one [title] is dedicated to Nigel Palmer's father, because he played on the 1983 team and he is someone that I've looked up to,” Ledgister, a former STETHS fast bowler, told the Jamaica Observer during a post-game interview on last Thursday.

“I've coached both his sons — Paul Palmer, who captains the Jamaica senior team, and Nigel, who is here. We really want to dedicate this win to him and hopefully help to cheer up the family somewhat,” he added.

Despite close going in the first innings, in which Innswood replied with only 130 after St Elizabeth Technical made a subpar 165, Ledgister's team separated itself in the second innings. The 2018 rural area Headley Cup champions made 216, which left Innswood to chase an unlikely target of 252 runs on the final afternoon of the rain-affected encounter. The Kirk Gordon-coached Innswood, the urban area Grace Shield title-holders, limped to 88-6 at the close.

The Spalding Cup play-off title, the symbol of all-island schoolboy cricket supremacy, is contested between the winners of the urban area competition and the rural area champions. STETHS have won the Spalding Cup 23 times.

Ledgister, who has won 11 Headley Cup trophies in his 12 years as STETHS coach, said his side's greater experience at the all-island level made a big difference.

“I think we played tougher cricket, we were a lot more disciplined and I think we have more players with more experience. In games like this, I think we know what to do because we are the many-time champions in Headley Cup and no school in Jamaica has won more Spalding Cups than us, so those are some of the things that made the difference in this game,” said the coach whose team lost the Spalding Cup play-off to Papine High last season.

He predicted STETHS will be stronger next year since they are expected to retain the core of the team.

“This is not one of our strongest teams; most of these players won the Under-16 title last year, so it's a team in transition, and for them to make the step up to win the Headley Cup and also the Spalding Cup is something good. Most of these players, or maybe even 100 per cent, will return next year, so I know we'll be harder to beat. But this is not just only about winning; what we do here is to try to develop youngsters to go on and to play at the highest level,” he explained.




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