Walker Cup hopefuls lock horns in semi-finals

Friday, November 09, 2018

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The semi-finals of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Walker Cup take place today at the Spanish Town Oval with Hydel High playing Cumberland High at 1:00 pm, before Excelsior High tackle St Catherine High at 3:00 pm.

In the feature encounter, both Excelsior High and St Catherine started the newly formatted Corporate Area knockout competition as favourites and both meet today looking to book their spot in the final set for November 14.

The Mountain View-based Excelsior are the third most successful school in the previous format of the Walker Cup with seven titles, two behind St George's College and Kingston College (KC) with nine titles each.

Based on the new rules, the North Street giants having successfully reached the semi-final of the Manning Cup, are ineligible to participate in the Walker Cup designed for the second-round losers of the Manning Cup.

So, with Excelsior not advancing beyond the second round, they could capitalise on the top teams' absence and add their name to the Walker Cup once again and move closer to both KC and St George's as the most successful teams.

Both Excelsior and St Catherine have met twice this season in first round group action and both have shared the victories. On September 18, St Catherine utilised their home advantage and secured a 2-1 win, while the favour was returned on October 5 with Excelsior emerging 2-0 winners.

This third time of asking it can be any body's game as both are coming of good wins in the quarter-finals. Excelsior defeated Denham Town 2-0, while St Catherine brushed aside Calabar High 3-0.

In the other semi-final, Hydel High are heavily fancied to book their spot in the final when they take on Cumberland High.

Hydel came out of a tough group with champions Jamaica College in the first round of the Manning Cup, but were knocked out by last season's runners-up St Andrew Technical High School in the second round.

Hydel dismissed Mona High 3-0 in the quarter-final and now they are just a win away from the final of the Walker Cup.

Cumberland High are the least fancied of the four teams, but cannot be written off after reaching this far. They enter this competition having lost heavily to KC in the second round, but knocked off St Jago in the quarter-final.

— Howard Walker

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