Wolmer's Prep lift Alberga Cup with narrow win over ECA

Observer writer

Monday, December 10, 2018

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Dethroned Knockout champions Wolmer's Prep had to fight off a fierce challenge from first-time finalists Emmanuel Christian Academy (ECA) to lift the JISA/Tastee Alberga Cup crown at Sts Peter & Paul on Saturday.

Davaughn Ricketts scored the all-important goal early in the second half to ensure the title went to Heroes' Circle courtesy of the 1-0 scoreline.

Despite playing in their first final ECA came out the aggressors, taking the game to seasoned campaigners Wolmer's.

Early pressure from ECA saw them pin Wolmer's in their own half, which resulted in four corner kicks in a row. The left-footed Dominic Dunn took responsibility for all four kicks from the right side, the second of which struck the upright before the ball was hastily cleared by the Wolmer's defence.

Captain Djaz Less also came close to scoring for ECA in the first half when his drive from distance cannoned off the crossbar and back into play to spare Wolmer's blushes.

There was a role reversal in the second half as Wolmer's came out on the front foot and took control of the game early. Unlike ECA, they would make territorial dominance pay as Ricketts stabbed home a rebound from a long free kick by captain Adean Blair.

Wolmer's continued to add the pressure, especially from set plays, before ECA finally came into their own.

With the title slipping away from them ECA threw everything into attack, but they were denied by the brilliance of the Wolmer's custodian Alejandro Frazer three minutes from time as he pulled off a blinder of a save to maintain his team's slender advantage.

The final whistle brought wild celebrations from the team and fans in maroon and gold as they relished winning the coveted Alberga Cup.

Wolmer's coach Raymond Leveridge was beaming with pride at claiming the ultimate title.

“I am proud of them for their performance throughout the entire season, even though we lost the Henriques Cup. It was a hard-fought game when we lost in the quarter-finals. This victory means a lot to us as a team, as a school, and for me personally as a coach.”

“Having gotten to the final last year and this year, it would be tough to lose two finals in a row so I am really elated for this victory.”

The winning coach sang the praises of his custodian who played a massive role in his team's overall success this season.

“He (Frazer) is a very good youngster and I look forward to seeing him move on to high school and continue playing. Once he is on his best game he pulls off the saves for me, so with him between the sticks I am always confident that we are going to be hard to breach and it proved to be true for the season. We only conceded one goal in the Alberga Cup and one in the Henriques Cup.”

In addition to finishing runner's up in the Alberga Cup, ECA also finished third in the Henriques Cup for a good overall season.

“I thought it was a pretty good game, evenly contested. We created some chances but we just didn't capitalise on them. Wolmer's, as usual, is a good team, a quality team with a quality coach, so we knew it was going to be a tough game,” said ECA coach Gregory Jones.

“They were more aggressive than we were. We tried to contain Bell (Wolmer's playmaker) which worked at some points in the game but the player that he is, he is going to at some point give his team the advantage as he normally does.”

Jones credited Wolmer's on their performance while also hailing the performance of his valiant boys.

“Overall I am not very disappointed; I thought it was an excellent season for us. To make it to the finals is a great accomplishment, so there is nothing for us to be ashamed about. The boys did absolutely well. We have to give Wolmer's credit, it was a well-played game for their part and congrats to them.”

Mona Prep won the Henriques Cup but could only muster fourth place in the Alberga Cup as they were beaten 5-3 on penalties by Quest Prep in the third-place game, which was the curtain-raiser on Saturday. Sts Peter & Paul were the Henriques Cup runner's up.

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