STETHS lift Ben Francis title

October 31st, 2010

Gregory McKogg (right) accepts the Ben Francis KO Cup from Dr Walton Small, president of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA).

Reigning daCosta Cup champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) created history yesterday afternoon when a double strike by Denmark Gillings gave them a 2-0 win over Paul Bogle High School in the 2010 Ben Francis KO final, played at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay.

With the win, the Andrew Edwards-coached STETHS, who were copping the coveted Ben Francis KO title for the first time, have now joined the elite group of rural high schools that have won both the daCosta Cup and Ben Francis Cup, which are the two symbols of rural schoolboy football supremacy.

“Winning the Ben Francis Cup for the first time is an awesome feeling and we are extremely happy about it,” said coach Edwards. “Our plan this season is to win the three major titles [Ben Francis Cup, daCosta Cup and Olivier Shield] on offer and we have now accomplished one third of that mission.”

For the Winston Downie-coached Paul Bogle, who were having a fairy-tale season before yesterday and came into Montego Bay flushed with confidence, the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow as the coach felt that they played well but did not measure up to expectations.

“That early goal that STETHS scored set us back as we took quite a long time to regroup,” said a disappointed Downie. “We just have to put this defeat behind us and quickly turn our attention to the daCosta Cup.”

The game, which was brilliant in patches, started with STETHS getting the better of the early exchanges. They were rewarded in the second minute when Gillings found himself with space and fired past the goalkeeper, making the score 1-0.

Having taken the lead, STETHS kept pressing forward in numbers and, but for alert defending by the St Thomas team, they could well have fallen into deeper trouble as several promising attacks on their goal were thwarted.

Midway in the half, Paul Bogle came into their own, creating a few openings in the STETHS defence. In the 30th minute, they came perilously close to scoring when Deshawn Stanton sent Rushane Webber clear, but he fumbled badly and lost possession.

Missed chances

In the 36th minute, STETHS again came close when Gillings sent Eugene Wright clear but he fired his grounder within the reach of the diving goalkeeper. Two minutes later, Bogle also came close but the overlapping Alvis Powell fired straight at the STETHS custodian. The half ended without any further excitement.

The second half started with STETHS missing a chance almost immediately. Substitute Jason McLean got away before the goal but failed to score, with just the goalkeeper to contend with.

After surviving a Paul Bogle attack in the 55th minute, when Stanton had his close-range effort blocked by a defender, Gillings just missed doubling STETHS’ lead in the 60th minute. He got away before the goal but, in his anxiety, he stepped on the ball and lost possession.

With STETHS again enjoying the better of the action, they were rewarded for a second time in the 75th minute when Gillings got his second goal. He pounced on a perfect pass by Davian Ash and calmly fired home, making the score 2-0.

The final minutes of the game were quite exciting as the Paul Bogle team threw everything in attack. In the dying moments of the game, the St Thomas team lost the versatile Jonel Lee to a red card after he was penalised for a harsh tackle on a STETHS player.


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