November 29th, 2014
ST George’s College turned in a virtuoso performance in beating Jamaica College (JC) 3-2 to lift the ISSA Walker Cup trophy for a record ninth time at the Constant Spring field yesterday.
In the battle of two old schools, formed hundreds of years ago and rich in tradition, St George’s, which has a knight in their school’s crest, slew the griffins or dragons perched on JC’s.
That’s a battle from the seventh century, according to mythology, when Saint George fought a dragon and today it was no different. St George’s College emerged victorious in an exciting final, slaying the school football beast known as Jamaica College.
JC, the all-island champion, were hunting their third title of the season having won the LIME Super Cup and the Manning Cup, but were destroyed by St George’s in a brilliant 45-minute spell that saw them score three goals.
The lethal Shevon Stewart opened the scoring for the ‘Light Blues’ in the 11th minute with a brilliant solo effort ending with him rounding goalkeeper Courtney Dowdie and slotting home.
The Neville Bell-coached boys then doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after a defender was ruled to have handled the ball. The referee was close to the action, but failed to make the call and only did so after his assistant raised his flag.
Gregory Messam Jnr easily tucked away the spot kick in the 27th minute before the lanky Amoy Brown netted the third in the 42nd minute after a neat build-up play that tore JC to shreds.
With JC 0-3 down, the heavens opened up and the rain came pouring down making playing on the already poor Constant Spring surface even more difficult.
But JC, showing the heart of a champion, came back strong in the second half with two goals. Captain Junior Flemmings grabbed both goals in the 48th and 90th minutes. The prolific player also had his effort in the 17th minute ruled out after finding the back of the net.
JC had the ball in the back of the net in the 77th minute, but Ronaldo Brown apparently tried a ‘hand of God’ maneouvre and was subsequently booked.
But even before JC rallied, STGC could have put the game to rest as they missed a couple of chances. In the end, however, they were deserved champions.
St George’s, who started the day level with Kingston College with eight Walker Cup titles, became the most successful team with nine triumphs having won the first edition in 1961. That was followed by victories in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2011. It was also sweet revenge for the Light Blues, who were defeated in the 2009 final by JC.
St George’s, with this victory, are now the most successful school with 46 titles, inclusive of 22 Manning Cups; 14 Olivier Shields; nine Walker Cups and one Nutrament Shield won in 1983. The Nutrament Shield was played between the Walker Cup and Ben Francis Cup champions. JC are second overall with 45 titles.
Neville Bell, who has guided the Light Blues to yet another title, said his team was well-rested but once they got back that confidence, they would win.
“Our strength has always been our confidence. We lost two games to Wolmer’s because, strange enough, we were not confident.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we didn’t train and I sat with them for about an hour and I told them if we get back our confidence we would win this game. I knew they (JC) were a good team but I also know this St George’s College team has a whole lot of quality,” said Bell.
“I am not a coach that would boast, but this is not a surprise to me because this team has quality. Everyone wrote us off when we lost to Wolmer’s and there was a reporter (Jamaica Observer) that wrote that he thought we could do it today, and he was right,” Bell added.
JC, who saw their ambition to secure four titles crushed, ended the game the stronger team and might have felt a little unlucky in their quest.
Head coach Miguel Coley said it was a good game, but his team made some critical mistakes in the first half that cost them the title.
“In the second half we adjusted and came all-out to win the game, but some decisions didn’t go our way. It’s a tough loss and we really fought as a champion,” said Coley.
JC will now turn their attention to the all-island Olivier Shield battle against either STETHS or Clarendon College set for December 6.
But for now, St George’s College are the toast of schoolboy football, and although they failed to deliver in the latter stages of the Manning Cup and LIME Super Cup, they showed that on their day, they are second to none.
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