All roads lead to Bagatelle, St. Thomas and Trents, St. James when the quarter-finals of the Bico-sponsored National Sports Council’s Primary Schools Football Tournament come off tomorrow.
Wilkie Cumberbatch take on St. Gabriel’s at 9:30 a.m. at Bagatelle, to be followed by the second match between St. Bartholomew’s Primary and Deacons Primary at 10:30 a.m.
Further north at Trents, Arthur Smith battle against West Terrace Primary at 9:30 a.m. and this game will be followed by the St. Stephen’s Primary versus Cuthbert Moore Primary clash.
The tournament has been a resounding success with several young talents emerging and the business end of the competition promises to be an exciting affair.
St. Gabriel’s are the defending champions but have not been as dominant as they were last year and indeed tasted defeat during the preliminary rounds. Their main marksman has been Samuel Alkins who has scored six goals. However, their success this year has generally been a team effort with good players at several positions on the field, inclusive of the likes of Asher John Pierre who has scored three goals and the busy Nick Storey who has chipped in with two goals in addition to his tireless efforts on both ends of the field. Dillion Williams is another who has also impressed for St. Gabriel’s.
They will have to contend with the threat of the attacking Donte Greenidge who has marshalled Wilkie Cumberbatch’s front-line to telling effect, while notching up a hefty 12 goals himself in the preliminary rounds.
With the likes of Tavio Hope-Downes, Tajio James and Simon Hinds, Wilkie Cumberbatch could prove a hurdle too tall for the defending champs to get over. Wilkie Cumberbatch also have one of the tournament’s best custodians in Jayden Blanche.
Many believe that St. Bartholomew’s possess too many scoring options for Deacons Primary to overcome in the second match at Bagatelle. The Christ Church school have scored heavily during the competition and in Thierry Gale have a lethal strike weapon. Gale has scored 12 goals so far in the competition and with team-mates such as Tyrese Brathwaite and Shakado Scott, as well as a competent defence, St. Bartholomew’s should enter the game in confident mood.
But Deacons have their own weapons, and after vanquishing the previously undefeated Hilda Skeene, their confidence is sky-high. The St. Michael school will pin much of their hopes on the twin threat of Shaquon Goddard and Sandro Springer. Zico Kirton has come off the substitutes’ ‘bench’ and played very well in previous matches as well. Between the uprights is Shaquille Anderson and he has simply been a tower of strength in their goal. Goddard has been Deacon’s principal marksman with six goals.
His name has been on the lips of everyone whenever Arthur Smith Primary have taken to the field and at Trents tomorrow expect much focus to be on Niall Reid-Stephen. He has arguably been the star of the competition and his 15 goals so far are indicative of the threat which he will pose to West Terrace’s defenders. Christopher Newton-Harewood, Jabarri Kydd and Naje Bryan are among those on a strong Arthur Smith team that have also caught the eye.
For West Terrace they too have some very potent offensive weapons. Khamal Cumberbatch has had an excellent tournament where he has been their leading scorer with 11 goals and he has had great assistance from the likes of Isaiah Norris, Jaheim Headley, Renacko Belgrave and super-sub Kwesi Brathwaite. This game should be a thriller.
St. Stephen’s Primary and Cuthbert Moore have played a similar brand of football during the tournament. Both teams defend well and tend to seek goals on the counter. Raheem Holligan scored a timely goal to get St. Stephen’s into the quarter-finals and once again a lot of his school’s hopes will be on his capable shoulders. He has seven goals so far in the competition. For Cuthbert Moore they will be looking to Shabari Lynch and Kevin Wickham as their main offensive threats.
Whichever teams make the semi-finals, tomorrow’s match-ups promise to be a thrilling affair. (WG)