No margin for error in Group A - St George’s, defending champions JC already in must-win territory
When St George's College take on Jamaica College (JC) today at 3 p.m. at Stadium East in their ISSA/Manning Cup Group A game, it will have a playoff-like feel, according to St George's College assistant coach Marcel Gayle who says it could already determine their future in this truncated season.
The dynamic of Group A has shifted after Wednesday's fixtures, with St George's suffering a surprising 3-1 defeat to Kingston Technical to end their two-game winning streak. Despite being tied on points with Charlie Smith (six) they are third in the group, two points ahead of JC who won their first game of the campaign last Saturday. Defeat will be disastrous and could effectively mean the end of the road for JC. They would remain on four points, five behind Kingston Technical and St George's.
With Kingston Technical continuing to surprise and Kingston High managing a win over Calabar, Gayle feels like it is a do-or-die situation already with three games to go in the first round.
"Based on our position in the group, it's almost a must-win game. So we are not taking it for granted," Gayle told STAR Sports. "Whenever St George's College and JC play, it's always a (great) affair. We are looking forward to the game and I am sure Jamaica College are looking forward to it as well."
The 'Light Blues' of St George's will operate on a short turnaround, compared to JC who have had six days to prepare. However, Gayle says that, while they could have better match readiness in this shortened format, he does see the downside of having little time to recover.
"It can be a disadvantage because of the recovery. We still have a pretty young squad but we need to just go out there and (get them to) maximise their potential. That's all we can ask of them," Gayle said.
St George's have advanced to the quarter-finals of the Manning Cup three of the last four years (2017-2019). In other Group A games, Kingston High will take on Bridgeport High at the Spanish Town Prison Oval at 3 p.m while Charlie Smith will battle Calabar in the early game of the Stadium East double header at noon. Wolmer's Boys' will face Clan Carthy High in the lone Group C game at Ashenheim Stadium at 3 p.m.