Having finished a fighting second to top stayer PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in the grade one Harry Jackson Memorial Cup over 2,400 metres on Boxing Day, the American filly LONG RUNNING TRAIN should go one better in the open allowance mile at Caymanas Park today.Trained by ‘most improved trainer’ nominee Harry Parsard, LONG RUNNING TRAIN returns down in class with only 50.0kg under former champion Wesley Henry, and with a mile more to her liking, is confidently expected to lead home old rivals CAMPESINO, the recent CTL Fan Appreciation Trophy winner ALL CORRECT, and former St Leger and Gold Cup winner COMMANDING CHIEF in a 10-strong field.Before the Harry Jackson Memorial, the 4-y-o filly by Flower Alley out of Cuz You Never Know finished a good third to PHINEAS and CAMPESINO in the fast-run Gladiator Trophy over 1,400 metres on December 19 but had won back-to-back races in October and November, the latter over 1,300 metres in overnight company with a bit in hand.Reporting in good nick for this race, LONG RUNNING TRAIN, given her fine turn of foot, should prove too strong for the front-running CAMPESINO, ALL CORRECT, and COMMANDING CHIEF (working well) in the closing stages.Also on the 11-race card are the 3-y-o maiden special Eight Thirty Sprint, to be run in two divisions over the straight-five course and the 3-y-o and up overnight allowance race over 1,400 for the Allan E. ‘Billy’ Williams Memorial Trophy, to be contested by 11 starters, including top contenders BRAWN and MOM’S STUDENT.Recent winner BRAWN (Aaron Chatrie) is tipped to repeat for trainer Gary Subratie in the ‘Billy’ Williams Memorial. The well-advanced debutante PINELOPE (Shane Ellis up), from the Dwight Chen stables, gets the nod over fellow debutante DANCING QUEEN in division one of the Eight Thirty Sprint, while it should be POISON GAS (Omar Walker) in division two following her promising debut behind GLOBAL recently.
Speedy striker Donjay Smith has moved on, but in Jevaughne Brown, a youngster who has been there for some time, STETHS will have an equally deadly finisher. “The group of players we have is one that can do a good job. I am not worried about what we cannot control. STETHS this year will be challenging on all four fronts,” Downswell stated. “We have enough quality to push all the way.” daCosta Cup titles (4): 1974, 1999, 2009 and 2013 Ben Francis KO titles (5): 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Olivier Shield (1): 1999 deadly finisher WESTERN BUREAU: Having stumbled at the final hurdle last year – losing out on retaining their daCosta Cup title to Clarendon College – St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) will be looking to get it right. Such is the ambition of the school’s technical staff, as exemplified by the astute Wendell Downswell, STETHS’ technical director. “We want to win all four titles,” he said. “The previous year the team really overachieved and so the public was looking at us to win, but we lost to Clarendon (College) in the final. “This year, I think we stand an equal chance of landing the daCosta Cup title and to make a run at the other three,” said Downswell. In recent years, STETHS have become the dominant force in the ISSA-administered rural-area schoolboy football competitions, particularly in the Ben Francis Knockout, pushing aside the legend of many-time winners Cornwall College and Rusea’s High School, along with the likes of Clarendon College and Glenmuir.. For Downswell, this year could be another special one for the Santa Cruz-based institution. “We are looking to be in all finals this year. I think with the crop of players we have this year, I believe we can do that. I am satisfied with what our pre-season has looked like and we are hopeful of a good year,” reasoned Downswell. In referencing his schools’ third place finish at this year’s STETHS Cup – one of the pre-season competitions – Downswell is not paying much attention. “We do not pay the result in the STETHS Cup that much attention. We use it as training and to see where we stack up in readiness for the long season ahead. What is important is that in the five years we have had this competition, we’ve only won it once, but each year we do really well in the daCosta Cup,” said Downswell.
Cavalier coach Rudolph Speid believes that this year’s team, though younger, is better than last season’s unit at this stage but is not getting carried away just yet. Speid’s young troops have remained unbeaten in three games and sit third in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) standings on seven points. He, however, believes that their three upcoming games will determine how much of a title challenger they will be this term. The series of games starts with a rescheduled contest away to former winners and beaten finalist last season Montego Bay United today at Wespow Park, starting at 4 p.m. But with MoBay finding their form under American coach Timothy Hankinson with two convincing wins in their last two games, this could prove the most difficult of the matches. They will then face second-place Portmore United, who lost their unbeaten start on Sunday to the University of the West Indies (UWI) and will be eager to rebound. They will then face UWI the following week, and Speid says how they come through this set of games could set the tone for the rest of the season. “When we compare where we were last year this time compared to this year, we are ahead by points. So that’s a positive for us, and we just have to keep working hard,” he said. “But this week will be very interesting for us. We have three games, and we are going to have to be up for the task,” he continued. “So after this week, I will be more likely to say how much we can maintain it (good form). We have Montego Bay on Wednesday (today), and then we have Portmore United on Sunday, so by next Monday, I will have a better answer on if we can maintain this form,” he commented. Cavalier has been the strongest defensive team in the league, having yet to concede a goal after three outings. But offensively, they have not perform consistently at the level Speid wants them to, but he’s aware that most of his players are still very young. “I am not pleased with the overall performance. We aren’t consistent and as good as we were in previous games,” he said regarding the last game against Rivoli. “But it’s work in progress, and young players tend to be a little inconsistent, but what can I say because they (young players) are getting the goals.” A win for Cavalier this afternoon would put them level with Reno atop of the standings with 10 points, while victory for MoBay, who are mid-table on six points, would lift them to second above Portmore on goal difference with nine points. strongest defensive team
Since the first round of the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup ended, St George’s College (STGC) has been in unstoppable form, playing some scintillating football, dominating games with flair and panache and virtually scoring at will.Although the North Street-based school has shown a tendency to give up goals, their open style of football is not too much of a worry for coach Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell, who is confident that as long as they stay true to their passing game and continue working as a team, they will be hard to beat.STGC will face St Jago – a team they have already beaten twice this season, in today’s ISSA-FLOW Super Cup semi-final at Sabina Park at 6 p.m.”Not really (concern about defence). I know this team, and once they settle down, we will do well,” Bell said.In the last Super Cup game against Glenmuir, which ended 3-2, the Georgians conceded an early goal in each half, and although Bell admitted it’s something they have to look at, he has full confidence in his players’ abilities.”When we play our passing game, we play well. They (Glenmuir) caught us very early, but I can live with that. It was like two seconds in the game when they scored, same thing in the second-half. It never happen to us before but it is something we have to talk about and it could have hurt us more than it did,” he reflected.Alex Marshall and Shevon Stewart have been the outstanding players for Bell’s team this season, but the charismatic coach insists it will take a team effort if they are to get by St Jago today.
Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors find themselves in a must-win situation against Canada today if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the Rugby League World Cup in 2017. The game will be played in DeLand, Florida. Last Friday, the 29th ranked Jamaicans lost the first of two qualifiers in a closely contested match 20-14 against the 10th-ranked United States despite dominating huge portions of the game in Florida. Despite the loss, head coach Romeo Monteith believes the team comprised of local and English-based players can pull off a win against world number 13 Canada but they must be better than they were against the United States. “Firstly, we need to have the same mental toughness from the USA game,” Monteith said. “We competed for 80 minutes and never gave up. Secondly, we need to take care of the ball and complete our sets. There were too many unforced errors against the USA and finally, we need o shift the ball to the wings quicker and more effectively, that’s were our strike players are, they need good service.” On Friday, the USA got off to a fast start, posting two tries in quick succession to take a 10-0 lead but Jamaica dominated possession for the rest of the half, winning eight penalties in a clash of numerous huge collisions and the occasional flare up but, too often, the visitors surrendered the ball in promising positions. Prop Ross Peltier was a stand out for Jamaica and he sniped over on the half hour, Joel Farrell converting to narrow the gap to four points. A flurry of tries at the start of the second period, in which Jamaica again dominated possession, saw the game open up. Powerful centre Danny Howard was the first across for the USA but Jamaica hit back shortly thereafter in what remained a close encounter until the very end. The team held their final training session yesterday ahead of today’s match.
Brazil, Uruguay qualifier still on in Recife MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Uruguay will go ahead with a World Cup qualifier scheduled next month in Recife, the Brazilian city at the centre of an outbreak of the Zika virus. “For the moment, we have no qualms about the location,” Eduardo Belza, the national team’s sports director, told The Associated Press. “But it’s a fluid situation, and we’re very aware of what health officials in Brazil and Uruguay are saying.” The match will be played in the northeastern city on March 24. Belza said players have been told to use mosquito repellents, bring long-sleeve shirts and avoid being out in the early morning or evening when mosquitoes are more prevalent. Belza said he’s already been to Recife and has chosen a hotel with tightly sealed windows and a ventilation system that keeps insects out of the building. Neymar urged to come clean MADRID (AP) The Brazilian company that says it hasn’t been properly compensated for Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona wants him to come clean and put an end to his judicial problems in Spain and Brazil. The co-founder of Grupo Sonda, which invested in Neymar early in his career, issued a public message to the player in a news conference yesterday in Madrid, saying he risks having his career tainted by a crime. “You are an exceptional player and I wouldn’t like to see you going down in history marked by a crime,” Delcir Sonda said. “Hopefully, you will show the same maturity that you have on the field and will put an end to your judicial problems in Brazil and Spain. No one deserves this.” DIS, the investment group that belongs to Sonda, has claimed in court that it was financially damaged because Barcelona, Neymar, and Brazilian club Santos withheld the real amount of the player’s transfer fee in 2013. DIS was entitled to 40 per cent of the total transfer amount. Neymar and his father appeared before a judge in Madrid on Tuesday to testify in an investigation into the transfer. Former and current Barcelona presidents also were questioned by a judge this week, as well as representatives of Santos. They have all denied wrongdoing. The Brazilian club claims it also has been hurt in the transfer.
MANCHESTER, England (AP): Arsenal and Tottenham grabbed late winning goals against title rivals yesterday to move two points off the lead as the race to win the English Premier League tightened up. Leicester started the weekend with an unlikely five-point lead, but conceded in the fifth minute of stoppage time to lose 2-1 at Arsenal, with Danny Welbeck scoring the winner in his first match back after 10 months out because of injury. “This strengthens our belief that we are in the fight,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “It would have been massive for us to lose.” It was only Leicester’s third loss of the season – and two of them have been inflicted by Arsenal. Christian Eriksen didn’t leave it quite so late for Spurs against Manchester City, slotting home in the 83rd minute to also seal a 2-1 win at Etihad Stadium. It will be regarded as a landmark win for a young Tottenham team that is going for the club’s first league title since 1961. DREAMING SUPPORTERS “It is true our supporters can dream,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said. Second-place Tottenham lead Arsenal on goal difference, while City’s second straight home loss kept the team six points behind Leicester, with their squad beginning to look stretched as they go for trophies on four fronts. In the other match, last-place Aston Villa slipped to their heaviest home defeat in 81 years, losing 6-0 to Liverpool. The visitors had six different scorers, including Daniel Sturridge in the injury-prone striker’s first league start for more than four months. Relegation candidates all of last season, Leicester are dealing with a different kind of pressure this time round, but failure to handle rising expectations wasn’t the reason behind the defeat at Emirates Stadium. The biggest factor was probably the sending-off of right back Danny Simpson after two yellow cards in the opening nine minutes of the second half. Leicester were then leading 1-0, thanks to Jamie Vardy’s penalty on the stroke of half-time – his league-high 19th goal of the season. Substitutes came good for Arsenal. Theo Walcott equalised with 20 minutes to go, with Arsenal’s first shot on target and fellow sub Welbeck, who came on in the 83rd minute, headed in Mesut Ozil’s free kick. “Everybody is extremely happy for him because he has been out for 10 months. That is an eternity for a player,” Wenger said. Spurs capped a successful day for the north London clubs by completing a league double over City, another sign that they are ready to finally challenge for the championship under Pochettino after years of underachievement. Harry Kane put Tottenham in front in the 53rd from a penalty that was controversially awarded for a handball against Raheem Sterling, who turned his back to a cross from Danny Rose. The ball appeared to strike a combination of his elbow and back, with his arm not outstretched. Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho equalised in the 74th, only for Eriksen to race onto Erik Lamela’s through-ball and slip a low finish past goalkeeper Joe Hart. With 12 games left, City are now dependent on three teams above them dropping points. “The first problem is our team,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “We need to improve in a lot of things.” It is the first time since 1985 that Tottenham has been second at this stage of the season. After Sturridge and James Milner secured a 2-0 lead at half-time, Liverpool scored four goals in 13 second-half minutes – through Emre Can, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Clyne and Kolo Toure – to seal their biggest win under Juergen Klopp. Liverpool climbed to eighth place, three points behind fifth-place Manchester United, while Villa are eight points from safety.
MUMBAI, India (AP):South Africa avoided another bowling nightmare to revive their World Twenty20 campaign and beat inexperienced Afghanistan by 37 runs in the Group One match yesterday.Chasing South Africa’s daunting 209-5, opener Mohammad Shahzad smashed 44 off just 19 balls before medium-fast Chris Morris grabbed 4-27 to dismiss Afghanistan for 172 in 20 overs.”We need to be a lot better, it’s as simple as that,” said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who won the toss and chose to bat. “It’s a big challenge for the bowlers … I guess we are a bit soft in our execution which we need to improve on.”AB de Villiers had earlier capitalised on two dropped catches to hit 64 off 29 balls. Left-handed opener Quinton de Kock made 45 and du Plessis contributed 41.South Africa lost the first match against England, which chased down a WT20 record 230-8 at the same venue on Friday to win by two wickets. It was Afghanistan’s second loss in succession after they were beaten by defending champions Sri Lanka at Kolkata.Shahzad followed the England-style run rampage when he smashed five sixes and three fours in the first three overs from fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott as South Africa rested their front-line fast bowler Dale Steyn and included David Wiese, who went for 0-47.Morris cut short the cricketing carnage and knocked back the middle stump of Shahzad, before following it up with the wicket of captain Asghar Stanikzai. He returned to clean- bowl Rashid Khan and Dawlat Zadran in his last over.The South African pace proved too much for Afghanistan’s middle-order batsmen as they kept losing wickets, with wicketkeeper de Kock holding on to four catches and also stumping Noor Ali Zadran.”This experience will be good for us,” Stanikzai said. “Shahzad started well but, unfortunately, we gave some quick wickets and that’s why we lost the match.”Earlier, de Kock and du Plessis set the pace of the South Africa innings by adding 65 off 42 balls after Hashim Amla was dismissed in the third over.Afghanistan came back briefly when du Plessis was run out in the 10th over and two overs later de Kock was caught behind.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC): The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) says it wants to stage a series of fast bowling camps as part of a plan to rekindle an area of the game that has been struggling in recent years. WICB director of cricket, Richard Pybus, made the announcement at the conclusion of the 10-round Professional Cricket League (PCL) Regional four-day Tournament on Monday. The WICB is pondering the introduction of an off-season training programme targeting fast bowlers after spinners dominated the just ended four-day tournament. “We are prioritising and looking at some camps for our fast bowlers, possibly some measures off season to prioritise fast bowling in the four-day competition,” said Pybus in an interview with WICB media. “This is going to be central to us getting that back at the heart of West Indies cricket again.” Spinners featured prominently during the tournament, including the top wicket- taker, Jamaican spinner Nikita Miller, who had 65 scalps in nine matches. “The competition has been still dominated too much by the spin bowlers,” said Pybus. “That is something that we will have to seriously address during the off season to make sure that we are prioritising the fast bowlers.” Guyana’s Leon Johnson, with 807, scored the most runs for the season, followed by Devon Smith of the Windward Islands, who scored 719 — though from two matches less. Guyana’s Vishal Singh and Barbados’ Royston Chase were other players who scored over 700 runs. “I think something which is exceptionally positive is the quality of the batting. We are getting a consistency in the scoring,” said Pybus. “We got a core group of young players who have put their hand up all the way through the competition. We are getting consistent with hundreds being scored. Volume of hundreds and volume of runs which I think is very positive.” Guyana Jaguars were crowned champions of the R4Day for the second straight year. They finished with 149 points — seven clear of nearest rivals Barbados Pride — to regain the George Headley/Everton Weekes Trophy, symbol of regional first-class supremacy. “The first season of the PCL was very rushed and the systems we wanted to put in place to be able to support it were not where we wanted them to be,” he said. “So this year is closer to where I would like to see the system in terms of providing support to the players and the structure of the season regarding the off season programmes for the players.”
Campion College and Immaculate Conception High showed that they were a class ahead of the rest as they comfortably retained their respective titles at the Mayberry Investments High Schools Swim Meet on Friday at the National Aquatics Centre, Independence Park, National Stadium complex.Campion retained the boys’ title with 419 points, finishing well ahead of Wolmer’s Boys’ (366), Jamaica College (282), Hillel Academy (166), and Calabar High (91).Immaculate blew away their opponents in the girls’ category with a whopping 634 points. Campion College (354) were second, followed by St Andrew High (282.50), Wolmer’s Girls’ (137) and Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) 57.There was also a two-team tertiary competition, which saw the University of the West Indies (316 points) reign over Caribbean Maritime Institute (121).The high-point trophy winners with the best individual scores were:Boys 12 and Under:- Kyle Sinclair of Wolmer’s Boys’, 41 points, while recent Carifta Swim Championships record breaker Emily MacDonald led the girls’ age group for Campion College with 45 points.In the age 13-14 category, Jordane Payne of Wolmer’s Boys’ scored 43, while Immaculate’s Karci Gibson had 31.Chay Stewart of Wolmer’s Boys’ and Anjuii Barrett of Campion (girls) topped the 15-16 age group with scores of 43 and 41 points, respectively.The 17 and over boys went to Jamaica College’s Yonatan Goren, courtesy of 37 points, and Gabrielle Hopkins of Immaculate won the female award with 32.SEVEN INDIVIDUAL RECORDSSeven individual records were broken at the meet, including a double by MacDonald in the girls 12′ and under 100 and 200m freestyle events.Dominic Mullings set new marks in the boys’ 12 and under 100 and 200m freestyle, while Kyle Sinclair also broke the 50 and 100m freestyle records.The other record fell to Britney Williams in the girls 13-14 200m freestyle, while two relay records were also broken – by Wolmer’s Boys’ in the 15-16 200m freestyle and the UWI women in the 17 and over 200m freestyle.