The Charley’s JB Rum Western Confederation Super League returns from the Christmas break with a full slate of matches down to be contested. The schedule includes a tough matchup between Group One leaders Salt Marsh United and Savannah SC. Match time is 3 p.m. at the Frome Sports Complex.Salt Marsh will put their perfect start to the season on the line against one of the brand-name teams in the competition, having already logged six points from two matches before the one-week break.They will be keen on making it three in a row and condemn one of the big-name teams to another loss.The other matches in the group are Granville (third in Group One) up against Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club (MBBGC) at the Granville Community Centre.Petersfield FC, second in the group on three points, host Lucea FC at the Petersfield Sports Ground.GROUPTWOMeanwhile, in Group Two, top club Beaches Negril (four points), after two matches, travel to tackle Sandals Whitehouse.The Aaron Lawrence-coached Sandals Whitehouse team are off to a slow start by their standards and will be in for all three points against their cousin team from Negril.Sandals are yet to win a match so far this season after two tries and will need a strong defensive display to keep Beaches at bay.Also featuring today is Reggae Youths versus Clarks Town at the UDC field in Montego Bay, while two former winners, Wadadah and Village United, meet at the Elleston Wakeland Centre.Village are in dire need of a victory, though that will be tough against this strong Wadadah team, who are currently second in the group with three points.All matches start at 3 p.m.
ON THIS WEEKENDSPORTSMAX2Saturday7:45 a.m: Man City vs Leicester10 a.m: Liverpool vs Sunderland5 p.m: Stoke vs Everton7 p.m: Swansea vs Crystal PalaceSunday12 a.m: Aston Villa vs Norwich1 a.m: Newcastle vs West Brom8:30 a.m: Bournemouth vs Arsenal11 a.m: Chelsea vs Man United
The 21st running of the Lady Geeta Trophy grade one feature over 1200 metres provided a bittersweet experience for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, who, despite winning with 7-2 chance PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, said he was shocked when stable-companion and 3-5 favourite POKER STAR decked jockey Robert Halledeen at the start.”It was nerve-racking”, recalled the 15-champion trainer. “Although my other horse, Perfect Neighbour, made up for the disappointment by scoring a narrow win, what was more important was that neither Poker Star nor the jockey was injured,” he added.Bidding for his sixth consecutive win, POKER STAR pitched from the outside post position (No. 6) on leaving the gates and dislodged Halledeen, much to the horror of racing fans who had installed the reigning champion sprinter a howling favourite to win his third trophy event from as many races this season.PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, ridden by four-time champion jockey Omar Walker for co-owners Alfred Lee and Jeffery Mordecai, broke well to chase the tearaway leader UPPA TUNE (5-2) with apprentice Bebeto Harvey into the straight, closing strongly in the last 100 metres to overhaul the consistent US-bred horse, winning by three-quarter length. The 2014 sprint champion POTCHEEN, highly fancied at 5-2, finished third after failing to go the early pace.Winner of the derby and St. Leger as a three-year-old in 2013 and voted the champion stayer of 2015, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR has now won 15 races from 36 starts lifetime with total stakes of just over $21 million. The 6-y-o horse, by Natural Selection out of Desperatehousewife, was bred by Y.S. (1955) Limited.The season’s first classics, the Post to Post 1000 and 2000 Guineas over 1600 metres, will both be run this Saturday, April 9.
A time will come when reason prevails over West Indies cricket. Right now, despite the discomforts being aired, we are champions of the world three times over. That’s no mean feat.Mere weeks after victory in the Under-19 World Cup, the West Indies took two titles in the space of just a few hours at the T20 World Cup on the weekend. Those wins didn’t come easily. The men’s innings rode on the back of good bowling, a stable innings of 85 by Marlon Samuels and a swashbuckling finish by Carlos Brathwaite.Sunday’s double dominance can’t gloss over the problematic issues that attend West Indies cricket. It can’t, by itself, heal the cracks of trust that are evident. It doesn’t even guarantee that a great Test team will emerge soon with a blend of veterans and debutants from the Under-19 team, even though anything is possible.It does, however, reassert the region’s potential for greatness in cricket. Twenty20 isn’t Test cricket, but when one nation can win three world titles in a matter of weeks and two on the same day, it shows that there is definitely something worth saving.JUST AS VALUABLEFor many, these three victories are just as valuable as triumphs over England and Australia in Tests. As offered in the space recently, the Under-19 success provides hope for the future. Our women, led by Stafanie Taylor, look set for a long reign among the world’s best.The quarrels are reminiscent of the street protests in Sydney by Jamaican athletes in 2000 when Merlene Ottey replaced Peta-Gaye Dowdie on the team roster for the Olympic 100 metres. Then, as now, frustrations bubbled over and led to an airing of dirty linen in public. Instead of celebration, sanction is the watchword.When the dust settles, one hopes that all will agree that eligibility to play for the West Indies will rest on participation in regional tournaments with some concomitant flexibility to allow the professional cricketer the chance to make some money elsewhere, while it is there for the taking.In the meantime, this is still a time for celebration. Even in the turbulent aftermath of the big double, the image of our women and then our men dancing happily with the World Cup trophies are inspiring.Combined with the recent Under-19 success, it is a sign of how great we can be in cricket.n Hubert Lawrence has attended the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.