Writer: Brian Kazaara
The Manning Cup season 2010 started with an aura of belief and optimism. This season promised to not only be a display of the cumulative efforts put forth by the Campion College playing and coaching staff during the past summer, but also be a source of pride for the school, now in its 50th year.
Led by Coach Phillpotts-Brown, the squad represented a nice blend of experience and youth. For upper sixth form players such as Moran Singh, Javaunne Johnson, Lancelot Williams, Omaro Spence, Leon McDonald, Arthur Williams, Andre Stewart, Rouaj Shirley and Emerson Johnson, this represented their last chance to win any silverware for Campion.
Despite all this hype, the season started off poorly. Adverse weather conditions and defensive errors lead to the team conceding two goals against Eltham before the half time whistle. The second half saw two more goals conceded as Campion slumped to a 4-0 loss. The score line was not a fair reflection of the performance though and Brian Barrett’s display in the second half was a particular highlight.
Up next were the favorites for the competition – Kingston College. Despite the game being evenly matched and an admirable performance from the keeper David Mitchell who produced a miraculous double save, Campion lost by the narrow margin of 1-0. Another good performance resulted in the poor result of the 1-0 loss to Jonathan Grant, courtesy of an individual defensive error. A noteworthy strike from Javaunne Johnson hit the cross bar; if only it had gone in. After that, Hydel visited Campion College and were denied a goal thanks to a heroic save, not from the keeper, but rather, from Leon McDonald, who was given a straight red card for his handball infringement. This Luis Suarez-esque stunt helped Campion gain their first point of the season as they drew 0-0.
St. Catherine High school came to Campion in the rain and the weather must have been a signal of things to come as the goals came pouring in. Craig Watson scored the first two goals of the match with finesse and impressive acrobatic celebrations that made the crowd go crazy. An own goal allowed St. Catherine to get their name on the score sheet but their celebrations were short-lived as Lancelot Williams slotted a goal to make it 3-1, after which Brian Barrett scored twice to end the game at 5-1, all goals courtesy of Campion.
Eltham would return to Campion and, despite a goal from Craig Watson, we still lost 2-1 in a valiant battle. The Eltham coach would later go on to comment that Campion ended up being their hardest opponents yet. Then came the match against Jonathon Grant at home. 7 red cards were brandished with 4 of them going to Campion. The controversial game ended in a 2-1 loss to Campion, Javaunne Johnson scoring the only Campion goal. Two disappointing games followed after with a 2-0 loss to Tarrant and a 0-0 draw with Hydel.
Tarrant’s return was a lot more positive. A good performance was put on and goals from Steffan Marshall and Charles Brown. This was followed by a 1-0 victory against St. Catherine with yet another goal from Craig Watson. The final match ended as a 1-0 loss to Kingston College but a good performance allowed Campion to sign off the season with dignity.
Though we did not make it to the next round there were a lot of positives to be taken from the season. The performance of youngsters Craig Watson and Brian Barrett serve as good signs for the future. On this note, on next year’s squad we still have quality players such as Nicholas Nelson, Dennis Chung, Nicholas Parsons, Stafford Marshall, Shavoni Barnett, Christopher Francis, Aundre Roberts, Carrington Delahaye and Joshua Campbell. With a squad of this depth and strength the sky is the limit for next season. Already players are being recognized for their talents, including David Mitchell, who has been recognized by national officials, and Steffan Marshall, who has been approached by local scouts to play for Harbour View.