Scholars need Elite form again

The Digicel Cup final is set to be a classic because two of Cayman’s most bitter rivals will square up on Ash Wednesday. 

All Scholars International games with Elite Sports Club are fiercely competitive and this one should be no exception on 13 February. Both West Bay finalists cruised through their second leg semi-final games.  

At the TE McField Annex on Sunday Elite drew with Cayman Athletic 2-2 and went through 6-2 on aggregate after a comfortable 4-0 first leg win.  

Athletic showed plenty of fighting qualities despite the big deficit and deservedly scored first through youngster Joshewa Frederick after 55 minutes. 

Elite hit back through Mark Boothe (72nd) and Jason Ebanks (76) before Athletic’s newcomer Darvin Watson equalised in the 82nd.  

Scholars International drew with George Town 0-0 in the first leg and things were still all square after the break in the second leg.  

Anxious for the killer goal, both sides pressed, but it was Scholars who found the net through Carson Fagan in the 54th minute.  

Nahun Rodriguez got his 11th of the season in the 71st to make him the Island’s top scorer and captain Oneil Taylor sealed the 3-0 victory in injury time.  

Greg Ebanks is technical director of Elite. He said: “Against Cayman Athletic I instilled in my players that we had the cushion and there was no need to venture off and take chances. 

“We had to be disciplined and there was an emphasis on playing conservatively. All credit to them, they still scored twice.  

“I have a number of injury worries and hope the players can regroup in time for the final. We are the Digicel Cup defending champs and it won’t be easy against Scholars who have beaten us twice already this season. 

“We lost 2-1 to them in the Community Cup and 1-0 in the league. We’ll need to do a lot of work to win. We’ll need better concentration, anticipate better and deny them opportunities.  

“We’re confident we’ll give them a good game. As long as football wins that’s all that matters.  

“A big thanks to Burger King, our sponsors, who have been very supportive. 

“In defence we’ve had great performances from Abijah Rivers and in midfield Jedd (Ebanks his son) works exceptionally hard and Rene Carter is very creative. Up front, Mark Ebanks and Hank Parchment have been scoring well.” 

Colin ‘Dougie’ Rowe steered Scholars to league and FA Cup victory last season as technical director.  

He said: “Games with George Town are always intense and this one was no exception. They came at us organised, as usual and with power to overcome us in midfield.  

“Towards the end adjustments needed to be made and when we did that the execution came in.  

“In training we are doing more physical and tactical work and it is paying off. 

“All the games we play we are confident even though teams come at us hard. There are no easy teams. Even Tigers gave us a hard time before we beat them.  

“Against Elite it’s going to be hard because they are the defending champions, but I see a lot of flaws in them. It should be another exciting, intense game. 

“Our outstanding players have been Nahun Rodriguez with his goals and Davey McLaughlin has been producing.” 

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