Last season’s champions, Arnett were knocked out of the race for the national league last Sunday when they drew 2-2 with Montego Bay United in the return-leg semi-final (they had lost the first leg 1-2), while Waterhouse struggled throughout that league and were saved from relegation on the final match day of the season. Now, the teams are ready to continue their long-time rivalry. Also, each team has won the title five times apiece and the winner would move one title behind the team to have won the most, Harbour View FC, with seven titles. Coach of defending champions, Waterhouse Anthony Patrick said his team is looking forward to ending the season on a high. “The team and community are optimistic. After a break, we returned to training last week. We are short on a few players for different reasons. However, the other players are upbeat,” said Patrick, who was in charge when the team won last season. Waterhouse’s self-proclaimed saviour, Jermain ‘Tuffy’ Anderson, Andre Leslie and Kenroy Howell are expected to lead the attack in their quest to retain the title. Meanwhile, Arnett will be coming with the same intention of finishing the season with silverware. “The motivation is always a factor after faltering in the Premier League,” Arnett’s long-serving coach Jerome ‘Jerry’ Waite told The Sunday Gleaner. “We know the importance of winning this trophy in memory of Jackie Bell. The physical condition is there, so we will continue to work on the mental aspect,” he said. Arnett will look to captain Oneil ‘Bigga’ Thompson, Ranike Anderson, Kemal Malcolm, Vishinul Harris, among others, to capture the title for the sixth time. Winthorpe ‘Jackie’ Bell died along with his close friend, Dennis Ziadie, in Mexico City while attending the FIFA World Cup Finals in June 1986. Bell was president and coach of Santos FC at the time. He was also a former national player. Relegation Defending champions Waterhouse and Arnett Gardens will battle today in the teams’ last chance at silverware this season in the Locker Room-Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Jackie Bell Knockout football final at Sabina Park in Kingston, starting at 4 p.m. Both teams will look to make up for disappointment in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) by finishing the 2015-16 local football season on a high. The winning trophy apart, the teams will fight for the top cash incentive of $400,000 and, of course, bragging rights in the Corporate Area’s premier knockout competition. For the losers, the second place prize is $250,000. Third and fourth-place teams will earn $150,000 and $100,000, respectively.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, (CMC):Opener Kraigg Brathwaite has ended 2016 as the West Indies’ highest-ranked batsman in Tests.The 24-year-old opener was 20th in the latest International Cricket Council rankings released on December 31, with fast bowler Kemar Roach, the highest-placed bowler at 28th in the rankings.Brathwaite tallied 613 runs in eight Tests last year, averaging 55 and scoring one century – a magnificent unbeaten 142 in the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah last October, which West Indies won by five wickets.The Barbadian also scored 60 not out in the second innings to become the first opener to finish unbeaten in both innings of a Test.Left-hander Darren Bravo, currently in a stand-off with the West Indies Cricket Board after being sent home from the tour of Zimbabwe for disciplinary reasons, is the next highest-ranked Windies player at 30th, with Jermaine Blackwood lying 46th and veteran right-hander Marlon Samuels, 49th.Roach, meanwhile, has remained in the top 30 of the bowlers’ rankings despite having played just one Test in the last 12 months.BACK IN ACTIONThe right-armer has struggled with injury and loss of form, but recently returned to action for Barbados Pride in the West Indies first-class competition, and has taken 12 wickets in five outings.Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, meanwhile, is ranked 29th after taking 23 wickets in six Tests last year, including a career-best eight for 49 against Pakistan in the day or night first Test in Dubai last October.Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, with 14 wickets in seven Tests last year, lies 40th, while captain and seamer Jason Holder is 50th.Australia captain Steve Smith starts 2017 in the same position he did last year – on top of the rankings – while India off-spinner Ravi Ashwin leads the bowling.In the One-Day International (ODI) rankings updated on New Year’s Day, Samuels was the highest-ranked West Indies batsman at 28th despite opting out of the Tri-Nations Series last November involving hosts Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.Bravo is the only other batsman in the top 50 at 47th.In the ODI bowlers’ rankings, wily off-spinner Sunil Narine lies third, with Holder in at 16th. They are the only two West Indies players in the top 40.South Africa’s AB de Villiers sits on top the batting while New Zealander Trent Boult holds the number one slot in the bowling.