After a three week delay to sort out some financial matters arising from last season, the 2017/18 Red Stripe Premier League is set to kick off on Sunday with four games. While champions Arnett Gardens will be out of action until Monday night, the clash between UWI FC and Waterhouse at the UWI Bowl will take centrestage on the opening afternoon.
Since entering the league in the 2015/16 season, the UWI have gotten the better of Waterhouse in at least five of their 9 meetings. During that period the University-based team has been in the top half of the league while former two time winners Waterhouse struggled in the lower half. UWI also challenged for major honours last season while Waterhouse flirted for the most part with relegation.
2016/17 third place finishers Humble Lion will be in Kingston for their opening encounter against Boys' Town. Humble Lion ended atop the league after the three rounds but for the ‘Red Brigade’, the season was a battle to stay in the league.
Although they were in the relegation fight, Boys' Town produced the season's top young player in Shamar Nicholson who scored 15 goals. However, they will be without his services this season after he gained a professional contract in Slovenia.
Another of last season's top campaigners, Tivoli Gardens will make the long trip to Frome in Westmoreland to face FC Reno. Five time national champions Tivoli Gardens who finished sixth last season, has this year's championship title on their mind and will be hunting maximum points.
The day's final match will see Harbour View playing host to 2016 champions Montego Bay United at the Compound.
While Mo Bay fell at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Arnett Gardens, Harbour View were for the most part swimming just ahead of the teams who battled to stay alive. With the ‘Stars of the East’ rebuilding and the western standard-bearers losing a few players, this contest is expected to be close. Kick-off time for all games is 3:30 pm except at the compound where that game will start at 7:00 pm.
On Monday the double header at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex will see the returning Cavalier facing Portmore United at 5:45 while Arnett Gardens oppose newcomers Sandals South Coast at 8:45.