Teams produce dazzling performances on final day
Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival
When the curtains came down on Sunday evening in this year’s Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival, most of those present were unanimous in their pronouncement that the tournament was one of the best witnessed since its start.
Throughout the four days of competition, fans were treated to some fine exhibition of skilful hockey and some thrilling matches that complimented the newly laid surface at the National Gymnasium.
In the Men’s final, beaten finalist at the last Festival Old Fort eventually seized the opportunity to grab the top prize after registering an impressive 2-1 win over a determined GCC unit that had earlier eliminated defending champions Hikers 5-4 in an exhilarating clash, while Old Fort beat Malvern of Trinidad and Tobago 6-4 to setup the mouth watering encounter.
Old Fort started the clash on the offensive and took the lead in the 5th minute when Askofu Simon collected a pinpoint pass from Jason Dos Santos and in one sweeping move hammered a powerful strike past goalkeeper Michael Xavier.
Old Fort’s John Abrahams nearly stretched their advantage after diving full length to hit in a pass from the right side, but Xavier was equal to the task, making a brilliant save to deny Abrahams.
However, GCC, always a difficult team to beat managed to get the equaliser through the speedy Kevin Spencer, who received a pass inside the circle and clinically dispatched it into the roof of the net, giving goalkeeper Tony Cole no chance of saving.
The teams remained deadlocked a 1-1 at the break.
On the resumption, Old Fort had another solid opportunity to go ahead, but Aderemi Simon’s powerful strike was met by a brilliant save from Xavier.
Xavier was called in to action shortly after when Askofu Simon effort from close range produced another wonderful save from Xavier.
With the fans on their feet and clearly enjoying the frenetic battle between the two finalists, Cole was not spared as well as he too had to make two important stops back-to-back to keep the contest level.
Askofu Simon once again tested Xavier, but a brilliant one-handed parry denied him a goal.
Shortly after, Askofu was fouled and a penalty was awarded and his brother Aderemi stepped up and buried a shot past the outstretched hands of Xavier.
GCC, though, never relented with Orland Semple, Shaka Gill, Spencer and young Steven Xavier creating havoc for the Old Fort defence, but the backline marshalled by Dwight Sullivan, Simon and Jonathan Roberts held firm, before the final whistle sounded.
In the Ladies final, the ever improving young brigade of Flora GCC played a pivotal role in their 4-0 demolition of Malvern.
Trisha Woodroffe netted a brace, while Kerensa Fernandes and Gabriella Xavier added the other two goals.
Fatima of T&T was in an equally destructive mood in their clash against Old Old Fort who they hammered 6-1.
During the presentation ceremony, a number of players were presented with prizes for outstanding performances.
MVP – Jonathan Roberts (Old Fort)
Best Goalkeeper – Anthony Cole (Old Fort)
Most goals scored – Robert France (Hikers)
MVP – Marzana Fiedtkou (GCC)
Best Goalkeeper – Alysa Xavier (GCC)
Most goals scored – Trisha Woodroffe (GCC)
MVP – Nicholas Wren (Fatima)
Best Goalkeeper – Hayden Francois (Fatima)
Most goals scored – Alan Fernandes (GCC)