By Franklin Wilson
The second annual Cellink Premier League Championship ended in classical style on Sunday evening when defending champions Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United retained the title with a better goal difference after ending on the same amount of points as Sunburst Camptown.
Both teams ended on 30 points but Alpha ended with a goal difference of 24 to Camptown’s 13 to retain the championship and extended their winning streak to three consecutive years, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Alpha, despite losing their final game to Fruta Conquerors 1-0 did enough in the earlier rounds to secure victory overall.
Sunburst Camptown came from behind to nail the Guyana Defence Force 2-1, teenage goalkeeper turn striker Richie Richards pulling off a big win for his team in perhaps the biggest match in his budding career as he blasted the winning double after giving up the first goal between the uprights.
In the day’s first match, Santos hammered Uprising 5-1, Jermaine Fraser leading with a double (56 & 67), Trevor Lewis in the 69th, Chris Camacho (38) and Laurex Fraser in the 9th all adding their names to the score sheets.
Both teams though, are headed for the division one ranks having finished 7th and 8th of the eight teams.
The Army / Camptown clash saw the latter under tremendous pressure from the Army in the opening half as shots to goal rained in from all directions.
Stellon David put the Soldiers ahead in the 32nd minute, the ball going straight to the hands of Richards who did not take cleanly and the ball slipped through his fingers and into the nets.
The lapse by Richards prompted head coach Troy Mendonca to take him out from goalkeeper duties and put him in the outfield.
Maurice Prince replaced him between the uprights and as it turned out, it was a master stroke as no one perhaps even Mendonca did not prepare their minds for what was to come from Richards as he showed his versatility.
After the half time, it was a different ball game as the Campbellville boys returned to their usual self proceeding to dominate proceedings.
Their most experienced player Troy ‘Bugs’ Prescod was beginning to become more visible as he controlled action from the engine room (midfield).
Richards drew the team’s level in the 62nd minute with a powerful shot past Keith Fraser in goal for the GDF. Prior to the equalizer, Fraser was enjoying a fine game pulling off a massive save from a powerfully struck free kick by Prescod, pulling down the ball confidently with both hands.
But he hadn’t a sniffer of a chance with the shot from Richards that sent his teammates and supporters into frenzy. But the best was yet to come.
As time ticked away, it seemed that the teams were content to settle for an equal share of the points but Richards entertained different ideas.
Camptown forced a corner in the dying moments of regulation time, the 90th minute to be precise. Prescod took the kick and found the head of Richards at last post and he made no mistake as the ball was guided into the back of the nets. Even the five GDF defenders including goalkeeper Fraser could not stop the match winner.
The League’s final match saw a resurgent Fruta Conquerors stunning the Champs by the lone goal of the match, compliments of Theon Carr in the 27th minute.
Alpha’s danger man, Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams was kept quiet all night as were Andrew Murray and Elton Brown. Conqueror’s captain Neville ‘Ted’ Stanton stood tall in central defence despite some good build ups by Alpha but they were not effective at all in the attacking third.
The loss though, did not affect their victory bid, kudos are in order for the champs and sponsors Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company. Marketing Executive Wyston Robertson and Marketing Officer Rhonda Johnson were both on hand to witness the action.
Robinson in a symbolic presentation handed over the locally carved wooden championship trophy to Alpha’s captain Leon Grumble.
Georgetown Football Association President and Secretary, Troy Mendonca and Marlan Cole were also present. The date for the presentation and prize giving ceremony will be announced shortly.
Final Cellink Premier League (2008) points standings.
Teams Played Won Draw Loss GF GA GD Points Pos
Alpha 14 9 3 2 32 8 24 30 1st
Camptown 14 9 3 2 26 13 13 30 2nd
GDF 14 9 2 3 39 11 28 29 3rd
Conquerors 14 5 4 5 19 16 3 19 4th
GFC 14 5 3 6 8 18 -10 18 5th
Pele 14 3 4 7 16 17 -1 13 6th
Santos 14 1 7 6 13 25 -12 10 7th
Uprising 14 0 4 10 9 51 -42 4 8th
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