-GCC Ladies battle for crown
GCC “A” men’s team produced a stunning performance to defeat tournament favourites Hikers ‘A’ 5-4 and advance to the final of the First Division as play in the Mr. Toppers Indoor Hockey Competition continued Wednesday evening, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Needing a win against the previously unbeaten Hikers ‘A’ unit to keep their chances of making it to the gold medal round alive, the Bourda Boys who trailed for almost the entire duration of the contest took the lead shortly before the final whistle sounded and held it until the end to set up what is anticipated to be a fascinating return clash for the title tonight.
Earlier in the evening, the young GCC Spartans upstaged their seniors (Tigers) 1-0 to clinch their place in the ladies final. Dominique DeGroot continued her good run, netting the lone goal of the match.
Carib Degenerates steamrolled ‘B’ division minnows Old Fort 8-2 to further confirm their billing as favourites in the men’s ‘B’ division final against Hikers. Rawl Davson led Degenerates’ goal-raid with a hat-trick which was supported by pairs from Timothy Jonas and Marcus Fiedtkou and one from Tristan Gomes. Collis Allen and Clarence Edwards were the scorers for Old Fort.
The men’s national team, duelling for a spot in the ‘A’ Division final failed in their bid against Old Fort ‘A’ as their encounter finished in a 4-4 draw.
With Old Fort noticeably missing the services of the Simon brothers, it was up to the in-form John Abrahams who led his team to a creditable come from behind draw. Abrahams netted the final two goals in the 31st and 40th minutes of the match to follow goals from team-mates Jason DeSantos and Dwayne Alleyne in the 11th and 26th minutes respectively. Jerry Bell netted a double for the nationals, while Shane Samuels and Devin Munroe added one each.
In another fixture in the same category, GCC ‘B’ hammered Western Dragons ‘A’ 5-1 through a double off the stick of Eric Hing and single strikes from Rafael DeGroot, Stuart Gonsalves and Andrew Xavier. Donwes Austin was the lone scorer for the Dragons.
The feature clash between the GCC ‘A’ and Hikers ‘A’ division men lived up to its hype as the two teams produced what many termed the best match of the tournament to date as fans witnessed some exhilarating attacks and top class goals.
Hikers, as usual pressed from the opening whistle, but GCC were able to produce several penetrating counter-attacks, one of which resulted in a Kevin Spencer goal after just three minutes of play.
It came off a rebound following a fine save by goalkeeper Azad DeAbreu off an initial shot from Spencer, who was lucky to see the ball fall right back into his path.
Hikers marksman Jerazeno “Skillaxe” Bell drew his side level in the 9th minute after chasing down a lose ball and catching the GCC defenders off guard. He added a second in less than a minute later with a pin point accurate shot in the left corner that flew past goalie Shad Fernandes.
Gaining confidence from their lead, Hikers controlled the tempo of the game, while GCC fought desperately to regain their footing. Shane Samuels then added a third for the Hikers for a 3-1 advantage and GCC ‘A’ chances of making it to the final looking more and more bleak.
However, Devin Hooper and Orland Semple found themselves at the end of some quick penetrating passes and netted a pair of beauties to restore parity.
The ever lurking Robert France, who always seemed to be very deep in the opposition’s defence, regained the ascendancy for Hikers with a timely goal, slotting a pinpoint pass into an empty net with the advancing Fernandes well beaten for a 4-3 half time lead.
The second half produced more exciting hockey as Spencer pulled GCC level four minutes into the stanza with a well paced shot.
Hikers then earned a penalty stroke five minutes from full time, and who else was assigned the responsibility but Bell, but this time goalkeeper Shad Fernandes, known more for his football exploits, executed a superb save, stretching to his right to parry the ball and deny Bell. It was the sort of unexpected result that give opposing teams confidence and it did for GCC ‘A’.
With the fans at the edge of their seats and buoyed by the preceding play, Semple, who was displaying the silky skills that has earned him the reputation of being a dangerous player in the circle, pounced on a pass from the right and slammed a powerful shot past DeAbreu’s left shoulder to pull off a well-deserved win for GCC.
The final pool standings leave Hikers ‘A’ to face GCC ‘A’ in the men’s ‘A’ division final. The nationals have secured the third spot with GCC ‘B’ fourth, Old Fort ‘A’ fifth and the Western Dragons rounding out the table.
The ladies pool find GCC Tigers in the top spot to oppose the second placed GCC Spartans in an all-GCC final with the Hikers sitting in third and the Piranhas fourth.
The men’s ‘B’ division will be decided between kings of the table Carib Degenerates and Hikers ‘B’, while Western Dragons and Old Fort ‘B’ rest in the third and fourth spots respectively.
The final round of matches is set for today from 18:00hrs.
Old Fort ‘A’ & Western Dragons (5th & 6th) 18:00
Western dragons & Old Fort ‘B’ (3rd & 4th) 18:45
Hikers & Piranhas (3rd & 4th) Ladies 19:30
Nationals & GCC ‘B’ (3rd & 4th) Men’s 1st div 20:15
2nd Division final – Carib Degenerates & Hikers ‘B 21:00
Ladies final – GCC Tigers & GCC Spartans Ladies 22:00
Men’s final – Hikers ‘A’ & GCC ‘A’ Men’s 1st div 23:00
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