GT&T FastBall reaches quarterfinal stage
By Franklin Wilson
Rivalry has almost reached a high point in the inaugural GT&T FastBall Football knock-out competition with the final eight (8) teams set to tangle in the quarterfinals this evening at the GFC Ground, Bourda.
Almost two months ago, over 200 teams were in the reckoning for the top prize of One Million dollars, now, most of the pretenders have been axed along the way and it is now down to the final 8 teams vying for a place in the semifinals and subsequent final, all to be played on Sunday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
The quarterfinal line-up tonight will see Adam’s Rockers coming up against West Demerara United; Western Tigers A match skills with Pioneers; Pele Gold face off with West Front Road and Amelia’s Ward A match skills with fellow Linden side, Bakewell Topp XX.
In the final four round-of-16 matches contested at the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground on Wednesday evening, fans were treated to some riveting and nerve racking action, a cliffhanger between Bakewell Topp XX and BV Triumph United that had to be decided by sudden death penalty kicks bringing an end to an unforgettable round.
Other teams winning on the night that saw all three East Coast teams being eliminated and Linden teams winning all four encounters, Adam’s Rockers needled a tough Daddy’s Enterprise; Pioneers thumped Golden Stars and Amelia’s Ward A also winning by a 1-0 margin over Castello Skeemers of the City.
BV Triumph United (BVTU) almost sneaked through to the quarters after holding Topp XX to a 2-2 stalemate at the end of regulation time, the blue ball again being the saviour of the night. Keon Sear had given Topp XX the lead with his 14th minute goal in the first half of an intense battle as the home crowd with a few BVTU fans in the mix doing their best to urge their sides on.
Topp XX, despite losing the services of two of their main players – Collie Hercules and Kayode McKinnon – is still regarded as one of the favourite teams to win, were sailing through almost comfortably but the blue ball has been proven ever so often in the tournament so far, came into play once again.
Topp XX almost put paid to their chance of advancing owing to some poor marking and judgment. They were almost reckless in their play and found themselves in foul trouble in the final three minutes which resulted in BVTU being awarded a 6 second penalty which Nikel Fraser scored with ease, beating goalkeeper Carlos Browne with one minute to full time.
It was a deserved lifeline and reward for some excellent and penetrative football by BV. It was now down to sudden death penalty kicks to decide the winner and after the first two kicks it was still a tied affair.
The pressure was increasing on the players and with the opposing Captains picking the kickers it was now Jumane Summerset’s turn to keep BV in the hunt. His concentration and nerves snapped which resulted in him putting the ball outside the right upright. The experienced Quacy Johnson was the preferred kicker for the BV Captain and he sent goalkeeper Linden Johnson the wrong way as his shot rocked the nets.
This sparked a mini invasion of the field as the Topp XX supporters who were otherwise quiet stormed the field to congratulate the players for easing the tension by coming out victorious.
It was another veteran player that saw Amelia’s Ward to their win over Castello Skeemers.
Travis Waterton, regarded as one the best kickers at close or long range, scored the winner for the Warders in the 5th minute.
Gavin Daw was the player who fed Waterton with the ball just outside the 18 yard area and with a first touch snap shot Waterton had the ball settling at eh back of the nets. The Skeemers never looked as potent as they were in their previous game when they eliminated West Side All Starz.
Pioneers were in dismissive mood in their clash against Golden Stars winning 3-0. Randy Small (7), Renie Gibson (23) and Lindy Johnson in the 27th minute hitting the network for Pioneers.
The evening’s opening encounter produced another fierce tussle with Daddy’s Enterprise losing the war 1-0 to Adams Rockers.
Colwin David produced the winning goal in the 2nd minute for the Rockers but Daddy’s Enterprise have only themselves to blame as they had the opportunity to take the lead in the closing stages of the first half with the blue ball.
They were rewarded with a 6 second penalty and their most experienced player, Les Charles Critchlow was given the chance to take the shot but miraculously the ball ended up almost at the corner flag rather than at the back of the nets which left his fellow teammates and fans wondering how ball ended up where it did. It was a miss that they never got the chance to correct as the game ended with the scores unchanged.
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