The Hikers Hockey team sent a strong signal to all challengers as they continued their unbeaten run throughout the men’s first division competition of the GT&T National Indoor Hockey Championships with a 6-5 defeat of second placed Cadets.
With last year’s finalists, GCC and Old Fort struggling to find form, it was the clash between pool leaders Hikers and their junior counterparts the Cadets which took center stage in the matches on Wednesday evening as the two sides battled to an exhaustive climax with the winning goal coming in the absolute final minute of play.
Hikers Captain Robert France was the star of the show as the tireless striker poured in 4 goals including the final match-winning effort that sealed the narrowest of victories for his side. Aroydy Branford of the Cadets came in for high acclaim also with 4 goals of his own and almost did enough to foil the efforts of the Hikers.
After opening their account in the 7th minute, the Cadets seemed destined for victory as they regained the lead each time the Hikers managed to draw even throughout the first half.
The Hikers, however, proved the better finishers on the night as France’s swift counter-attacking goal seconds, before the final horn took his team’s tally to an unmatched 6 which included four goals from France and one each from penalty corner specialist Shane Samuels and Travon Younge.
Hilton Chester added a single to the Cadets total which grew to 5, including the four goals from Branford.
GCC and Old Fort played to a lackluster 2-2 draw in the other men’s first division tie of the evening. With both teams missing key players in Aderemi Simon and Dwayne Scott, the match seemed to be a good opportunity for either side to take.
Old Fort’s Tony Cole steered a deceptive pass into the GCC goal after fifteen minutes and GCC had to wait until six minutes into the second half to draw even through Steven Xavier. Old Fort pulled ahead once more through overlapping defender Dwight Sullivan only to be tied by a neat deflection on the far post by GCC’s Raphael DeGroot to end the match at 2-2.
In ladies competition, the GCC Tigers brushed aside Revelation 6-0 in a one-sided affair that saw Captain Sonia Jardine and national left back Trisha Woodroffe scoring a double each. Kerensa Fernandes and Shebiki Baptiste each added a goal to round out the GCC total of six.
The Hikers Divas hardly broke a sweat as they cruised to an 11-0 victory over new-comers Old Fort Heat. National striker Cora Towler and Captain Marisha Rodrigues each scored hat-tricks for the Divas, while Avonda James netted a double and Kenesha Wills, Amanda Garnett and Latoya Fordyce scored one each.
The Hickers, the veteran representatives of the Hikers, had mixed results on the evening as the battled both Old Old Fort and GCC vets. In their early match against Old Old Fort, the Hickers managed to pull off an exciting 8-5 victory with former junior national James Munroe normally known for his defensive prowess, surprising the opposition with a hat-trick of goals in the first five minutes of play. The Hickers scored three more goals through Sheldon Corlette and Robert Fernandes with a double to secure a comfortable margin, before Old Old Fort finally got off the ground.
Dwayne Allen opened the Old Old Fort account with a double, while Sonia Gordon, Ivor Thompson and Dexter Wyles scored one goal each to complete their total. The Hickers, however, with closing goals from Devin Munroe and Sheldon Corlette emerged with the 8-5 victory.
The Hickers found the going much tougher when they returned later in the evening to face the GCC vets. Philip Fernandes continued his fine goal-scoring form with 4 goals in the match including a deft deflection past the advancing goalkeeper and Brother Alan added one more to complete GCC’s five goal total.
Devin Munroe managed to pull one back for the Hickers in the dying minutes but failed to make much of an impact to the outcome as GCC secured the easy 5-1 victory. Matches continue this evening from 17:30hrs at the National Gymnasium until Sunday when the finals will be contested from 16:00 hours.
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