By Michael Benjamin
They have registered convincing victories over Charity and Sand Creek Secondary Schools in games played in the Rupununi last week and seemed set to advance to the semi-final stage but Annai Secondary School’s dream run to championship honours was cruelly disrupted when that team succumbed 3-2 to Bush Lot Secondary in a quarter finals encounter in the Digicel Schools’ Football Championship at the Burnham Park, New Amsterdam, Tuesday afternoon last.
Marlon Nicholson registered a brace for the winners in the 12th and 21st minutes with support from Adrian Pryce (66), while Annai staged a valiant comeback, albeit unsuccessfully, with goals off the boots of Shivraj Lall (80) and David Daniels (92).
Annai Secondary started out as the firm favourites but clever ball distribution skills demonstrated by Bush Lot Secondary School saw them surging ahead, compliments of a stiff jab from Nicholson, after he had performed a solo down the left flank.
Bush Lot aggressively defended the small lead, passing the ball around and kept the Annai strike duo of Lall and Garville Daniels working hard to equalize the situation. The latter player eventually broke through but his left foot shot lacked zip and was easily scooped up by the Bush Lot custodian.
Nicholson then came to life and after receiving a pass in his unmarked mid field position, sprinted to the goal even as the Annai custodian, Burthland Scipio, attempted to intercept. The astute Nicholson kept his cool and tucked the ball around the right side of the advancing Annai goalie sending his team up 2 nil, a lead his unit managed to retain up to the intermission despite several enterprising raids from Annai’s strike force.
Annai started the second session in an attacking mode but the Bush Lot lads maintained a tight defence and thwarted their efforts. David Daniels then shrewdly worked his way from among several of the opposition’s players and sprinted to the Bush Lot’s goal. He was met by an advancing goalie and forced into a premature kick that went down the right side of the goal.
With two goals in arrears, the Annai team seemed to be in despair with their key striker, Garville Daniels, failing to produce the magic that had seen him scoring a hat-trick and a helmet-trick in previous games.
While Garville Daniels was experiencing a lean period, his namesake, David, worked in tandem with Lotan Bartholomew and attacked Bush Lot’s goal but their goalie, Shane James, remained astute between the uprights with some marvellous saves that kept his team in front. Eulon Fraser almost extended that lead after singlehandedly taking on Annai’s defence team, but the latter group staunchly blocked his advances and forced him into an early kick that slid down the side of the goal. Adrian Price quickly corrected this anomaly when he trapped a corner kick and placed it around the Annai goalie to stretch the advantage to 3-0.
Lall continued to press on and his efforts eventually paid dividends after he successfully evaded the opposition’s defence and gently tucked in his team’s first success. Thereafter Bush Lot tightened their defence but failed to stop Daniel’s zipper, twelve minutes after his team’s first success, which flew past Bush Lot’s defence and goalie. Heartened, the Annai team was set to go for broke when the dreaded whistle sounded and sealed their fate.
Bush Lot Secondary will rest today but returns tomorrow afternoon for a tougher encounter against defending champions, Christianburg Secondary at the very Berbice venue that determines the first of two semi-final places to contest for championship honours.
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