GCC Tigers ‘pip’ GCC Spice 2-1 in ladies final
By Sean Devers
Watched by a fair size and very vocal gathering, the GT&T National Indoor
Championships climaxed with four pulsating Finals at a poorly lit National gymnasium on Sunday night.
It did not matter to Pepsi Hikers Jamarj ‘Lamborghini’ Assanah that only 14 of the 50 lights were working and that the venue had inadequate ventilation. The fast rising local Hockey star shone as bright as the Men’s first division Championship trophy with an exhilarating display of speed and skill in the Men’s final as the curtains came down on what was a highly successful one-week tournament.
The under-19 nationals delivered a highly entertaining quality of indoor hockey and justified their somewhat surprising place in the night’s feature game.
Assanah proved the balancing factor between the Pepsi Hikers and their teenage opponents and after a tentative opening with both teams playing conservatively as they assessed their options, the experienced Hikers eventually began to stretch the youthful under-19s leaving them vulnerable to be exploited by the Hikers speedy strike duo of Assanah and Captain Robert France.
It took 13 minutes to register the first goal when Assanah pounced on a loose ball and outpaced his opposition down the length of the court, evading the sliding goalkeeper to slide his shot into the open goal. The excited crowd would be treated to a carbon copy of this maneuver as three minutes later Assanah reproduced the identical move to take his team up by 2.
With the Pepsi Hikers enjoying a 2-0 lead at the break, Assanah punished the under-19s twice with a masterful display of high class Hockey to take his match tally to 4 goals. Down by 4-0, the
under-19s finally found some success of their own through skillful junior player Aroydy Branford, who led their recovery with two goals in the dying minutes from a penalty stroke and penalty corner respectively. Time would run out on the under-19s as their glint of hope came too late to overcome the Hikers, who claimed the 4-2 victory and the GT&T National Indoor trophy.
After the riveting final, President of the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) Phillip Fernandes expressed satisfaction with the quality of the under-19 Nationals and explained that in countries with small populations teams from those countries are more competitive in indoor Hockey because in indoor hockey less players make up a team than in field Hockey and it’s easier to find seven of your best players than 15.
Fernandes said the National under-19s have begun preparations for the 2016 Junior Pan American Cup in Toronto, Canada.
According to Fernandes, the squad is expected to be developed into a formidable force over the next two years, with their first assignment being a tour to Trinidad in December of this year to have their
first taste of the artificial surface.
During the four day tour, the team will train and compete against club teams from the twin island republic, in addition to playing against T&T’s National U-19 Development squad.
In the ladies final saw a more patient affair as Spice opted to adapt a more defensive strategy against the star-studded GCC Tigers. While this plan seemed to frustrate the Tigers in the early minutes, national center forward Kerensa Fernandes capitalized on a quick free push in the 13th minute just outside the Spice scoring circle. Fernandes weaved right with the ball before slipping it to overlapping left defender Tiffany Solomon who slammed home the opening goal.
Spice defended well, anchored by the tough and determined Vanessa Pires but their attacks failed to make an impact on the powerful Tigers defence. Seven minutes into the second half, with the Tigers enjoying the majority of possession, striker Sonia Jardine finally made the breakthrough as she cut between two defenders and sent a low shot to the goalkeeper’s left. With the scores even, it would take another seven minutes before the Tigers could regain the lead on a well-executed corner, this time Solomon being the provider for a Fernandes deflection finish. Spice piled on the pressure in the dying minutes, earning a plethora of penalty corners but brilliant goalkeeping by Briawna Gordon secured the trophy for the Tigers with a final score of 2-1.
The GCC vets made light work of Old Old Fort by beating them 7-3 in the Veterans final. GCC striker Philip Fernandes netted a double en route to a hat-trick before Old Old Fort could muster their first goal through a Dwayne Allen finish. Devin Hooper added a hat-trick of his own to the GCC tally and lone female in the match, Tricia Fiedtkou completed the GCC seven goal haul by finding the back of the net once. Midfielder Dexter Wyles made a desperate attempt at a comeback with a double before full time, but Old Old Fort were playing on tired legs and welcomed the final whistle with the game well beyond their reach.
GCC started off the night with their third title in the four competitions as they crushed Old Fort in the men’s second division competition. Despite a fine performance by goalkeeper Timothy Baker for Old Fort, Eric Hing registered a hat-trick for the victors while teammates Keon McKenzie and Steven Xavier added singles. Omar Hopkinson and Tony Cole scored Old Fort’s two goals.
Men’s First division
Pepsi Hikers defeated U19 Nationals 4–2
Goal scorers: Hikers – Jamarj Assanah 4. U19 – Aroydy Branford 2.
MVP – Jamarj Assanah
GCC Tigers defeated Spice 2–1
Goal scorers: GCC Tigers – Tiffany Solomon, Kerensa Fernandes. Spice – Sonia Jardine
MVP – Kerensa Fernandes
GCC defeated Old Old Fort7-3
Goal scorers: GCC – Philip Fernandes 3, Devin Hooper 3. Tricia Fiedtkou. Old Old Fort – Dexter Wyles 2, Dwayne Allen
MVP – John Abrams
Men’s second division:
GCC defeated Old Fort 5-2
Goal scorers: GCC – Eric Hing 3, Keon McKenzie, Steven Xavier. Old Fort – Omar Hopkinson, Tony Cole
MVP – Timothy Baker
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