GCC opened the tenth annual Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival
with big wins in the men’s and women’s division as the festival commenced last Thursday evening at the national gymnasium. The Hikers drew the first win over GCC in a repeat of last year’s veterans final while the cliff-hanger of the evening was the thrilling men’s division duel between Old Fort and the National Under-19s which ended at 4-4 through an equalising goal in the final minute.
The national Under-19s were up 3-0 by half time in their men’s division clash against Old Fort with the latter seeming to fade as the game slipped away from their grasp. The second half would produce the most surprising twenty minutes of hockey that anyone could expect. Six minutes into the second half, Aroydy Branford earned a penalty stroke and scored a fourth goal for the Under-19 who by now seemed well on their way to an easy victory. With the match wearing down and possession being shared by both sides there seemed to be very little that could be achieved in the final four minutes to change the outcome but Old Fort saved the best for last.
A penalty stroke by Omar Hopkinson four minutes from full time seemed to inject the Old Fort side with a shot of adrenaline as they managed their second just one minute later through speedy overlapping defender Aderemi Simon.
The floor seemed consumed with red as the red jerseys of Old Fort seemed to be everywhere at the same time with the rejuvenated side coming alive and pressing for further success. Left wing Jason Dosantos
entered the scoring circle on the left, weaved past two defenders and slotted home the team’s third in the penultimate minute. The inexperienced Under-19s struggled to overcome their shock as the clock ran down and a threatening Old Fort loomed in front of them. In the final minute of play, Aderemi Simon raced down the right side of the court, drawing the deep defence and threading a pass to a waiting Jason DoSantos on the far post. DoSantos’ sweeping finish sent the gymnasium into an uproar as Old Fort evened the score with seconds remaining and managing to draw the match at 4-4.
Despite a skilful solo run and score from Dwight McCalman and another from Captain Peter Jones, the Renegades suffered the biggest defeat of the evening, a 2-12 loss, in their men’s division clash with GCC. Orland Semple and Kevin Spencer scored four goals each for the victors while Stephen Xavier and Rafael DeGroot both scored doubles. The final men’s division matchup of the night saw National champions the Pepsi Hikers crush Saints by 6-2.
The anticipated clash between arch-rivals the GCC Tigers and the Hikers never materialised as the Tigers mauled their opponents from the opening whistle ending with a comfortable 7-1 victory. Kerensa Fernandes and Sonia Jardine with doubles and Ashley DeGroot Shebiki Baptiste and Lanica Persaud all got on the score sheet for the Tigers. The biggest reaction however came from the first-time
goal from newcomer Persaud and a skilful solo run from Maria Munroe that produced the lone goal for the Hikers.
Spice looked in impressive form in the other ladies matchup of the evening as they demolished the Old Fort Shooting Stars by 10 – 1. The Stars had no solution for national striker Aliyah Gordon who stormed her way to an unmatched 7 goals, while teammates Tricia Fiedtkou with a double and Vanessa Pires with a single rounded off their tally. Owinter Henry managed the lone goal against the run of play for the Stars.
The lone veteran’s match of the evening featured the Hickers and GCC, the two sides who faced off both in last year’s final and this year’s national indoor championships final. The game produced outstanding goalkeeper from both Azad DAbreu for the Hickers and Rawl Davson for GCC which kept it to a much lower score in the end than was expected. National midfielder Devin Munroe smashed in two for the Hickers in first half of play and GCC’s Devin Hooper managed tom pull one back in the second half but could not close the gap before full time.
The festival continues with games scheduled from 11am to 9pm today and from 10:30am to 7:00pm tomorrow with a presentation afterwards.
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