The Guyana junior national men’s team was given a reminder of who the top hockey playing nation in the Caribbean is when they went down to Trinidad and Tobago 4-1 in the final game of their developmental tour.
The Trinidadians started the game at a much faster tempo than they did in the first match and were rewarded with an early goal when star striker Tariq Marcano latched onto a loose ball at the top of the D and unleashed a powerful reverse shot to the bottom left of the goal. Guyana weathered the early storm well and counterattacked at pace to create several goal scoring opportunities that went abegging. The first quarter ended at 1-0 and Guyana continued to penetrate the Trinidadian scoring area in the second quarter but were not converting their chances. Trinidad made them pay for their lack of finishing by scoring off of two penalty corners 21st and 26th minutes, through Jordon Reynos and Marcano respectively to go into half time up 3-0.
Guyana came out strong in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts with several penalty corners, which again were not converted and the third quarter ended without any further goals being scored. Facing their first defeat of the tour, the Guyanese upped the pace even more in the fourth quarter and were awarded a penalty stroke when their star striker Aroydy Branford was fouled by the Trinidadian goalkeeper in the scoring area. Branford stepped up and calmly dispatched the ball into the goal and the hunt was now on.
Attack after attack was turned back by a strong T&T defence, Branford was unfortunate not to score his second when one of his shots rebounded off of the crossbar. With Guyana now pressing high up field Trinidad was able to counterattack off of every turnover and were awarded a penalty corner on the stroke of full time, which was covered by Marcano to complete his hat-trick.
Although the defeat was a disappointment to the players who had won their previous three matches on the tour, the coaching staff was pleased with their overall performance and the fact that they were able to match skills with one of the best hockey playing nations in the Caribbean. Their performance was even more impressive considering the fact that Guyana does not possess an artificial turf on which to train and play.
This developmental tour was just the first step in a two year preparation programme designed to expose the team to a series of high level competitions as they prepare for the junior Pan American cup in Toronto, Canada scheduled for June of 2016.
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