By Rawle Welch
It is an observable fact that the Guinness ‘Greatest of de Streets’ unrivalled popularity
has not been restricted to the community of its birth, Georgetown.
The huge crowd that descended at the Berbice River Stelling Tarmac on Sunday evening to witness the conclusion of three days of exciting action provided irrefutable evidence of the event’s attractiveness to fans wherever it is held.
In the end which came in the early hours of Monday morning, Manchester outlasted Unruly Gang in sudden death penalty kicks after regulation and extra times and normal penalty shootout failed to separate the two teams following a pulsating game.
Earlier, Manchester edged East Bank Gunners 1-0 with Carlos Mingo being the hero, rifling in the loge goal of the game, while Unruly Gang beat New Amsterdam Kings 1-0 in a penalty shootout after the teams remained deadlocked at 1-1 when regulation time ended.
In the playoff for third place, Stephen Boucher’s solitary strike gave NA Kings a 1-0 triumph over East Bank Gunners to grab the $100,000 prize, thereby relegating their opponents to the $50,000 accolade.
In the highly anticipated final, Manchester were lucky not to concede the top prize in
regulation time as Unruly Gang peppered their goal area with some thunderous shots some of which crashed on to the crossbar or uprights or went agonizingly close to finding the back of the goal.
Credit must be given to Manchester though as they never seemed fazed by the near misses and orchestrated some incursions of their own, but were thwarted by solid defending on the part of Unruly Gang.
The losers technical staff, however, must take some of the blame for their loss as they left their most potent striker in Devon James on the bench for almost the entire opening period, bringing him on seconds before the whistle for the half sounded.
However, they still dominated possession for a major part of the final period, but luck seemed not to be in their corner as threatening buildups culminated with the shots hitting the woodwork or landing just wide of the intended target.
Manchester managed to cling on tenaciously to send the game into extra time and they duplicated that characteristic during that period as well.
The next option was the penalty shootout and just like the game that segment had the fans screaming with excitement as the players efforts either knocked the uprights or landed just outside it.
The penalty shootout once again failed to produce a winner and sudden death was the next option and after a few misses, Manchester managed to score on their attempt to send their gathering of supporters into celebratory frenzy.
However, Unruly Gang’s consolation was the fact that, like Manchester, they have won the right to represent Berbice in the national playoffs set for early June.
They took home $300,000 and the winning trophy, while Unruly Gang went away with $150,000 and a trophy.
Among those witnessing the final were Guinness Brand Manager Lee Baptiste, Outdoor Events Manager Gavin Jodhan, Communications Manager Troy Peters and representatives of the Banks DIH Berbice Branch.
The phenomenon now goes to Linden with tomorrow set to be the commencement of competition.
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