Even before the two teams took to the Court, the fair-sized crowd anticipated
a riveting showdown between the two teams, defending champions Pepsi Hikers and the equally star-studded Queen’s Park of Trinidad and Tobago and they surely did not disappoint on the second day of this year’s Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival.
Fans were left awestruck with the players on both sides who showed exceptional skill and will that left many convinced that the eventual 5-5 outcome was a fitting conclusion to what was the most exciting game of the Festival to date.
Playing in the final game of the night, Queen’s Park made up of several national senior and Under-21 stars from the Twin Island Republic took just two minutes to underline their intentions when their Captain Daren Cowie, changed the game in the 5th minute with an opening goal to give his team the early ascendancy, but Hikers Captain Robert France responded in the 7th through a rebound off goalkeeper Reiza Hussein.
This exchange signaled the true nature of the match and Queen’s Park striker Jordan Vieira brought the crowd to its feet yet again with a deft spin to evade one defender, weave by another and slot home his shot in the far corner of the goal moments later.
Hikers, however, refused to lie down and France’ response was immediate when he deflected a Jamari Assanah pass from the left into the open goal behind the beaten Hussein. Vieira and Dominic Young managed to surge ahead with a pair of goals for Queen’s Park in the 13th and 14th minute respectively, before Randy Hope pulled the Hikers back within one from a penalty corner strike three minutes before halftime.
The second half produced fewer goals, but provided even more excitement as Aroydy Branford released one of his trademark lightning bolt penalty corner flicks into the Queen’s Park net in the 24th minute to tie the game for the third time at 4-4.
With the teams locked together, verbal bets were prevalent in the crowd as the match headed into the final minutes, showing no signs of a slowing pace. Vieira stunned the local crowd when he completed his hat-trick through a penalty corner in the 33rd minute to give his side what was surely expected to be the winning goal.
Once again, the champs showed their resilience and applied a full court press in the final minute of play for the equaliser and got it through their talisman Branford, who sent the crowd airborne with excitement with an exquisite goal seconds from the final buzzer to ensure that none of the teams went away with bragging rights, but evidently sets the stage for an alluring showdown should they meet again.
In the opening fixture of the night, the Pizza Hut GCC ladies long-standing win streak against the Woodpecker Hikers, spanning several years, came to an end following a 2-2 draw. Hikers’ guest player and T&T national Allana Lewis managed to tie the game in the final minute through a field goal.
The Pizza Hut ladies took the lead through striker Sonia Jardine in the 5th minute of play, before Maria Munroe drew the scores level at 1-1 in the 9th. Kerensa Fernandes then gave GCC its second lead of the match just before the half, but the lone goal in the second half by Lewis was enough to deny GCC full points.
Canadian ladies, the Toronto Toros, cruised to an easy 6-0 victory over Old Fort with Kaelen Watson and Jaslan Stirling scoring doubles and Angela Lancaster and Danica Jayme adding one each.
The Toros seemed unsettled in the opening minutes despite having the edge on Old Fort in possession, but as the match progressed, they tightened their grip and rallied off five unanswered second half goals after a first half that only produced one.
Bounty GCC men scored three early goals in their men’s clash against Carib Hockey Club of Trinidad. The Bourda side seemed to throttle back a bit too sharply as Carib managed two goals to reduce the deficit to one, before GCC stepped up their game with two more late goals for the 5-2 win.
Kevin Spencer was the leading marksman for GCC, netting 4 of their 5 goals, while Kareem McKenzie fired in the 5th. Dylan Francis and Kern Ramsammy were the goal scorers for Carib.
The two Carib veteran division matches of the evening saw Queen’s Park destroy Antonio’s Hickers 5-1, while Bal-Wash-Ers (comprising players from Baltimore and Washington in the USA) eased past Carib HC 5-3.
The Festival was set to continue yesterday afternoon and today with the finals to be played tomorrow from 16:00 hrs. The Festival is also being sponsored by Ansa McAl under its Carib Beer brand.
In the day’s full results: Category: Ladies – Pizza Hut GCC 2-2 Woodpecker Hikers.
Goal Scorers – (First Half) Sonia Jardine – 5th Minute, Field Goal (Pizza Hut GCC), Maria Munroe – 9th Minute, Field Goal (Woodpecker Hikers), Kerensa Fernandes – 19th Minute, Field Goal (Pizza Hut GCC). Second Half – Alana Lewis – 29th Minute, Field Goal (Woodpecker Hikers).
Game 2 – Category – Ladies – Toronto Toros 6-0 Old Fort.
Goal Scorers – (First Half) Kaelan Watson – 8th Minute, Field Goal (Toronto Toros).
Second Half – Jaslan Stirling – 21st Minute, Field Goal (Toronto Toros), Angela Lancaster – 24th Minute, Field Goal (Toronto Toros), Danica Jayme – 28th Minute, Field Goal (Toronto Toros), Kaelan Watson – 37th Minute, Field Goal (Toronto Toros), Jaslan Stirling – 40th Minute, Field Goal (Toronto Toros).
Game 3 – Category – Veterans – Carib Hockey Club 3-5 Bal-Wash-Ers.
Goal Scorers – (First Half) Raji Singh- 11th Minute, Field Goal (Bal Was Ers), Inder Bath- 13th Minute, Field Goal (Bal Was Ers), Davys Ramsammy – 16th Minute, Field Goal (Carib Hockey Club), Juggy Larson – 18th Minute, Field Goal (Bal Was Ers), Kern Ramsammy – 20th Minute, Penalty Corner (Carib Hockey Club).
Second Half – Inder Bath- 33rd Minute, Penalty Corner (Bal Was Ers), Raji Singh- 34th Minute, Field Goal (Bal Was Ers), Hillary St. Louis – 37th Minute, Field Goal (Carib Hockey Club).
Game 4 – Category – Veterans – Antonio’s Hickers 1-5 QPCC Hockey Team.
Goal Scorers – (First Half) – Raphael Govia – 1st Minute, Penalty Corner (QPCC Hockey Team), Raphael Govia – 11th Minute, Penalty Corner (QPCC Hockey Team), Gary Chin – 14th Minute, Field Goal (QPCC Hockey Team).
Second Half – Devin Munroe – 25th Minute, Field Goal, (Antonio’s Hickers), Raphael Govia – 32nd Minute, Penalty Corner (QPCC Hockey Team), Gary Chin – 38th Minute, Field Goal (QPCC Hockey Team).
Game 5 – Category – Men – Bounty GCC 5-2 Carib Hockey Club.
Goal Scorers – (First Half) Kevin Spencer – 2nd Minute, Field Goal (Bounty GCC), Kevin Spencer – 5th Minute, Field Goal (Bounty GCC), Kevin Spencer – 13th Minute, Penalty Stroke (Bounty GCC), Dylan Francis – 17th Minute, Penalty Corner (Carib Hockey Club).
Second Half – Kevin Spencer – 33rd Minute, Penalty Corner (Bounty GCC), Kareem McKenzie – 35th Minute, Field Goal (Bounty GCC).
Game 6 – Category – Men – Pepsi Hikers 5-5 QPCC Hockey Team.
Goal Scorers – (First Half) Darren Cowie – 2nd Minute, Field Goal (QPCC Hockey Team), Robert France – 7th Minute, Field Goal (Pepsi Hikers), Jordan Vieira – 8th Minute, Field Goal (QPCC Hockey Team), Robert France – 9th Minute, Field Goal (Pepsi Hikers), Jordan Vieira – 13th Minute, Field Goal (QPCC Hockey Team), Dominic Young – 14th Minute, Field Goal (QPCC Hockey Team), Randy Hope – 17th Minute, Penalty Corner (Pepsi Hikers).
Second Half – Aroydy Branford – 24th Minute, Penalty Corner (Pepsi Hikers), Jordan Vieira – 33rd Minute, Penalty Corner (QPCC Hockey Team), Aroydy Branford – 40th Minute, Penalty Corner (Pepsi Hikers).
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