It was a night to remember for all the positive reasons as the curtains came down in the East Coast Guinness ‘Greatest of the Streets’ Competition on Saturday night, at the Haslington Tarmac.
In the end, the youthful Uprising team from the Golden Grove community became the first team in the tournament’s history to enter as a qualifier in the main draw and win the tournament outright, while they also hold the distinction of becoming the first team from east of the venue to win the title.
Played before what was undoubtedly the largest crowd to witness the East Coast Zone, the newly-crowned champions first squeezed past defending champion Melanie B 1-0 courtesy of a wonderful goal off the boot Phillip Williams, but left the performance of the night for the final against Paradise ‘A’.
Paradise ‘A’ had earlier defeated a stubborn Buxton Diamond 1-0 thanks to a screaming right-footer from their talisman Quincy Adams, whose silky skills was a joy to watch. In the highly anticipated final showdown which was watched by Guinness Brand Manager Lee Baptiste and officiated by referees Wayne Griffith and John Callender, Uprising were quickly on the offensive and took the lead after just six minutes through Quincy Semple, who fired past the last stop to send the partisan support into frenzy.
Paradise ‘A’ Adams then hit the upright with a stinging left-footer and should have equalised shortly after when a shot from long range landed just outside the right upright. The half came with Uprising clinging to a slim 1-0 advantage and all to play for in the final period.
Both teams treated the thousands of fans to some exciting football as they came close to troubling the scoresheet on many occasions. One could have sensed that it would not be Paradise A’s night as they narrowly missed a few chances to gain the equaliser.
Playing with speed and confidence, Uprising’s youthfulness begun to take charge as the opposition wilted under the constant pressing pressure as they uncharacteristically lost possession easily.
The writing became even clearer when Les Charles Critchlow netted in the 18th minute to make it virtually impossible for Paradise A to make a comeback in the final two minutes which they failed to do to hand Uprising a deserved victory, $400,000 and an automatic berth in the national playoffs.
Paradise A for their efforts took home $150,000 and a trophy. In the third place playoff, Melanie ‘B’ needled Buxton Diamond through an Odell Gulliver strike in the 7th minute to claim the $100,000 prize, while the latter carted off $75,000.
In the Plate final, Belfield Warriors hammered Mahaica Guinness Bar 3-0 through a Guinness goal from Akeem Holder in the 20th minute, while Keyron Johnson opened the scoring in the 5th.
They won $50,000 and a trophy.
Meanwhile, Baptiste said the support from the East Coast community has allowed them to make a strong case to host one night of the National Playoffs which is played over three days, at various venues.
He showered praises on the Guyana Police Force and the entire East Coast corridor for the support and love offered throughout the tournament. The next stop on the Guinness train is the Mining Town of Linden.
Complete Results: (GG)-Guinness Goal-2 goals. Championship Final – Uprising-3 vs Paradise ‘A’-0; Les Charles Critchlow-(GG)-18th, Quincy Semple-6th. Championship 3rd Place – Melanie ‘B’-1 vs Buxton Diamond-0; Odell Gulliver-7th.
Plate Final – Belfield Warriors-3 vs Mahaica-0; Akeem Holder-(GG)-20th, Keyron Johnson-5th.
Championship Semi-finals – Game-1: Buxton Diamond-0 vs Paradise ‘A’-1; Quincy Adams-15th. Game-2: Uprising-1 vs Melanie-B-0: Phillip Williams-16th. Plate Semi-finals – Game-1: Belfield Warriors vs BV ‘A’; Belfield won by walkover.
Game-2: Victoria Church Yard-0 vs Mahaica-1; Samuel Van Dyke-7th. Championship Prize Monies: 1-$400,000, 2-$150,000, 3-$100,000, 4-$75,000. Plate Championship $50,000.
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