By Sean Devers
The 2019 Noble House Goals Galore Indoor Hockey Championships climaxed on Sunday evening at the National Gymnasium with a pulsating Men’s final with YMCA Old Fort Top Form emerging victorious while GCC Tigers captured the Ladies title.
The largest turn out of fans at the tournament witnessed a wonderful last night of rivalry in what turned out to be a thrilling Men’s final between Pepsi Hikers and YMCA Old Fort Top Form which began with five Goals.
Pepsi Hikers, with a zero-goal handicap, conceded the opening goal in just three minutes of the final when their Custodian Jason Hoyte was beaten by exciting midfielder Omar Hopkinson after he had completed a skilful individual move to send his shot in the Hikers goal to leave the score 6-0 for YMCA Old Fort Top Form.
Old Fort defended stoutly and the next ten minutes proved goalless before the tournament’s leading goal scorer Aroydy Branford scored from a powerfully struck penalty corner in the 13th minute and the Hikers were off the mark.
By the first twenty-minute half, the score was 6-1 to Top Form and the top ranked Hikers knew that they had a fight on their hands. Captain Robert France with a crafty deflection and midfielder Jamarj Assanah launched the comeback with goals in the 25th and 29th minutes.
Rookie Louis Adams, playing with the type of confidence not really expected at this level, completed a left side Top Form attack with a first time shot into the open goal immediately following Assanah’s goal to take the score to 7-3.
With just ten minutes remaining and needing four goals to tie the score, the Hikers replaced goalkeeper Hoyte with an additional field player and piled pressure on the Top Form defence.
Branford scored a second penalty corner and a field goal in four minutes and the ploy seemed to be working superbly for the Hikers.
Veteran defenders Aderemi Simon and Chris Low-Koan however held firm and negated several concerted raids from the Hikers. Captain Robert France would bring the Hikers within one goal in the final minute of play but despite their hurry, time would expire before any further progress could be made, leaving Top Form to celebrate the 7-6 victory.
Paul D’Andrade of YMCA OFHC Top Form was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the men’s division while Aroydy Branford of Pepsi Hikers, with a whopping 35 goals, received the Most Goals award.
The Women’s final, while having spurts of brilliance was not as close as that of the men’s. Spartans, without a defeat in the tournament enjoying a 5-goal handicap to the GBTI GCC Tigers 3, the pressure was on the Tigers to score against what had been a solid Spartans defence, led by Captain Makeda Harding.
The breakthrough came just five minutes into play for the Tigers through a most inconspicuous manner as Sandy Roopnarine, who had been having a quiet tournament, pounced on a loose ball in the scoring circle and evaded goalkeeper Jessica Mittelholzer with a shot past her right leg for the Tigers opener.
Marzana Fiedtkou, who had put in an MVP performance throughout the tournament, scored next goal for the Tigers with a penalty corner in 7th minute, to register the first of her three goals in the match. The Tigers made up the deficit by the 7th minute and the Spartans threw caution to the wind and pressed the Tigers defence from the restart.
The Spartans’ effort created several chances but goalkeeper Natalie Hing was up to the challenge on each occasion and kept the Spartans scoreless. However, a 22nd minute goal off a counterattack from Fiedtkou added another goal to tally of the Tigers before Roopnarine, Shebiki Baptiste and Fiedtkou would each score once more to put the game well beyond the reach of the Spartans for a final score of 9-5.
Jessica Mittelholzer of the Bingo Spartans was selected as the best goalkeeper of the tournament while Marzana Fiedtkou’s 20 goals gave her the Top Goal-Scorer Award for the ladies’ division. Earlier in the evening in the two men’s semi-finals, the PEPSI Hikers had disposed of the YMCA OFHC Champs by 17 – 15 while YMCA OFHC Top Form gave the Hikers Generals their first loss of the competition by 13 – 10.
The GBTI GCC Tigers got the better of the GBTI GCC Spice by 5 – 3 while the Bingo Spartans dismissed Saints by 11 – 6.
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