Queens Park CC took the first round of the highly anticipated men’s duel when they met defending champs the Pepsi Hikers last evening in the Diamond Mineral Water Indoor Hockey Festival. The two 2016 finalists did not disappoint the crowd as the high-scoring affair saw many lead changes with the game hanging in the balance until the very end. The Woodpecker Hikers ladies were also in top form as they downed six-time champs Pizza Hut GCC by 4-1 in an impressive performance. Queens Park took the lead in the Carib vets competition by spoiling the unbeaten run of GCC Vintage to cap off a successful evening for the Trinidadian visitors.
Just off the recent CAC qualifiers in Jamaica where he received the Player of the Tournament Award, Aroydy Branford of the Pepsi Hikers was in brilliant form last evening when his team took on the Queen’s Park CC in their men’s pool round clash. Branford signalled that it could be an easy night as he evaded the QPCC goalkeeper in the opening minute of play to slot home goal number one as though it was a stroll in the park. Trinidad international Akim Toussaint however was determined not to let the match slip away from the grasp of QPCC as he equalized three minutes later with a powerful penalty corner flick. It was more of the same for the rest of the half as supporters from both sides were treated to an entertaining display of skill and speed. Branford scored thrice more in the half to take his tally to four while Toussant managed to score three penalty corners and Daren Cowie added a single to lead the teams into half time deadlocked at 4-4.
The game seemed all but over for Queens Park after the first eleven minutes of the second half as Andrew Vieira scored a double for the Hikers and Captain Robert France a single to give them a comfortable 3 goal lead. QPCC did not relent however and their determination paid dividends as Matthew Tang Nian scored a penalty corner in the 33rd minute to signal a change in the tide. QPCC came storming back and slammed home three more goals through Kadeem Fortune, Jordan Reynos and Mark Ayen with the winning goal just 2 minutes from full time. The 8-7 victory has foisted QPCC onto the top of the pool table and saw the Pepsi Hikers drop their first points of what has otherwise been a stellar performance in the competition so far.
Bounty GCC turned an evenly matched game into a comfortable victory by midway through their clash with Old Fort. With the two teams both creating good scoring opportunities and getting to half time at 2-2, GCC would score three more in the second half to Old Fort’s one, giving GCC the 5-3 win. Kareem McKenzie, Peter DeGroot, Orland Semple, Dwayne Scott and Kevin Spencer all got onto the score sheet for GCC while the Old Fort goals were scored by Jael Gaskin, Jason Clarke and Ascofu Simon.
The ladies’ matchup of the evening saw the Woodpecker Hikers cruise to a 4-1 victory over the highly fancied Pizza Hut GCC. Former world top 20 squash player Nicolette Fernandes was first to score as she beat goalkeeper Briawna Gordon to a pass into the circle to deflect the ball ever so gently into the far corner. It would take GCC nine minutes to equalize through a skilful bit of individual play by striker Gabriella Xavier who finished with a powerful shot past the left arm of goalkeeper Latoya Fordyce.
GCC seemed to have run out of ideas at this point as Nicole Eastman put the Hikers up 2-1 just before the half with a counterattacking finish off a Maria Munroe pass. Left back Allana Lewis and Maria Munroe then got in the act each scoring for the Hikers in the second half to finish with a 4-1 victory.
QPCC capped off a productive evening by defeating the GCC Vintage by 5-3 in the Carib veterans’ competition while Antonio’s Hickers put in their best performance in the competition by dominating Malvern of Trinidad by 8-2.
Matches continue this weekend with the finals set for Sunday evening from 6PM.Add to Favorites