OUTDOOR HOCKEY: GCC sweep male and female categories
By Treiston Joseph
Bounty GCC and Pizza Hut GCC ran away with the top titles in the Bounty/Antonio’s Grill outdoor one day hockey tournament on Sunday at the National Stadium, Providence.
There was simply no stopping the Pizza Hut GCC Women who totally dominated their competition. The orange and white clad unit went undefeated in the tournament, while scoring 33 goals that included a 5-0 drubbing of the Woodpecker Hikers in the final.
After being held to just one goal in the first half of the final, the Pizza Hut sponsored squad dropped four unanswered goals, which saw Aliyah Gordon winning the Most Valuable Player award for her 11 goals in the tournament, which was more than double the next individual scorer.
Meanwhile, the Men’s division saw the eventual victors, Bounty GCC, taking a different path to the final as they lost a close duel to the defending champs, Pepsi Hikers, by a 3-2 margin in the early rounds. With the Hikers playing unbeaten right up to the final, they entered as heavy favourites in their rematch against GCC, who had brushed aside Old Fort 5-0 in their semi-final.
The two sides produced some wonderfully entertaining hockey in a Men’s final that saw GCC take the lead twice, but Hikers drawing level on both occasions to result in a final score of 3-3.
GCC went onto win the penalty shootout 3-2, with Dwayne Scott scoring the final penalty and being named the MVP of the male tournament. President of the Guyana Hockey Board, Phillip Fernandes, was pleased with what he saw on the field during the tournament.
“I think today (Sunday) has been very good, it’s our first tournament of the season and we are very pleased with the turnout, we’re very pleased with the quality of hockey that we have seen, we have a lot of juniors that were developed in the indoor last year coming out to play seniors; some of them making a great impact on their teams… so it encourages us as a federation that our player body is growing and that we are seeing talent coming through, it’s very exciting,” Fernandes noted.
Fernandes also spoke on the transition from indoor hockey to the outdoor format. “Well the skills are actually quite different you know because indoor the ball must remain flat for most part of the game, this requires a lot of what you call 3D skills which is lifting the ball off the field and elimination skills and so on, it adds a new dimension to the game.
“It’s very important for players to be exposed to both sides of the game and so many of our players from last year would be playing on the outdoor surface for the first time so its new to them, but I think they are embracing it and we are seeing some good games today (Sunday),” Fernandes pointed out.
The tournament was the first of the season for hockey that came off a hectic indoor season and should set the trend for the remainder of the year for the growing sport.