Wins for Saints Ladies, Old Old Fort and GBTI GCC Tigers

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The curtains raised on Wednesday evening at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall with exciting matches in all three divisions of the 15th Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival.

The Saints Ladies were the first to celebrate victory in this year’s festival with a 4-2 victory over Red Wyne in the ExxonMobil Ladies competition, while the GBTI GCC Tigers predictably secured an easy 8-1 victory over the Spartans.

Old Old Fort got the better of Vintage GCC 5-3 in the lone Lucozade Veterans division match of the evening.  The most entertaining match of the evening however, with the highest quality of hockey on display remained the clash between YMCA Old Fort and the Pepsi Hikers, which ended in a 4-4 deadlock.

In the YMCA Old Fort versus Pepsi Hikers match, overlapping Old Fort left back and former national Aderemi Simon executed a brilliant solo run in the sixth minute to finish with a reverse stick goal to bring the match to life.

The two teams had started tentatively like professional boxers sizing up their opponents, but the pace quickened immediately after Simon’s opening goal. The skillful Omar Hopkinson then shocked the Hikers with a second Old Fort goal seven minutes later to give his side a 2-0 lead.

The experienced Hikers were unfazed by their cold start and began to carve inroads into the Old Fort defence which reaped dividends as star nationals Aroydy Branford and Jamarj Assanah drew the first half of the game even with a pair of goals, both in the 15th minute.

The second half saw the Hikers surge ahead through two early goals by Captain Robert France, who outhustled his opponents to pounce on loose rebounds in the circle on both occasions to take the Hikers to a 4-2 lead.

Saints striker Shakeem Fausette tries to find space around the GCC defence

Old Fort however, would rely on another spark of brilliance from Hopkinson to bring his team back within one when he deceived the Hikers goalkeeper before dragging his flick around to the right and up into the net.

Young Old Fort marksman Warren Williams brought the match to a fitting end when he scored the game’s eight field goal four minutes before the end to leave the final score at a well-fought 4-4 draw.

A young Saints team suffered an opening defeat to GCC in the other Men’s clash of the evening, but the modest 2-1 score showed that Saints have improved to being within striking distance of the country’s top sides.

Two penalty corner goals in the first half by Steven Xavier and Kevin Spencer were enough to give GCC the win as Saints only managed one field goal from Seon Sookhai for the match.

In the ExxonMobil Ladies competition, three penalty corner goals from Tekeisha Deleon and a field goal from young rising star Claysia Bobb were enough to give Saints an easy win over Red Wyne.  Minsodia Culpepper and Bushani Kaladeen put in good performances for Wyne, but failed to match Saints.

Former national striker Tamala Glenn and Culpepper were the goal scorers for Old Fort.  Pre-tournament favourites the GBTI GCC Tigers outclassed a youthful Spartans team 8-1 in the other ExxonMobil Ladies match of the evening.

With the score at 3-1 for the Tigers at halftime, the tiring Spartans would concede five more unanswered goals in the second half.

National midfielder Marzana Fiedtkou was the leading scorer with three goals for the Tigers, Sonia Jardine scored two, while Ashley DeGroot, Gabriella Xavier and Tiffany Solomon completed their side of the sheet.  Abosaide Cadogan was the lone goal scorer for the Spartans.

The Lucozade Veterans division was a highly contested affair as Vintage got off to an early start through Kevin Spencer in the second minute. Old Old Fort would respond in fine fashion however, and despite the scores being level at 2-2 at halftime, pulled off a 5-3 victory.

The Old Old Fort goals were scored by Jason DeSantos with a double, and single strikes from John Abrahams, Adrian Brandt and Dwight Sullivan. Vintage got their three goals through a Kevin Spencer double and one from Dwayne Scott.

Matches continue all week at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall with the finals set for Sunday evening.

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