Pepsi Hikers, Queen’s Park and TTDF on course for top spot in pool round

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After the longest day on schedule in the Diamond Mineral Water Indoor Hockey Festival, the Pepsi Hikers, Queen’s Park and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) are all poised to secure the top spot in the pool round of the 15th annual Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival.

George United of Trinidad defeated the mighty GBTI GCC Tigers in the ExxonMobil Ladies competition to make them the new favourites, while defending champions Queen’s Park lead the Lucozade Veterans division.

The Pepsi Hikers held off a strong Queen’s Park challenge in an exhilarating match that ended in a 5-5 deadlock. Queen’s Park got off to a fast 2-0 lead through Dominic Young and Kadeem Fortune, but before the Hikers would reel them in with three goals from Robert France and Jamarj Assanah who scored twice.

The scores then see-sawed toward the end with the Hikers finding themselves down by a goal when Piers Evan Farrel scored with two minutes remaining in the match for Queen’s Park. An Aroydy Branford goal in the final minute however, drew the scores at 5-5 to divide the points between the two teams.

Theodore Thierens escapes the Queen’s Park challenge

The Hikers returned later in the evening to edge Bounty GCC 6-5 leaving the latter needing a win in their one remaining match to make the semi-finals. The TTDF experienced similar fortunes to the Hikers by drawing 1-1 with Queen’s Park, but beating Bounty GCC 6-4 and Saints by 5-1.  After obliterating Saints 8–2, YMCA Old Fort then experienced the other side of success going down to Queen’s Park 1-4.

George United had to come from behind against the GBTI GCC Tigers as Marzana Fiedtkou put the latter up through a penalty corner goal in the first quarter. Captain Brianna Govia responded with a penalty corner goal of her own then a field goal in each of the next two quarters with Savannah DeFreitas adding a single to give George United a 3-1 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Omar Hopkinson’s efforts are foiled by a well-timed Queen’s Park tackle

With GCC struggling to find a way through the solid George United defence, midfielder Dominique DeGroot would find the back of the net with two minutes remaining to pull the GBTI girls within one.  Time would run out of the locals however, and George United celebrated a 3-2 victory.

Earlier in the evening, George United had brushed aside Red Wyne 8-0, while the GBTI GCC Tigers also defeated them 6-0. The placement in the semi-finals was on the line when Saints and the Spartans met in their Ladies match-up. Two goals each from strikers Abosaide Cadogan and Sarah Klautky sealed the deal for the Spartans however, with the lone Saints goal coming from Clayzia Bobb.

In the Lucozade Veterans division, Fatima had a full schedule and their tiredness showed toward the end of the day as they began with a creditable 3-3 draw against defending champions Queen’s Park.  Fatima however, then lost their next two matches 6-2 to Old Fort and 5-1 to Vintage GCC.

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