GCC teams dominate Bounty/Antonio’s Grille hockey opener
Amidst moments of brilliant sunshine and scattered drizzles over the immaculate Providence Stadium field, the GCC ladies and men opened the 2022 local hockey season with a dominant showing.
The GBTI GCC Tigers would win in a penalty shootout after needing to make up a two-goal deficit against their club counterparts the GCC Spartans, while the GCC Junior Vets were victorious over the Pepsi Hikers in similar fashion after a 0-0 draw at full-time.
With opening goals from unlikely juniors, Ameriah Sahadeo and Madison Singh, the Gods seemed to favour the Spartans to defeat the favoured GCC Tigers. Aliyah Gordon did a fine job in goal for the Spartans and seeing them to the half without conceding, despite the Tigers’ firepower of national strikers Princessa Wilkie and Samantha Fernandes.
The second half saw Tigers captain Gabriella Xavier being pushed up from defence into a midfield playmaking role to pile the pressure onto the Spartans.
Defender, and eventual MVP, Ulrica Sutherland was all over the field in an effort to tame the Tigers, but Xavier finally was able to make the breakthrough by scoring with four minutes remaining on the clock.
Frustration grew as the Tigers surely thought time would rob them of gold, but striker Sandy Roopnarine found herself free in the circle to deflect an accurate cross from Xavier with mere seconds remaining in the match.
The 2-2 draw would take the final into a penalty shootout. Princessa Wilkie and Samantha Fernandes both scored their penalties, but only midfielder Madison Fernandes could match them with a goal on the Spartans end leaving the Tigers to celebrate their victory.
The men’s final also came down to the wire although the match remained scoreless at full-time. Both sides displayed good moments of hockey, but outstanding defending from GCC’s Dwayne Scott and Hikers Rayon Brandford coupled with good goalkeeping at either end denied all attempts at goal.
Goalkeeper Michael Xavier would be GCC’s hero in the resulting shootout as he denied the national duo of Aroydy Branford and Jamarj Assanah during their shootout attempts. Devin Hooper and Alan Fernandes however, for GCC converted their penalties in spite of great efforts by custodian David Williams.
The finals followed a full day of hockey, which started at 08:00h and ended in the night. Eight men’s teams and six women’s teams competed in the two divisions.
This competition marked a late start to the Guyana Hockey Board season and the first in a couple of years due to the suspension of activities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final results were as follows:
Ladies champions– GBTI GCC Tigers
Ladies runners-up– GCC Spartans
Ladies MVP– Ulrica Sutherland (Spartans)
Men’s champions– GCC Junior Vets
Men’s runners-up– PEPSI Hikers
Men’s MVP– Warren Williams (Old Fort)