Barbados’ Under-21 men’s hockey team found the going quite difficult last night as they went down 6-1 to Chile in their opening match of the 10th Pan American Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Barbadians started well and played a strong midfield game in the opening minutes. Both team looked even in the opening exchanges, however it would be Barbados that earned the first penalty corner of the match in the 4th minute, which was taken by young Akeem Rudder but brilliantly saved by Chilean goalkeeper Sebastian Valdez.Barbados would keep pressing on and in the 14th minute, were rewarded for a well executed circle penetration, with a goal from the stick of UWI HC striker Justin Catlin, placing Barbados in the lead 1 – 0.
Chile, however, would soon respond with the equaliser from Ignacio Contardo and by the end of the match, went on to score five more goals, for a final score of Chile 6, Barbados 1.
Barbados had many chances to score, including five more penalty corners, a penalty stroke and a few good open field opportunities. They played a good midfield game, had numerous circle penetrations, but were plagued by poor finishing and poor defensive marking.
The local lads still have a good chance at advancing to the championship pools if they can win their remaining preliminary pool matches, the most challenging of which will be against the USA at 11.45 a.m. Barbados time tomorrow. Barbados’ last preliminary pool match will be against Venezuela on Saturday.
The Pan American Junior Championships is a qualifier for the FIH 10th Under-21 Men’s Junior World Cup and includes representatives from 13 countries. The top two countries will qualify for the Junior World Cup and the team positioned in third place will be the first reserve country.
Prior to yesterday’s opening game Barbados had two warm-up matches which they won against Mexican state team, Jalisco. As a Mexican state team, Jalisco comprised some of the best club players in Mexico. In Game 1 of the warm-up matches Barbados won 4 – 3, with goals that included a fantastic drag-flick from Akeem Rudder, and field goals from Justin Catlin, Che Warner and Keron Taylor. In Game 2, Barbados won 3 – 1, again with another penalty corner drag-flick from Rudder, a corner variation from Catlin and a brilliant left top corner shot from Shonkeel Wharton.
The Barbados team comprise: Evan Brooks (Cpt), Jabari Walcott, Che Warner, Kevin Fenty (GK), Akeem Rudder, Shakeel Wharton, Jerome Harewood, Kamar Bovell, Marlon Daniel, Justin Catlin, Roger Broomes, Shacquille Callender, Keron Taylor, Shonkeel Wharton, Shavon Goddard, Paul Gill, Mario Moore and Keenan Knight (GK).
The team is coached by Peter Chase who is assisted by Dominic Hill and managed by Antonio Forte.