Needing a win against hosts Mexico to have a chance at qualification for World League Round 2, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2017, the local stickmen put together an impressive display of grit, determination and discipline as they came from a goal behind to snatch a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Having also lost to the US by a similar deficit, Mexico came to fight in front of their home crowd for the right to face them again. It almost seemed that it was going to be that way as Reymundo Lemus found the net in the 13th for the home team.
However, Akeem Rudder had other ideas and got the ball past the Mexican custodian in the 28th.
Continuing to work hard and apply pressure the boys in blue earned a penalty stroke through the skilled hard work of the forwards and Neil Franklin made no mistake.
The second half seemed to stretch an eternity with tempers rising and both teams putting everything into the contest. In the end no team was able to make good on their opportunities in the second half and Barbados successfully booked a ticket in Sunday’s final.
The local stickmen, however, went down 6-1 to USA in the finals of the FIH Hockey World League Round 1 Tournament in Salamanca, Mexico.
Buoyed by Saturday’s victory the team headed into the finals against USA with full confidence, but that seemed not enough, as they conceded their first goal just 5 minutes in, when Paul Singh scored from open play. Three minutes later in the 8th, USA’s captain William Holt would score the first of his hat trick, placing USA up 2-0.
Barbados seemed to have no reply and could do nothing to stem the tide, as Manny Martinez netted USA’s third goal in the 13th. Holt stepped up again for USA, showing his ability this time from the penalty corner mark, scoring USA’s next two goals in the 20th and shortly after half-time in the 42nd, seeing USA to a commanding 5-0 lead.
USA would score again in the 46th driving up their lead to 6-0.
Barbados would get their lone consolation from an attacking opportunity that saw the award of a Penalty Stroke in the 48th minute, comfortably converted by national team veteran Neil Franklin, sending the score line to USA 6, Barbados 1, where it would stay for the next 22 minutes until the end of regulation time.
This result however, is the best result a senior Men’s Hockey Team has achieved in a major international hockey competition in recent times, since Barbados’ Silver Medal finish at the CAC Games in Puerto Rico in 2002.
Barbados TODAY spoke to coach Dominic Hill in transit on his way back to Barbados where he said he was “satisfied with their standing”, indicating that his units objective was the top two. He commended the players for game against Mexico noting that they were ranked 18 positions ahead of Barbados in the FIH world rankings.
Commenting specifically on the final, “to be honest our basics let us down, they were quicker to the ball and better prepared, but with that being said I think from the start we were in with a chance.
“We didn’t take our chances and they did, it just highlights that we need to keep at it and build more finals experience. As well as keep stepping forward and creating the opportunities to face better teams and different styles of hockey.”
Hill went on to credit the team for their commitment to structure and the new mental preparedness techniques implemented recently. After a brief rest he intends to continue building on these recent successes.