The final whistle of the 2018 Scrimfest Hockey Tournament blew last night at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, much to the delight of Deacons’ players and fans. This signalled the capture of their fourth Scrimfest title and made them the most decorated team in the history of the competition.
The final contest in the men’s division saw Deacons come up against two-time finalists Pulse, whose constituent members are primarily under-21 junior national hopefuls. On Friday night Pulse dismissed the highly favoured Zionites in their semi-final match, while Deacons edged out UWI Blackbirds 1 – 0.
Deacons, boasting a roster of senior national experience, played an entertaining and masterful game against Pulse and seemed in control of the match throughout. From the touch-off, Pulse played an uncharacteristic defensive style, allowing Deacons to switch the ball comfortably around the back, attack freely up the flanks and allowed cross-field passing options. Deacons capitalized quickly on these freedoms, with the first goal of the match coming from Trinidadian national Dominic Young in the 7th minute. Young made the most of a circle entry from a deep pass, exploited a defensive blunder by Pulse and beat their custodian Dario Greenidge with skilfull placement. It was reminiscent of his brilliant falling reverse-stick game-winning semi-final goal against UWI Blackbirds.
Five minutes later in the 12th minute, Young would beat Greenidge again, giving Deacons a 2 – 0 lead with another acute shot, scoring his third consecutive third goal in two matches. Halftime saw Deacons with a comfortable 2 – 0 lead. The second half produced a more vibrant Pulse team, who created chances from the likes of James Gooding, Akobe Aymes and Shaile Babb, but none of their efforts proved effective against the Deacons defence, marshalled by tournament male MVP Shakeel Wharton and Deacons’ custodian Andre Boyce. At the final whistle it was Deacons 2, Pulse 0.
Earlier in the women’s final, TT Squad FC, founded and captained by national player Tammisha Small, defeated Combermere School Old Scholars 2 – 0 to capture the women’s title. Scoring for TT Squad were national players Patrina Brathwaite in the first minute and Charlia Warner-Franklyn in the 33rd. Warner-Franklyn was also named female MVP. Technically, this is TT Squad’s third title, having won top honours in the tournament twice before under the previous names of Anti and R8.
In other matches, Zionites captured the men’s bronze medal edging out UWI Blackbirds 1 – 0, while UWI Blackbirds demolished UWI Hockey Club 6 – 2 for the women’s bronze. Special awards saw Greenidge (Pulse) and Sheena Nichols (TT Squad) being named as best goalkeepers, while Akeem Rudder (UWI Blackbirds), Keisha Boyce (CSOS) and Jada Prescod (CSOS) captured most goals for men and women respectively, with Rudder netting 10 goals and Boyce and Prescod sharing spoils of six goals each.
Now in its 10th year, Scrimfest has become a popular out-of-season tournament on the local hockey calendar and is hosted and executed under the auspices of the UWI Cave Hill’s Academy of Sport. Local hockey clubs and ad hoc teams compete in the fast-paced 7-a-side tournament for silverware, bragging rights and winner-take-all prize money.