There were plenty goals and much excitement last weekend as action in the Barbados Hockey Federation’s League Championship continued in the men’s and women’s divisions at the Hockey Center, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey, St. Michael
Fans were treated to ten goals in a Men’s Division 2 match-up that featured Combermere School and Deacons Hockey Club.
Facing a much more experienced line-up, the Waterford lads did well to go toe-to-toe with the “Reds” and overcome a two-goal deficit to claim a point from the fixture. Deacons held control of the match from as early as the third minute when Shakeel Wharton opened the scoring. Wharton would net again in the 35th minute. Also adding to the Deacons’ tally was young Doniko Codrington, who scored in the 22nd and Jamar Lashley with goals in the 32nd and 41st minutes.
Goals for the school team came from Kaliq Downes in the 20th, Ajai Small in the 30th and 58th, Mikeal Yearwood in the 31st and Peter Alleyne in the 51st.
In a Women’s Division 1 encounter, Williams Industries Avengers had a tough time against BUT but still emerged 1-0 winners.
Arguably carrying the stronger lineup, the Avengers seemed to struggle to find the net but managed to secure a goal with nine minutes remaining on the clock through Dana Wilson.
In the final Women’s match on Saturday, Maple Club displayed last year’s dominance, besting Massy United Insurance Empire 2 – 0 in another Division 1 match-up.
The experienced roster from Trents employed a simple but effective long-ball plan, which produced goals for Marsha Drakes from a penalty corner in the 20th minute and Delia Rock from open play in the 53rd.
On Sunday in Men’s Division 1 action, Massy United Insurance Empire suffered their first loss of the season to 2017 champs Monster All Stars by the slimmest of margins, 1-0.
Trinidadian Dominic Young produced a lightning strike off of the right foot from the right side, to beat Empire’s national goalie Keenan Knight in the 13th minute. The Stars held the majority of opportunities in the match, forcing brilliant saves from Knight late in the second half to keep the Bank Hall boys in the game. However, Knight’s efforts went unrewarded as Stars’ national custodian Andre ‘Baa’ Boyce came up with outstanding saves of his own to maintain his team’s lead and walk away with three points.
Combined Juniors recorded their second loss in as many matches on Sunday. This week it was 3-0 to the redoubtable Combermere School Old Scholars (CSOS).
The CSOS started slowly and seemed not to be able to pull together a structure to create any opportunities, until in the second quarter when national striker Aaron Forde caught the end of a precarious cross from Chetwyn Henry in the 24th, to snap a goal quickly past Juniors’ goalie Tyrese Weekes from the penalty spot.
Forde struck again in the 40th minute, this time receiving a piercing cross from Kofi Hinds and beating Weekes in a similar fashion. Rounding out the goal treble for CSOS was Hinds, who himself caught a guided cross from veteran Mark Owen in the 55th minute, and struck the far corner of the goal beyond the reach of Weekes, closing the score at 3 – 0 to CSOS.
Meanwhile, Deacons’ men registered their first 3 points of the season on Sunday with a 3 – 1 victory over the YMCA in a Division 1 game.
Boosted by the return of national defender and penalty corner specialist Neil Franklin, Deacons got the better of the “Y”, starting with a penalty corner goal from Franklin in the 26th minute and follow-up goals from youth players Kanye Wharton in the 38th and Doniko Codrington in the 40th, also from a penalty corner. The youngsters were able to capitalize on YMCA’s decision to play without a kitted goalkeeper. While this creates a player advantage, it often increases the difficulty of defending the open goal. Scoring for the YMCA was Neraj Mason in the 31st minute.
And in a highly competitive game where the best was saved for last, spectators were treated to a prime-time show featuring Williams Industries Avengers and UWI Blackbirds which the former eventually won 3-2.
The Blackbirds started well enough, passing around the ball and creating space, which led to an early goal by Kevin Belle, who did well to best Avengers’ custodian Diego Thompson with an opportune bunt into the net in the 2nd minute. Avengers bounced back after the first break with Che Roach showing off his penalty corner skills in the 17th beating the inexperienced Blackbirds goalie Cekai Husbands-Forte through the air with a drag-flick.
The star of the show was undoubtedly the League’s leading goal scorer thus far, the unpredictable Shaile Babb, who scored two stunners from the left side in quick succession in the 44th and 47th minutes to give the Avengers the 3 – 1 lead. The Blackbirds were able to pull back the goal difference to just one in the dying minutes when Kris Holder struck true past Thompson in extra time from a penalty corner. (KH)