A brace by Shamari Harewood led Deighton Griffith to a 2-1 victory over Queen’s College and their first Barbados Secondary Schools Football League Under-16 title in over a decade, at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex this afternoon.
The 12-year-old Harewood, a national Under-13 player, accounted for the winning goals in the 16th and 21st minutes of the opening half which was 35 minutes duration. Jaden Sealy scored for Queen’s College in the 32nd minute.
Deighton Griffith last won the trophy in 2003 and assistant coach Randy Thomas said he was elated with the performance and expressed his joy to see the cup going to the Christ Church-based institution after 15-years.
“I think that the performance from the boys was extremely good today, it was fantastic to see because we were playing all season and played lacklustre football and we were still getting through. But as I say to the guys when you are playing schools that are better schools than you are, you must try to pull everything out of the bag in order to win. And I think today we did that successfully,” Thomas said.
Queen’s College played undefeated up until today’s championship final having topped the Northern Zone with 18 points from six games and recorded a massive 4-0 semifinal win over perennial champions St. Leonard’s Boys. Deighton Griffith tallied 14 points to finish second in the Southern Zone behind Christ Church Foundation School with 18 points overall.
A former captain for St. Jude’s Primary in the National Sports Council Primary Schools Football Competition, Harewood showed his ability as a striker when he scored the first goal off a through ball fed into the area by Tayshawn Mayers.
Minutes later and Deighton Griffith dressed in their tradition light blue began celebrating again. This time from a corner kick that found dangerman Harewood inside the area to volley the ball past Queen’s College defence and goalkeeper Joshua Harvey.
Deighton Griffith had the better opening half as they played a more physical game even though Queen’s College came into their own after the mandatory water-break which was taken 20-minutes into the first half.
That show of determination by Queen’s College earned the Husbands St. James team an opportunity to cut the deficit by one before half-time, and they did just that through captain Sealy with a brilliant 30-yard free-kick three minutes before half-time.
That indeed gave Queen’s College coached by Rory Sidaway a sense of hope as his young troops came into the second period looking a lot more assertive. Deighton Griffith’s defence led by captain and centre-back Jaquan Sargeant did well to ensure Queen’s College were not afforded much breathing space in the middle which assistant coach Thomas said was the game plan.
Queen’s College were forced to run the ball down the line, and it resulted in a penalty kick being awarded by centre-referee Corey Lewis who found Deighton Griffith defender Tyrese Benskin guilty of committing too stern a challenge on Ethan Squires.
Sealy stepped up to take the penalty with hopes of producing his second goal of the match and more importantly the equalizer for Queen’s College. However, the heroics of Deighton Griffith goalkeeper Ronaldo Shepherd with a fantastic save denied Sealy with ten minutes left to play.
A corner kick followed for Queen’s College who almost had the equalizer when national Under-15 player Khalid Vanderpool-Nurse made an excellent attempt with a header that hit the crossbar and bounced away.
Just when they thought things could not get no worse, the Queen’s College lads dressed in their red and white were made to swallow another bitter pill when offside was called for a ball that scored off what looked like a legal play.
In this situation, Queen’s College attacker Atori Holder was onside as he took on a two-man Deighton Griffith defence, but referee Lewis deemed it offside.
Queen’s College coach Sidaway expressed his disappointment and said it just was not their day. “We created chances but just did not finish and that is how it goes. What else is there to say, we just did not put the ball in the nets,” Sidaway said.