Winston Enterprises Bayland Masters jumped for joy as the Over-40 champions, while Paradise celebrated as kings of the Over-50 category when the Barbados Invitational Masters Football Classic concluded at the National Stadium over the Whitsuntide bank holiday.
In front of scores of spectators and participants, the masters rolled back the years with some of Barbados’ legendary players suiting up for the four-day competition which began on Friday and concluded yesterday with a couple of overseas teams participating as well.
In the Over-40 showdown, Bayland Masters won the Infinity on the Beach Cup Final 4-3 through an entertaining penalty shootout against La Familia as regular time ended in a goalless stalemate. Captain of Bayland John Hawkesworth was deservingly named Jireh Consultant Inc Most Valuable Player.
The lads from Bayland dressed in pink and black also reached the Over-50 final but lost to the Dover-based Paradise side 1-0 compliments of a wonderful goal from Peter Newton who commanded the left-winger during the encounter.
Captain of Bayland Over-40s John Hawkesworth said the team worked extremely hard as a group and was hoping to do the double having reached both age group finals. However, despite not being able to lift both trophies, Hollingsworth shared that it felt great to come away with the Over-40 prize at least.
“We have played in all competitions throughout the island already but we never won the international masters. We are probably one of the most dominant teams on the island but now this trophy is in our clutches and we feel great, magnificent,” Hawkesworth expressed.
In the first half Bayland strategically worked through La Familia’s defence and probed their goalkeeper Sabatino Scala into action on numerous occasions. Both teams played a strong attacking game but Bayland goalkeeper and CGI broker Wayne Lovell truly stood out with the gloves when called into action.
It was a great showing from Lovell who was fantastic in front of goals for both the Bayland Over-50 and 40 finalist teams. He was recognized for his efforts by the opposition La Familia who gifted him one of their playing kits.
After a much-attacking effort from both ends, it was a goalless opening half and the second stanza was no different as the teams played a good defensive game. It came down to a penalty shoot-out and with the lighting conditions at the Stadium not being the best, the goalkeepers had their work cut out for them.
For the champions Bayland, Christopher Holmes, Kirk Beckles, Bryan Neblett and John Hawkesworth all scored while Selwyn Thorne was saved by the goalkeeper Sabatino. The three successful penalty takers for La Familia were Damian Pottinger, Haithram Sultan and Paul Moore. However, Jermaine Coleman and Danny Sanna both missed their goals in what was a nail-biting finish.
In the Over-40s third-place match, COW Wildey Masters trounced debutants Deighton Griffith Secondary School Old Scholars 7-0. The plate final for the Over-40s went to Deacons Masters with a 3-0 victory over Brooklyn Central.
The men’s Over-50 was also a thriller with Paradise dressed in their traditional yellow emerging as the winner thanks to defender Newton who scored the lone goal.
Jireh Consultant Inc Most Valuable Player awardee Richard Wood, the chief playmaker made the pass to danger man Newton located inside the area for a well-earned left foot match-winning finish for Paradise led by Edwyn Gibson.
Manager of Paradise Masters, Fitzroy Ward told Barbados Today it was a total team effort and that he was pleased with the performance given that this is the first time they ever won the Over-50 men’s final.
“Coming into this tournament we trained hard to prepare ourselves as much as possible cause we knew it would be a gruelling four days of competition for this tournament. These guys are over 50 so it would be tough on their bodies. Our main objective was to play well and avoid injuries and we are happy to come away as champions because Bayland is one of our main rivals,” Ward said.
Winning the third-place match for the Over-50s was the Barbados Ambassadors of Canada 6-2 against Royalty Ballers. The plate final between the United Kingdom-based Cockney Rebels and Toronto Football Club of Friends ended in a 1-1 draw. However, in the penalty shootout, the British triumphed 6-5 as Peter Browing nailed the eventual winner.
This year’s sponsors for BIMFC 2022 are Atlantis Submarine Barbados Inc, Banks Breweries, Barbados Football Association-BFA, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Commentator Sports Incorporated, Cooperators General insurance, Dover Beach Hotel, Eyre’s Meat Shop, Infinity on the Beach Hotel, Intimate Hotels of Barbados, Jirah Consultant lnc, Massy Distribution lnc, Palm Beach Hotel, Rogcol Enterprises, Rostrevor Hotel, Sandals Resort and Sandals Royal, Terry’s Ford Truck, Worthing Square, Tourism Development Corporation and Trophy World.