SUPERNOVA, Guyana’s developmental indoor hockey team, squeezed into the semi-final of the UWI indoor tournament on goal difference after a fighting loss and a great comeback in their final two preliminary matches on Saturday.
First up it was their early morning encounter against Ventures Indoor Champions Queens Park (QPCC). Despite being vastly outmatched in terms of experience, the young Supernova side used their superior speed and work rate to make it a competitive match throughout.
Evan Farrell put QPCC ahead in the second minute before Supernova’s inspirational captain, Jamarj Assanah, equalised three minutes later. Kareem McKenzie continued his fine form from penalty corners to make it 2-1 to Supernova in the 10th minute before Aidan DeGannes scored twice in the 13th and 15th minutes to put QPCC up 3-2 at half time.
Omar Hopkinson would tie things up again in the 21st minute, but shortly after he received a green card. QPCC executed their one-minute numerical advantage to perfection to go up 4-3 through the stick of Jerazeno Bell.
Bell scored again in the 26th minute to put QPCC two goals clear before Warren Williams answered in the 28th minute to make it 5-4. Shawn Lee Quay put the match out of doubt in the final minute when he converted a QPCC penalty corner, but Supernova earned a penalty corner soon after which McKenzie converted on the stroke of full time to make the final score 6-5 in favour of QPCC.
In their second match of the day, Supernova came up against a young, exciting Malvern team, who played a disciplined compact half-court defence for the majority of the game to negate Supernova’s pace. The tactic worked to perfection and it was not until the final minute of the first half that Assanah was able to put one past the Malvern goalkeeper.
The second half was much of the same, with Malvern sitting deep and frustrating the Supernova attack before springing counter-attacks of their own. Two such counters were converted by Michael Stewart and Kristian Emmanuel in the 20th and the 25th minutes respectively, to turn the game on its head.
Down 1-2 with less than two minutes remaining, Supernova pressed high; Shakeem Fausette deflected a pass from Malvern’s right back on to the sick of Assanah who sprung the counter-attack before slipping the ball to Fausette for the finish. Immediately following the restart of play, Kareem McKenzie intercepted a pass and slipped the ball to right forward, Warren Williams, before receiving the return pass and completing the miracle comeback.
In his assessment of the day’s matches, national coach Robert Fernandes said “Today, the boys showed great grit and determination, it’s becoming harder with each team we face because they’re now familiar with our style of play and they’ve made the tactical adjustments by sitting deep to negate our high tempo, fast style. It’s a new challenge for the boys and it requires a lot more discipline, patience and composure to break down that type of defence.
Because we’re such a young team, those traits are not necessarily our strengths, but today I saw some real character from these youngsters and they’ve earned their spot in another semifinal.”
Supernova will play the second Men’s Semifinal against Group B winners, Trinidad & Tobago Police Force, after Group A winners Queen’s Park take on Group B runners-up, Paragon.