Ferocious Tigers storm to GTT National Indoor Hockey Championships female title
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Pepsi Hikers continued their reign as first division male champions.
Pepsi Hikers continued their reign as first division male champions.

– Hikers survive late scare en route to male title defence

By Faizool Deo

THE GBTI GCC Tigers restarted the reign of the Bourda club after a flawless campaign handed them the spoils of the first division female battle in the GTT National Indoor Hockey Championships on Sunday evening at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

Meanwhile, in the feature male clash, multi-year defending champions, Pepsi Hikers, survived a late scare against the YMCA Old Fort Delta Force in their first division final.

Prior to those finals, the YMCA Old Fort Hot Shotz saved their best for last to stun defending champions, Bounty GCC Vintage, in the Over-35 final, while Bounty GCC Pitbulls whipped Bounty GCC The Sequel in the Second Division final.

The one-week, four-division championships culminated with an intense last few minutes of play in the men’s first division final.

Hikers were sitting comfortably with a 3-0 lead at the break, but more coordinated attacks first led to greater opportunities and then goals.

Omar Hopkinson drew one back with nine minutes left in the clash as he fired in a scorcher from the left side of the box; with a two-goal cushion, the Hikers still felt safe, but Old Fort turned up the heat in the last five minutes and Jason De Santos was ready to be their hero.

He scored a sneaky goal in the 36th minute after he stole the ball from the centre line and battled his way through the defence for a successful strike.

Robert France then carried Hikers back up after he found the back of the net.

In the last two minutes, De Santos fired two shots past the goalie, but one was disallowed, which resulted in the 4-3 finish.

The Hikers also won two of the three individual awards.  Defender Andrew Stewart was named the Most Valuable Player, while Aroydy Branford, who exploded in his first two games, finished with the most goals (13). 

The best goalkeeper’s award went to Delta Force’s Paul D’Andrade.

FEMALE FINAL

The female final was less intense and although the GCC Spice proved that they are a very good side, they were always second best to sister club, the Tigers.

Marzana Fiedtkou, who finished as the female MVP and highest goal scorer with 17, stamped her authority in the game with three early goals. She scored in the fourth, fifth and seventh minutes.

Sonia Jardine then scored one of her two goals in the 15th minute to carry the eventual champions 4-0 ahead, but Sandy Roopnarine, who has been consistent in the tournament, answered before the break.

Jardine would go on to score her second, while Gabriella Xavier made it 6-1.

Roopnarine and Shebiki Baptiste scored consolation goals in the final minute of the clash.

Along with the second place trophy, the Tigers’ Briawna Gordon was adjudged the best female goalie.

OVER 35 FINAL

In the first championship clash of the final day, the dominant Vintage side looked to again whip Hot Shotz in the Over-35 division.  In their last preliminary game, Vintage had won by a 10-3 margin.

Although the final proved to be another goal-laden clash, with a whopping 19 goals, Vintage could not replicate their dominance.

The defending champions had scoring spurts, but they were sporadic.  They went ahead 3-0 in the early first half, but cooled down, and Hot Shotz’s Aderemi Simon and Dwight Sullivan took over. 

The pair scored five consecutive goals in an impressive fight back. By the half, Old Fort were ahead 6-4.

Hot Shotz kept firing shots, which propelled them to a 10-6 lead, and although Vintage would score three unanswered goals in the last five minutes, they still fell short 9-10.

Kevin Spencer led Vintage’s attack with five goals.

Simon, who finished with four goals for the winners, was named the MVP of the division, while Spencer was again rewarded with the trophy for the most goals (16 goals).

In the Second Division final, two goals each from Kareem McKenzie and Meshach Sargeant propelled Bounty GCC Pitbulls to a 6-1 victory over Bounty GCC the Sequel.

Rahim Oliver and Tariq Nelson also found the back of the net for the winners.  The Sequel’s lone goal came in the sixth minute of play off the stick of Dwayne Scott.

McKenzie was voted as the MVP, Omar Hopkinson from YMCA Old Fort Top Form finished with the most goals (13), while D’Andrade, who also played as custodian for Top Form, won another best goalkeeper’s award.

Madison Fernandes from the GBTI GCC Spartans and Shakeem Fausette from Saints, also received the Toco All Star Junior Players awards.

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