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Blackbirds swoop on opponents

The University of the West Indies’ sports programme is arguably one of the best in the country and their Blackbirds have shown prowess in several disciplines. Hockey is among them and over the past weekend at the Hockey Centre, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, the Blackbirds took no prisoners.

UWI Blackbirds’ goalscorer Justin Catlin (right) contending with Avengers’ Lesz Trotman.

On Saturday, they pecked Combermere School Old Scholars (CSOS) to pieces, beating them 9-2 in their second-round Division 1 match-up. Playing short of a full team for the second game in a row, the Waterford ladies could not stem the flow of goals coming from the determined Blackbirds.

UWI’s tally of goals came off of braces from Shakera Connell and Ayanna Wilson, with single goal contributions from Nicole Dawson, Amaris Chase, D’Jamila Edwards, Leesha Gaskin and Josanne Thomas. The CSOS’ young custodian Anaya Alleyne-Germain had a noticeably dubious time in goal and their national defender Camille Pounder had to retire hurt due to what appeared to be a serious muscle injury. The old scholars were able to secure two consolation goals through Tiffany Belle in the 25th minute and Louise Morris in the 57th. 

UWI goalscorer Ayanna Wilson (right) on the run with CSOS’ Donele Clarke (left) defending.

In a Division 1 encounter, Williams Industries Avengers and Massy United Insurance Empire played to a 0-0 draw. It was a draw that saw Empire retaining their lead at the top of the standings against the former title contenders. Despite entertaining attempts on goal by both sides, none could find the nets within the 60 minutes of regulation time. At the end of the day, though, Empire remained on track to secure the title.

Avengers’ Che Roach (pink, right) running the line with UWI defenders in tow.

On Sunday in Division 1 action, it was the turn of Blackbirds’ men to swoop on their opponents and Williams Industries Avengers were the victims suffering a 4-2 loss, though an exciting one over the 60 minutes played.

Blackbirds’ Kumar Hinds entertained with fast finishes in the 15th and 25th minutes, while teammates Armani Prescod and Justin Catlin supported with goals in the 23rd and 36th minutes respectively, as the Blackbirds took a comfortable 4 – 0 lead into the final 15 minutes.

However, the last quarter belonged to the Avengers with Shaile Babb and Johann Lashley scoring in the 46th and 53rd to pull back two for the Avengers before the final whistle. The win elevates UWI into second place, six points behind leaders Monster All Stars and sees Catlin maintain his spot as the league’s leading goal scorer.

For their part, the Monster All Stars were in irresistible form thrashing Massy United Insurance Empire 5-1 to ensure they remained at the top of the league

The All Stars opened their account in the second minute when young Raghnall Yarde-Deane tapped home after a well-constructed attack, giving the All Stars the early lead. The score remained 1 – 0 until halftime, with a confident All Stars defensive line switching the ball around the back and biding their time.

Stars got the breakthrough late in the third quarter, when a run by Damien Downes was finished by junior national hopeful Akobe Aymes in the 43rd minute, beating Empire’s national custodian Keenan Knight. Four minutes later Stars’ Dario Jordan made the most of his right side entry, pounding his strike past Knight in the 47th minute. Within minutes after the restart, Knight attempted a risky pass from the edge of the circle off of his feet to teammate Jabari Puckerin by the penalty spot. Errant control from Puckerin saw the ball fall to a waiting Barry Clarke, who smashed the fumble into an empty Empire goal in the 50th minute.

Knight and Puckerin featured again the 54th minute, where Puckerin inadvertently blocked Knight’s recovery back to the goal line from the baseline, giving Stars’ Mario Moore an open goal to slot home. The Bank Hall lads received a consolation goal when a penalty stroke was awarded in the 58th minute for a bad tackle on Empire’s Che Warner while attempting a shot. The penalty was easily converted by Empire’s Jerome Harewood. 

At the start of the day on Sunday in Division 1, Deacons secured a valuable 3 points on after coming away with a 3 – 0 win against the YMCA.

For the ‘Reds’ young Kanye Wharton, younger brother of national fixtures Shonkeel and Javier Wharton, collected a brace, scoring in the 3rd and the 34th minutes, while teammate Jamar Lashley netted from a penalty corner in the 17th. The hapless YMCA are struggling this season. The Pinfold Street team are yet to register any points after nine matches. 

Meanwhile, Combermere School Old Scholars (CSOS) kept themselves in the Men’s Division 1 final four race after a convincing 5 – 1 victory over the Barbados Juniors.

After a slow start, CSOS employed a high press which the Juniors were unable to answer. This led to opportunities for CSOS, the first of which was a popped deflection that fell behind Juniors’ goalkeeper Tyrese Weekes, which was volleyed into goal by CSOS’ Kofi Hinds in the 13th minute.

CSOS’ James Godding slotted home his team’s second goal from a pinpoint cross from teammate Aaron Forde. Hinds picked up his second in the 38th, with a flick from the left side that deflected off of Weekes and into goal. CSOS’ Kyle Brathwaite was next on the score sheet, besting Weekes in the 48th with a shot after a brilliant aerial pass from veteran Mark Owen. Forde got one for his efforts as well, hammering home through Weekes in the 49th from the middle, on the end of an unexpected pass from regular CSOS goalie Clint Small who was taking a run in the field. The Juniors picked up a consolation goal when Akobe Aymes skillfully finished a baseline skirmish in the 52nd, around CSOS’ custodian Theo Farley.

Goalscorer for CSOS Aaron Forde shooting in the first half.

Barbados Juniors’ defender Javier Wharton (second left) bringing out the ball with CSOS’ Kyle Brathwaite (left) applying pressure.

CSOS goalscorer Kofi Hinds (yellow shirt, center) heading towards goal against Barbados Juniors.

Play continues this Saturday and Sunday at the Wildey Hockey Center.

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