Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic’s (SJPP) captain and goalkeeper Mario Alleyne was their hero when he saved two penalties to ensure they repeated as Coca-Cola Barbados Secondary Schools Under-19 League football champions.
Playing in the final at Kensington Oval last night before a crowd of over 5 000 spectators, among them Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, SJPP defeated a plucky Queen’s College side 4-3 on penalties after the scores were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
The game was just 12 minutes old when Reshon Brathwaite, left unmarked inside the penalty area, hit a right-foot shot well away from QC’s custodian Joshua Greene.
But on the stroke of half-time, Jevon Durant got the equalizer for Queen’s College with a header from a Nicholas Gill cross, which beat a flat-footed Alleyne at the right post.
In the subsequent penalty shoot-out, SJPP missed their first kick when Jadai Clarke’s shot was saved by Greene.
But Alleyne immediately saved the effort from QC’s Tre Hinds and later also stopped a weak penalty from QC’s fifth kicker Damien Clarke to give SJPP and their coach Derick “Billy” Hurley a fourth Under-19 crown.
Brathwaite, Shaquille Beckles, Romario Small and Cameron Lewis all scored their penalties for SJPP, while Brent Rogers, Durant and Barbados Under-19 cricketer Craig St Hill, playing in black gloves, were on target for QC.
Earlier, tall striker Hendy Richards logged a hat-trick with two goals in extra time as Indar Weir Travel House Barbados Steel Works Top Bay Settlers beat TS Strikers 4-1 to clinch third place. The scores were locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
Richards had opened the scoring in the 30th minute but Rico “Sas” Baptiste equalized for TS Strikers with a 75th minute strike, forcing extra time.
The introduction of Edwin Brereton, coach-player Kent Hall and Mustafa Haqq paid dividends for Top Bay Settlers as it was from a cross that TS Strikers conceded an own goal when defender Mark Cox deflected the ball past his goalkeeper Omari Eastmond at near post in the 94th minute.
Haqq then set up the final two goals for Richards in the 105th and 119th minutes with pin-point crosses.
With both games going past regulation time, the grand final between Phoenix UFO Toyota Fire House and Akademiks for the lucrative first prize of $100 000 did not start until 9:45 p.m., as there was entertainment by Crimeson, Dutty Android and Marsville on the back of an open truck, while women danced and gyrated inside a minibus – much to the delight of the crowd.