NOW THEY really have a reason to Du Badd.
Kevin Fenty pulled off two huge saves, including one on the very last shot of a penalty shoot-out, as Du Badd finally captured the men’s crown of the Barbados International Hockey Festival via yesterday’s gut-wrenching 4-3 penalty strokes win over perennial kings All Stars.
It was a scene of pure jubilation for the first-time winners, who at long last overcame years of heartache and a seasoned champion squad in a rain-soaked but eventful title game at Kensington Oval.
The long-awaited triumph didn’t come without its nervous moments, though, with Du Badd being reduced to nine men at one point after surrendering an equaliser just minutes before half-time.
But Fenty came up big when it mattered most, denying Shonkeel Wharton of All Stars’ third penalty and then turning back Neil Franklyn’s potential shoot-out-tying stroke to set off wild celebrations.
This was after the teams traded the first two strokes of penalties following a 1-1 deadlock in extra time.
However, captain Aaron Forde and Chetwyn Henry both scored for Du Badd, sandwiching Fenty’s first save to put the team up 4-2.
Jamar Lashley blew a chance to win the shoot-out when his stroke ricocheted off the inside of the post, but Fenty ensured the miss wouldn’t prove costly, just minutes later.
“It feels really great after all these years of playing,” said Forde of the win. “I think we finally learned how to gel as a team, how to move forward and defend as a unit.”
That seemed the case when Du Badd had the better of the early exchanges, which led to Shavon Goddard scoring in the 25th minute when he turned around to fire a backhanded strike after collecting the ball in front of the ’keeper with his back to goal.
Wharton responded in quick time, though, even while All Stars played with a man down, slotting home an easy equaliser moments before the break.
Things then went from bad to worse for Du Badd on the game’s resumption as Henry and Timothy Parris were sent off just a couple minutes apart, leaving their team to deal with a resurgent All Stars.
Yet, Du Badd still managed to create openings while keeping the champs at bay.
“When the second player went off, all of us dropped back and played defence, so it was hard for them to penetrate,” said Forde.
The day wasn’t all joyous for Du Badd, though. Their women’s side surrendered the title after going under 2-1 to ABC by way of a pair of late second-half strikes from Cher King.
Gabriel Williams put Du Badd on course for another crown after scoring in the 28th minute, but King slotted home a penalty stroke in the 59th before returning a minute later to convert off a penalty corner.
Earlier, ABC came from 2-1 down at half-time to win 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the game was tied 3-3 in regulation.
ABC locked the scores in the 38th minute before Maple surged ahead once again by netting in the 39th. However, ABC forced the shoot-out by finding the net only two minutes shy of the final whistle.
Du Badd also lost their mixed crown to ABC in the final.