All Stars rule Empire
Monster All Stars men wrapped up the first major domestic hockey tournament on the new turf by defeating Massy United Insurance Empire 4-2 on penalty flicks in the final of the Barbados Hockey Federation’s Outdoor Classifier on Sunday.
With the teams locked at 1-1 during regular time, it came down to the talent of Dario Jordan, national players Marlon Daniel and Jamar Small, and Mario Moore for the decider.
Empire’s Peter Alleyne made a solid strike to equal the first successful penalty flick scored by Jordan.
However, their hopes of capturing the title quickly slipped away when the next two attempts by Joel Bodkin and Laurando Davis were brilliantly grasped by the All Stars captain Andre Boyce, also a national player.
Boyce told NATIONSPORT All Stars worked on some shortfalls prior to advancing to the final.
“Empire is a pretty good young team and they play together. Coming into this game we had some drawbacks. We were always coming into the games late, we were always coming from behind,” he said.
“We weren’t even expected to reach the finals, but the guys played every game from last two games together as a team. We tried to put together our passes and we tried to work on our fitness every game going forward, and it actually worked for us today.”
He believes their season’s best was defeating UWI, who had three national strikers, to advance to the final. During the initial stages of the first half, Empire dominated ball possession, played a strong defence and made some outstanding attempts.
They converted a goal in the ninth minute, with a decent strike from Che Warner.
Moore, however, beat the keeper to score the equaliser just three minutes after. “They have three key players on their team and we try to play the ball around them. When they get the ball, we try to play a man close, so they can’t get an easy pass, so that actually worked for us,” he said.
As the match continued, both teams played a tight defence, which made it difficult for either side to score in regular time.
Boyce added that he was pleased the turf was back and if they were successful in playing international hockey on a small turf they should be able to put in a better effort with the new surface.
Empire also lost the women’s final after Ayana Wilson scored the lone goal for UWI Blackbirds.
Patrina Brathwaite missed a crucial penalty opportunity which would have given Empire the equaliser. (RG)