Local representative clubs put on some remarkable performances to share top honours with visiting teams as the Saint Lucia International Masters Football Tournament, concluded at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground [DSCG] Monday.
And to top it all, Tiles Plus / St Lucia Metals Gros Islet Veterans captured the 40+ Main Championship title, while Pele Masters emerged winners of the 50+ Main Championship.
The three-day event held from June 4 to 6, brought out some exciting matches and sometimes close results as teams jostled for spots in the knockout stages.
Gros Islet stole the show with a well-executed and splendid display of attacking soccer, backed up by robust defending to thwart the hopes of an outside win—as they defeated Era Master 3-1 in an enthralling encounter.
Though the Trinidad and Tobago club held the upper hand going into the finals as the more likely rated team with a slew of former professionals in its camp, Gros Islet upped the antic to stun the visitors and bring much cheer to its fans and the patrons that turned out to take in some heated action.
Troy Serieux scored a brace and got his first goal in the 37th minute of the 60-minute encounter as he hit a sharp shot into the nets. Soon after, Emanus Jones let loose a right-foot scorcher from 20 metres out for a 2-0 lead.
The wily mid-fielder Serieux was at it again and rounded off the defense to tuck in another goal in the 48minute.
From late into the first half Gros Islet effected a substitution bringing in Venus Cherry at right back. He helped change the pace of the game stepping into the latter session with some speedy runs down the right flank.
That injection of aggression allowed the players to step up the momentum and with Serieux marshaling the forces from mid-field, the home team unleashed a rapid attack on the opposing goal.
With the clock ticking away, Era Masters attempted to hit back for Gary Glasgow to score in the 51st minute. But Gros Islet Veterans held firm and defended their goal with aplomb to ward off any further danger.
Serieux was deservedly the Star Player of the finals and he would later go on to collect some top awards- as the home team hauled in the coveted title and a whopping US$3,500 monetary prize.
Pele Masters overcame any threat that CARICOM Masters intended to throw at them, to win convincingly by a 3-nil margin and reclaim the Championship title.
The US-based club consisting of several Caribbean nationals and former football professionals took command of the game and kept pressing forward. The offensive play resulted in an own goal scored by Dwayne Phillip in the 7th minute.
Then Trevor Cadette netted in the 18th minute and Pele Masters enjoyed a 2-0 cushion by the interval. Cadette got a brace with a 35th-minute goal and this all but sealed the deal for the defending champions.
While Pele Masters opened up their game to create some crafty offensive play, Caricom Masters were unable to shut down the wide spaces that allowed their opponents to gain more control of the ball.
The on-field action was riveting from Day 1 and featured two matches being played simultaneously on Field I and II.
There were determined performances from the teams, and local clubs such as CARICOM Masters, Mabouya Valley, Dennery All Blacks, and newcomers – Island Tribe Brotherhood stood their ground at some time in contention for a winner’s spot.
Leading up to the qualifying rounds, CARICOM Masters got the better of VSADC in a penalty-kick tussle and then booked a finalist spot with another penalty tussle win over Era Masters 5-4.
Mabouya Valley and Island Vibes took their chances to end up on the winners’ podium and as well as the seasoned Dennery All Blacks all putting on a challenge.
In the 40+ semi-finals, Gros Islet beat Dennery All Blacks 1-nil, while Era Masters got past Pele Masters in a penalty kick shootout.
For the 3rd Place Main Championships – Pele Masters beat Dennery All Black 2-1.
At the post-match awards presentation, the following winners were rewarded:
40+ Main Championships:
Winners – G Islet Veterans – US$3,500
2nd Place – Era Masters – US$2,000
3rd Place – Pele Masters – US$1,200
4th Place – Dennery All Black – US$800
Best Goalkeeper – Giovanni Deterville – G Islet Veterans
MVP – Finals – Troy Serieux
Most Goals, including a hat trick -10 – T Serieux
MVP – Tournament – Jermain Anderson – Pele Masters
50+ Main Championships:
Winners – Pele Masters – US$2,000
2nd Place – Caricom Masters
3rd Place – Era Masters
4th Place – VSADC
Best Goalkeeper – Vilan Edward – Caricom Masters
MVP- Finals – Bevan Burging – Pele Masters
MVP – Tournament – Earl Jean – Era Masters.