Bermuda: Season gets off to a 'flat' start x8|
November 25, 2004
The Royal Gazette - Sport
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Hockey?s first season on the Astroturf pitch at National Sports Centre opened last weekend with a bang.All players have been expressing delight with the new facility, which the Bermuda Hockey Federation hopes will revolutionise the sport on the Island.
The Women?s A league ? depleted this year to six teams with the decision of the Orioles to field only a B squad ? saw reigning champs Swallows and runners-up Canaries both nab early wins.
Canaries faced off against Cardinals in a closely-fought match which, up until the final seconds of play, might have swung either way.
Despite a number of opportunities on goal in the first half, Cards failed to find the back of the net.
Solid goal-keeping from Tami Ray of Canaries defeated several Cardinals? attacks.
But Cards held their own defensively through much of the match with Lesley Smith, Shirley Smith, Patricia Holder and Nicola Davidson shutting down the Canaries forwards and midfielders and swiftly clearing the ball while fill-in ?keeper Liz Copeland held up well under pressure.
But a Canaries breakaway from the midfield in the dying seconds of the game led to a winning goal.
Title-defending Swallows had a mirror 1-0 result over Bluebirds in the other A match.
Swallows were missing five players from their usual line-up but still showed why they were on the top of the heap last year.
The first half saw strong play from Lisa Haynes, Cath Griffiths and Yvonne Slattery, but attacks were frustrated by the goalkeeping of the talented Bluebird Fiona Doe.
Jenny Burrell eventually struck gold on a short corner routine with a pinpoint pass from Slattery to secure the win.
Swallows B squad also collected three points last weekend with a 3-0 win over Bluebirds.
Swallows pulled away in the second half after winning several short and long corners.
Karen Campbell scored twice off short corners, linking well with right half Karen Turner?s solid passes.
Consistent attack delivered a third goal off a long corner strike as Burns connected to newcomer Lucy Searing.
In other B play, a Cardinals team laden with newcomers and juniors secured a 1-0 win over Canaries. Thirteen-year-old Jessica Hollis nabbed the winning goal in the first half.
And Orioles also captured three points, beating Swifts 1-0.
Opening the season in Men?s play, Upstarts grabbed a 2-1 win over Panthers while Police Polecats kept Rebels down 2-0.
The Upstarts-Panthers match was a fast and free-flowing game but a fine drag flick short-corner goal by Upstarts captain Neil Carroll broke an early deadlock.
Donny Moniz added a second when he turned in Jani Lahti?s cross after a breakaway down the right. Panthers replied with surging runs from Matt Spencer and were rewarded as a short corner strike from Shannon Simons hit the mark.
Upstarts endured constant pressure in the second half, but keeper Mike Foster held firm and fought out the victory in a frantic, final ten minutes.
Meanwhile, a new look Police team fought hard for a 2-0 win over title-defending Rebels.
Tough defences on both sides saw the score mired at 0-0 at the half.
As second half began, Polecats forwards of Lee Uddin, Jason Ming and Andy Kerr were running hard at a Rebels defence steadied by Jamal Burgess and Simon Van de Weg. After 12 minutes, the deadlock was broken when a contentious goal mouth scramble was converted by Lloyd Hopkins.
After missing what appeared to be a sterling opportunity, Nigel Deane redeemed himself with a dazzling dribble down the right of the Rebels goal.
He created an opening at he back post which Lee Uddin tapped in for the second goal.
Rebels had two chances for catch up goals but both efforts were turned away with saves by the ?keeper Craig Burt, returning from injury.
The speed of the new surface has many predicting an exciting season.
?Each team has danger men that will cause havoc for the defence now that the surface allows the dribbling, flicking and control that grass stifled,? noted Upstarts captain Carroll.
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