‘What a day, what a glorious day,’ commented a thrilled parent as she exited the gates of the hallowed Annex Field after the U-11 Champions Cup Final this past Saturday, which concluded the ‘Day of Finals’ and the 2005/2006 CUC Primary Football League’s regular season. This from a parent whose son unfortunately finished on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline but left the arena with an eternity of memories.
For those football mom and dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and lovers of the beautiful game, the historic Annex Field was the place to be this past weekend as eight teams had the chance of taking home the glory. This was where the 15 schools that began the season back in October 2006 looked forward to being come 2007. Fifteen began the journey, eight remained and after this day, four would be crowned champions.
Beginning the day’s proceedings were Red Bay Primary and St. Ignatius Prep in the U-9 Consolation Cup. Under threatening skies, the teams took to the field with high hopes and school pride at stake. This game would ultimately set the tempo for the three other finals to follow and it certainly lived up to expectations. With the ebb and flow of the game swaying from end to end and the majority of the game tied up in the midfield, Red Bay Primary got the lucky break as Gary Watler blasted in the winner after the ball cannoned off the St. Ignatius Prep crossbar.
One down three to go and the U-9 Champions Cup brought together twp powerhouses in John A. Cumber and Prospect Primary. This match-up is fast becoming a much-anticipated rivalry as both programmes are excelling in leaps and bounds. Much like the first game, the midfielders took on the brunt of the work although Prospect seemed to create more goal scoring opportunities. As sports enthusiasts know, it’s not chances that win games, it’s the ones you put away and although Prospect Primary enjoyed more sightings on goal, it was John A. Cumber who broke the deadlock when David Parsons pounced on a loose ball in front of his opponent’s goal and powered his shot into the awaiting net. Victory for John A. Cumber and jubilation for the large West Bay contingent.
Onto the big boys and the U-11 Consolation Cup as Cayman International School (CIS) faced a determined Truth for Youth team who surprised the PFL fraternity with deserved victories in the quarter and semi finals. Unfortunately for the Truthsters, they faced a sprightly and talented CIS team who raced into a comfortable 3-0 lead with Kingsley Firth notching a double, and Oliver Smith rounding off the scoring. Not to be outdone, the young Truth For Youth players stuck to their game plan and their tireless running and determination almost saw them pull two goals back if not for the CIS post and crossbar. Javon Robinson powered his way through a stubborn CIS defence only to see his effort roll to safety after tapping the post, and Zachary Dixon’s magnificent free kick which bounced off the crossbar and out of play. It was not to be for the Sky Blues as CIS lifted their first PFL trophy and ended Truth For Youth’s Cinderella story.
Concluding the day’s activities was the much anticipated U-11 Champions Cup between two undefeated teams, Cayman Prep and Prospect Primary. Surviving two gruelling penalty shootouts last week in the semi finals, both schools seemed evenly matched with players who could turn up the heat when required and others who could ‘tighten the screws’ on the best of forwards. With the inspiring Coilin Flynn in top form last week, Cayman Prep’s hopes rested at his feet but with Prospect Primary packing a punch all over the field, this had all the elements of a truly intriguing cup final. With Leandro Powell and Devante Brown controlling the offence and Tristan Watler mopping up in the back, Prospect seemed in control of proceedings but Cayman Prep had other ideas. Clear cut chances were few and far between, but when called upon, Prospect’s Shakur Welcome and Prep’s Fraser Barrie were exceptional between the sticks pulling off some thrilling saves. As the game came to a close and overtime becoming a certainty, Prospect’s Nathan Powell produced a few seconds of magic and blasted his side into the lead. Facing yet another loss in a major final, Cayman Prep responded and went all out in search of an equaliser only to be thwarted by a confident Shakur Welcome in goal and his team mates who could now taste victory. As the final whistle sounded, a dejected Cayman Prep could only watch as prospect Primary and their enthusiastic support celebrated their first major championship.