With two weeks to go until the WestTel Five-A-Side playoffs kick-off at King’s Sports Centre, the players are really starting to hit their stride.
For the past four months, these athletes have put on a spectacular show. Now they are going full steam as they vie for top spots in the league standings.
Old Boys captain Daniel Cummings expressed his excitement for the impending playoffs.
‘The intensity and level of play is always elevated and some of the season’s best games come when it is all on the line.
‘Right now we are on top of our division and trying to secure the top seed for the playoffs.
‘In our previous two seasons we have lost in the final and semi-final rounds. When the dust clears this time, look for us to be holding the Championship trophy.’
Sharon Lamb, team manager for the Transformers, the most disciplined team in the league, voiced her opinions of the new wave.
‘As the only undefeated team of our division, the Transformers have set their sights on gold.
‘So far the season has been filled with excitement, terrific football and lots of heart-stopping last minute goals! As the weeks go on and with only two more games to go before the play-offs, the teams are getting better and better.’
Century 21 were last season’s Division 1 Champions. Team captain Olsen Bush commented on the intensity of the new league.
‘This season the league has been incredibly competitive with some very good new teams.
‘Come playoff time I know it will be very challenging to defend the championship because several teams have the ability to win it all. But Century 21 won’t give up our crown without a fight’.
Echoing the thrills was Burger King owner and team manager Gary ‘Peanut’ Rutty.
‘Our team is proud to be a part of another successful five-a-side season, and after being defeated in the finals, two seasons in a row we hope to finally capture the championship,’ Rutty said. ‘This season has been the most competitive and well balanced that Burger King has participated in.
‘Burger King always looks forward to playing the CML Claymores, who have become somewhat of a rival for us.
‘They have the repetitive leading goal scorer, Ben Marler, who we managed to shut out in our only game with them this season, thanks to great defending and goal tending.
‘However, we hope that the addition of ace striker Rene Carter will seal the deal in the finals and take away the coveted goal scoring title this season.’
The title of leading scorer in the Division 1 programme is one of the most coveted awards amongst the players.
Claymore’s Ben Marler has held the distinction for the last two seasons. The lanky left-footer is well known throughout Cayman’s elite footballers.
This season he plans to edge out the competition once again and set a record-breaking ‘three-peat’ performance. With two games to go, Marler, on 21, has a one goal advantage over Team Burger King rival, Rene Carter.
This rivalry is fuelled by a 2007 season which saw both of these phenomenal athletes battle it out for the leading scorer title, with Marler finishing with a three goal lead over Carter.
Not only do all of these athletes come from various countries and backgrounds, but there are wide differences in their style of play.
BrittHay Warrior, Justin Pierre, known for his speed and agility on the five-a-side pitch, commended his fellow league players.
‘Marler is a forward that all defenders hate to play against,’ Pierre noted. ‘He just needs a brief window of opportunity and he will make you pay. He has an eye for the goal and for a big guy he has surprisingly good foot skills.
‘Rene Carter on the other hand is a game changer and sometimes I think the kid is the engine that never stops. That’s why he scores so often. He really is one of the best players in Cayman.’
When asked about the pressure of retaining the title, the Canadian star Marler had much to say.
‘The level of talent in the King’s Sports Centre Division 1 indoor soccer program continues to improve every season making it more and more difficult to stay on top of the scorers table,’ Marler said.
‘With each season I have had to adapt to the challenge of being even more closely marked. My team has been instrumental to my success by putting me in situations where I have high percentage chance of scoring goals.
‘Their hard work and support has afforded me the chance at a third consecutive scoring title, which I do think I have a good shot at winning. It would be really awesome to hold the title for three consecutive seasons.’
However Carter’s stellar play will be Marler’s biggest obstacle. Carter said he was confident about his play this season.
‘I’m not worried about [Marler’s] play. We’ve been battling for weeks. I’m just going to concentrate on our final game and try to score a few more goals.’
Records are meant to be broken but if Marler is able to finish the season in first place, he will set a record that is unlikely to be beaten for a long time.