Coconut Joe’s are the new champions of division two five-a-side football.
The squad capped off an amazing playoff run with a 2-0 win over an upstart UBS team. Chris Ordolis was the hero on the night scoring both goals.
WestTel Arena at King’s Sports Centre hosted the match last Wednesday. Some 40 spectators of all ages showed up to watch the indoor action.
Division Two may be considered a social, relaxed league but the championship game was anything but rosy and friendly.
Both teams came out with an intense demeanour, intent to win and play their hearts out.
The game saw plenty of tackles, even those of the sliding variety, firm passing up and down the court and plenty of yelling and shouting from the players.
The first half was a tight affair. The teams did spend some time feeling each other out but both squads were jittery and did their best to control urges for an all-out rush on goal.
Many balls would end up over the protective netting around the arena and scream off the boards near the goal.
The keepers got a bit of a workout though as a couple of shots were on target and forced saves that only those with quick reflexes could make.
Early in the first half the game would get some of the scoring it desperately needed as Ordolis slotted home a solid pass up front to give Coconut the lead.
At half-time UBS were surprisingly upbeat. The side talked about finding the energy to continue to attack and not be trapped into staying on defense. The squad felt a goal would go in for them with good passing and just a few lucky bounces.
But in the second half they would get no such luck. They did press forward to test the Coconut keeper. However their yellow warrior was up to the task as he leapt from side of goal to the other brushing aside everything UBS hit his way.
His Coconut team-mates meanwhile continued to challenge the UBS defense. Midway through the quarter Ordolis would put the nail in UBS’s coffin.
Midfielder John Collins made a solid pass up front to striker Ian Kenyon. Then Kenyon dribbled down the left flank before sending a cross through the heart of the UBS defense.
The ball landed at the feet of Ordolis who confidently fired it home past the UBS keeper who dived the wrong way.
The goal was a demoralising blow to UBS though the bankers continued to work hard. They did their best to mount attacks but it was obvious the second goal made the side hesitant to wander from their goal.
Soon the whistle would sound and the Coconut Joe’s side rushed onto the court to celebrate.
Meanwhile UBS could only file out of their bench and shake hands with their opponents, wondering what could have been.
Both teams however should walk away with a sense of pride at reaching the final. During their playoff runs, which began the end of September, both sides have produced stunning upsets.
UBS would take down a HSBC side that was second in goals with 50 in the Gold Conference. From there they took down the previously undefeated Transformers and leading X-Gen Conference scorer Dominique Pearson.
Finally in the semi-finals the squad would tame the KPMG Blue Iguanas and their triple-headed scoring attack of Kenneth Adumekwe, Richard Reading and Nick Evans.
Meanwhile Coconut Joe’s defeated Ey Old Man United and their scoring duo of Rob Patraulea and Shervin Rankin.
From there the undefeated Old Boys would be next to falter. In the semi-finals the side upset the X-Gen Conference’s top-scoring team in McAlpine United.
Bear in mind both squads were mediocre teams in the X-Gen Conference. Coconut Joe’s were just 6-5-1 with 47 goals scores and 30 allowed. Ian Kenyon was their biggest play-maker ranking fifth in the league in goals with 15.
UBS were not any better. The side actually finished right behind Coconut Joe’s in the standings at 5-5-2. They scored the third fewest goals with 44 and gave up the third most goals with 42. On offense they did have options in the form of top-15 goal scorers Craig Florence, Colm Moynihan and Derek Czarnota.
For Coconut Joe’s captain John Collins the win was a satisfying end to a long season.
‘I would just like to thank King’s and in particular the referees for a great season. It was a tough one from start to finish, but I have to say it was enjoyable. This season was far more challenging than our previous win two years back which makes our victory even more enjoyable.
‘I think this season proves yet again that going undefeated in the league doesn’t always cut it.’
Ultimately Kings Sports Centre Athletic Director Raymond Singh said Coconut Joe’s played well and deserved the title.
‘Congratulations to Coconut Joe’s, on taking the WestTel Division Two title against UBS. It was a fantastic display of talent and sportsmanship by both teams.’
The final game of the 2007-2008 five-a-side football season will take place tonight. RCC Strikers will square off with Britthay Warriors in the Division One final at 7pm.