Cayman Field Hockey Club played three matches in Jamaica on Saturday and, despite the grueling schedule, managed to win two of them.
All matches were played at the Mona Hockey Field in Kingston on a recently laid new hockey surface which still has some settling in to do, making ball control difficult at times.
Cayman’s opening match was against the Jamaican national women’s squad, who compete at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico City this weekend.
Cayman started well, going one up with their first attack. Following good interplay between Mark Williams, Sarah Pinches and Nigel Bates, Sarah Knight at the back post scored superbly.
The pace of the game, along with the heat, was soon taking its toll on Cayman’s very experienced squad.
Jamaica nicked an equalizer, just being quicker to react to a deflection off keeper Ivan Burges.
Allum Fergusson, ably helped by Jenna Mungall, found space and was able to restore Cayman’s lead.
Jamaica hit back again with an equalizer in virtually the last action of the first half.
Halftime brought a welcome rest, and in the second half both sides found the going tough, most of the play being confined to the midfield area with few scoring chances being created.
Fortunately for Cayman, Barry Crane and Pinches had a quick exchange of passes which created space for Fergusson.
He stormed into the Jamaican penalty area and crashed Cayman’s third and what proved winning goal past a diving goalkeeper.
After the shock of this victory, Cayman were brought down to earth by their next opponents, Monroe.
Again, Cayman started fast, scoring early from a rare short corner, being successfully converted by the evergreen Mark Williams. Just before halftime, Monroe equalized with a well worked move.
The break gave Cayman a brief recovery time, but the heat of the midday sun really took it toll in the second half .
The lack of young legs with plenty of running power, particularly in midfield, left Cayman’s defenders struggling, with defensive errors and misplaced passes being a feature of the second half.
This resulted in Cayman conceding two soft goals and losing 3-1.
The final game was at dusk against the Phat Thursday’z senior team and playing for the Alex Horner Memorial Trophy.
Cayman reinforced its defense by moving Harriet Chere into the right back position and went back to basics, maintaining a settled team throughout the game.
An enjoyable closely matched game ensued, with chances rare. It was no surprise at the final whistle that the score was 0-0.
To break the stalemate, a penalty flick competition followed with both teams having five flicks.
The result was in the balance with both sides having a penalty saved, and then a flick was disallowed as the ball was struck as opposed to a flick.
This left Williams to flick the last penalty, which he did with aplomb, and so ensured Cayman would retain the Alex Horner Memorial Trophy for a third straight year with a 4-3 victory.
Cayman Field Hockey Club meets each Tuesday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.caymanhockey.com.