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The 50 overs day/night warm-up match between West Indies ‘A’ and South Africa finished in a tie (D/L Method) after rain forced an early end to the match at the Queen’s Park Oval in the Port of Spain on Sunday. The teams were level on the Duckworth-Lewis method when heavy showers washed out the hosts’ chase on 127/3 in the 25th over. 

 

It was a frustrating end after a productive start from the seamers, who bowled with good pace and rhythm in response to the batting effort of 280/9 in 50 overs. All of the seamers managed to put in valuable mileage on their feet, with Kyle Abbott (1/11), Kagiso Rabada (1/13) and Imran Tahir (1/15) picking up wickets before the rain set in. 

 

Earlier, Hashim Amla anchored the Proteas’ innings with 92 off 83 balls, after stand-in captain, JP Duminy, won the toss and elected to bat. Amla’s innings was an excellent mix of classy stroke-play (10 fours, 1 six) and patient rotation of the strike, with the 33 year-old making a swift adjustment to the change in format following his Indian Premier League stint earlier this month.

 

The lower order and tailenders smashed 82 runs off the last 13 overs to race to a competitive total given the slow conditions, with impressive contributions from Chris Morris (31 off 24 balls), Kyle Abbott (43 off 38 balls) and Aaron Phangiso (34 off 34 balls).

 

West Indies legspinner, Damion Jacobs, finished with figures of 4/53 and perhaps gave an early indication of the key role spin will play in the upcoming series.

Marvin Gordon put his hands on his maiden trophy – since becoming Defence Force head coach 17 months ago – after the Army/Coast Guard combination defeated a weakened W Connection side 2-1 in the Digicel Pro Bowl 2016 final on Friday night.

Midfielders Jerwyn Balthazar and former Connection star Hashim Arcia scored within a space of three minutes at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva to put Defence Force in control, 2-0, by the half-hour mark before a stunning second half goal by Connection’s Aikim Andrews had many of the 3,000 plus spectators thrilled.

But the 30-yard cannon-strike, which found the top corner of goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke’s netting in the 77th-minute from a set piece, wasn’t enough to deny Defence Force their first trophy since 2013 and revenge against the side that defeated them 4-0 in the final of this season’s Toyota Classic last December.

W Connection, who also won this season’s First Citizens Cup, had to settle for runners-up – the position they also finished in this season’s Lucozade Sport Goal Shield (won by Morvant Caledonia United) and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship (won by Central FC).

Meanwhile Defence Force, who finished ahead of Connection, only by a single goal-difference, in a creditable third position in the Digicel Pro League behind champions Central FC and runners-up San Juan Jabloteh, ended the season with the Pro Bowl trophy and the $100,000 winners’ cash prize on the final day.

Gordon played down his side's third place finish in the League and Pro Bowl title by saying the season turned out "okay" but said he was thrilled to reward the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force with the Pro Bowl title.

“The focus was to win the league,” said Gordon who had won the Pro Bowl in 2012 – one of five titles including the Digicel Pro League in 2010/11 and 2012/13 and the 2009 First Citizens Cup captured by Defence Force FC between 2009 and 2013 – but as assistant coach to Ross Russell.

“But we weren’t consistent in the league and even missed finishing in the top two. We had some bad patches but it was learning experience for me in terms of being a head coach for the first time in a full season. Next season I will be more prepared as a head coach.

“We were able to end with the Pro Bowl title which is for the entire Defence Force—not just for me and of course the players who have worked really hard for me, but for the people at Defence Force who do everything to make sure we can come and play.”

Balthazar put the soldiers ahead in the 27th-minute on Friday night when he slid in beyond the Connection defence to direct a left side Aklie Edwards’ cross past goalkeeper Terrence Lewis.

Then rubbing salt to the wound of his former employers, Arcia executed a cool chip past Lewis after holding off a challenge from defender Jelani Peters from close up to score after 30 minutes.

However Arcia, who made the switch to Defence Force from Connection at the end of last season, failed to continue beyond the 44th-minute due to a hamstring strain, forcing Gordon into a premature substitution with the use of midfielder Akeem Roach following the break.

After the game, Arcia said Connection contributed a lot in his development as a player and while it has taken some time “to get into grove at Defence Force”, he was happy to help his new team become champions again.

Lewis, Connection's second choice 'keeper, did avoid conceding a third goal seven minutes before the break by diving to his right to put a left-footed blast from Ross Russell Jr. behind for a corner.

But Connection, despite being without twelve regular players due to international duties for their respective national teams, did have their chances on either side of the break.

“We could have done better,” said W Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier, who fielded a starting XI that included 19-year-old senior team debutant Jordan Riley, and a bench full of Reserve Team players due to the absence of 12 senior team players.

Jomal Williams, Shahdon Winchester, Alvin Jones, Daneil Cyrus, Hughtun Hector and Triston Hodge are away on international duty with the T&T senior team for a three-game friendly tour while Gerard Williams and goalkeeper Julani Archibald (St. Kitts/Nevis), Briel Thomas and Anfernee Frederick (Dominica), Jamal Charles (Grenada) and Dimitrie Apai (Suriname) were all summoned to their respective national teams for Caribbean Cup qualifiers next week.

Fevrier also stood without some of the club’s top Under-18 players: Isaiah Hudson, Keston Julien, Kerron Mason and Isaiah Garcia, and 19-year-olds Kori Cupid and Jabari Mitchell who are all committed to the T&T Under-20 team preparing for Caribbean U20 qualifiers from June 15 to 19.

Charles-Fevrier continued, “We created four clear cut chances in the first half (against Defence Force) and weren’t able to score one, and made it very difficult for ourselves. [But] in terms of territorial play we had much more control. We were always in the game although Defence Force went two goals up, but in the end inexperience let us down because we didn’t have amount of experience on the pitch to really help us to overhaul a good Defence Force team.

“But I am very proud of the effort from our players. I felt the team we had tonight were capable of winning the game but it just wasn’t our night.”

Veteran midfielder Andre Toussaint saw his 16th-minute effort cleared off the line by Defence Force defender Jalani Felix and two minutes later St. Lucia forward Malik St. Prix headed overbar off a cross from left full-back and captain Kurt Frederick.

Another Frederick cross two minutes inside the second half and Toussaint’s header was foiled by eventual final MVP Clarke, who had made a stop against Kevon Goddard following a sweeping move by Connection five minutes before the break.

Connection got close again when a 61st-minute Toussaint strike flashed overbar and moments later Clarke was forced into a save by Andrews.

However Clarke – not even on his best night – was unable to stop Andrews’ rocket which reduced the deficit 1-2.

Andrews had a similar attempt nine minutes later but was fractionally off with his attempt off a short Frederick free-kick flying overbar.

Defence Force had two early chances in the second half to increase the pressure on their opponents but substitute Roach drilled a 51st-minute effort wide following a cheeky feed from striker Devorn Jorsling, and five minutes later following another feed from the veteran forward, Russell, too, failed to hit the target from inside the box.

“It was a great game,” Gordon said. “W Connection really came and play regardless of having a number of younger players. They put up a good fight. Both teams had chances but we could have put away the game early.”


Digicel Pro Bowl 2016 Final

Friday May 27

W Connection 1 (Aikim Andrews 77') vs Defence Force 2 (Jerwyn Balthazar 27', Hashim Arcia 30'), at the Ato Boldon Stadium

Trinidad and Tobago stunned the number 9th ranked team in the world with a sixth minute opening goal from midfielder Jomal Williams but it was just about the highlights of their evening, as Uruguay forced themselves back into the contest to come away 3-1 winners in Friday night’s International Friendly at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

Playing before just about 10,000 fans, T&T surged ahead in the 7th when the DirecTV W Connection attacking duo of Shahdon Winchester and Williams combined in a nicely orchestrated goal. Winchester challenged for a high ball and found the ball at its feet before looking up and laying off on his right for an onrushing Williams to clinically sidefoot past Martin Silva for a 1-0 lead.

The early goal settled T&T but Uruguay were left trying to regroup from the unexpected setback.

But even in the absence of injured Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, the hosts began to find their rhythm and struck back through Paris St-Germain striker Edinson Cavani who tied the scores with a 26th minute penalty.

Stephen Hart started with Andre Boucaud, Williams, Levi Garcia, Khaleem Hyland and Williams in the middle along with Winchester and debutant Nathan Lewis. The defence comprises of Daneil Cyrus, Tristan Hodge, Aubrey David and Weslie John with Marvin Phillip in goal.

Three minutes from half-time, with defender Tristan Hodge receiving treatment on the sideline, Cavani punished the T&T defense for failing to clear and he shot past a hapless Marvin Phillip from inside the penalty box. The brace for Cavani moved above Hector Scarone into third in the all-time scorers list for Uruguay with 32 goals from 81 appearances.

Fiorentina midfielder Matias Vecino pushed Uruguay 3-1 ahead in the 61st minute as the hometeam found themselves in the driver’s seat from that point. T&T had some good moments after that but couldn’t break the Uruguay backline. Hyland had a good low effort which was pushed around the post for a corner after a good lay off by Winchester.

Twelve minutes from time, defender Daneil Cyrus averted danger with a timely clearance when a fourth Uruguay goal looked certain.

In his post-match comments, Hart summed up the performance, saying he was partially pleased with the way his team picked their game up from Monday’s 4-0 defeat to Peru in Lima.

“I thought we were much improved from the game against Peru. We at times possessed the ball well, we recovered it well, we defended as we know you would have to when being away from home against one of the best teams in the world. We could have gotten a little more out of the game if we could have played a bit faster and moved the ball forward a little bit faster,” Hart told TTFA Media.

“Those were the aspects of the performance which was for me the most important thing. There are a few of course we know we have to correct but overall there were some good individual and collective performances,” he added.

“At times we recovered well and we did some good things. But there was a bit of naivety at times with the goals we conceded. We coped well for the first 25 minutes but we made mental errors which we paid for.

“I was really impressed with the ball speed of Uruguay and their pressing was impressive. They can play one touch out of the air for two or three passes and they have very dynamic movement off the ball. The reason they can play that way is because of the environment they play in. They only had two players form the local league here. Everyone else is playing in foreign leagues and those leagues demand that you play at a particular speed,” Hart concluded

Hodge, a defender with DirecTV W Connection had to be taken to hospital during the match. Team Doctor Terence Babwah stated that the player suffered a cerebral concussion and underwent a CT scan at hospital. He was later discharged and rejoined the rest of the squad at the team’s hotel. Babwah said the player was experiencing headaches and dizziness and would be monitored over the next twenty-four hours.

The T&T team will now head to Qin Huang Dao for their next International Friendly against China on June 3rd.

 

Goals:

Uruguay: Cavani (26’ penalty and 39’), Vecino (61)

Trinidad and Tobago: Williams (6’)

Yellow cards: Leston Paul (90)

Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s Team will square off with Uruguay from 7:10pm TT time on Friday night in their second international friendly of the three-game international schedule in Montevideo.

The “Soca Warriors” will be looking to improve on their 4-0 defeat to Peru on Monday as they continue their build up towards remaining CONCACAF semi-final round fixtures while Uruguay are preparing for the Copa America Centenario. Uruguay opens their Copa account against Mexico on June 5th.

Local fans can view the match live on Flow Sports channel 95.

 

T&T will be without the services of Radanfah Abu Bakr who was red carded against Peru as well as Yohance Marshall and Nathan Lewis, still nursing hamstring strains, Hughtun Hector, heel contusion and Daneil Cyrus who suffered a groin strain in Monday’s encounter.

“We know we have to regroup for this encounter,” head coach Hart told TTFA Media on Thursday.

“We accept the challenge before us and we will focus on our improving on our performance. Unfortunately we have been hit with several injuries which we need to cope with,” Hart added.

T&T captain Khaleem Hyland was equally concerned but hopeful of a better showing from the team.

“It is disappointing coming off the loss against Peru.We learnt a lot from it. We gave them a lot of room to play which we shouldn’t have. We know the quality Uruguay has, even without Suarez, they have a lot of good players in their team,” Hyland said.

“The mood in the camp is still good. Everyone is trying to push each other and make each other better. There are a lot of young players who do not have much experience. But we, the senior players are trying to encourage them. We have been in this situation before so it’s a process. You don’t get much opportunity to play teams of this quality so we need to maximize it.

“I think it’s great for us to play these games. Unfortunately we didn’t have the full squad to be more competitive. But so it has been done. These three games are great for us to give other players an opportunity so that the coaches can see what they have and for them to have better selection options for the games against the United States and Guatemala,” Hyland added.

Barcelona star Luis Suarez is reported to be missing the encounter due to a hamstring injury but they are likely to have the likes of Paris Saint Germain forward Edinson Cavani, Middlesbrough forward Cristhian Stuani, hull City forward Abel Hernandez and experienced Independiente midfielder Cristian Rodriguez. Athletico Bilbao duo Diego Godin and Jose Giminez will also miss out with the UEFA Champions League final scheduled for tomorrow May 28th.

T&T will travel to face China on June 3rd following Friday’s match in Montevideo.

The 2016 Miller Lite Beer/Coca Cola/Dasani Water TTAFF National Premier Champions All-Fours League kicked off it’s 2016 season with a glittering Opening Ceremony on Friday night at the Bamboo Restaurant & Bar in Couva.

 

 

Sales Manager, South Division of Caribbean Bottlers Limited, Mr. Vijay Ramcharitar,  welcomed the twelve  Premier League Teams  to this year’s Championships and urged them to play the game with passion, but most importantly to play the game with the level of discipline and fairplay synonomous with the goals of the Trinidad and Tobago All-Fours Federation.

 

 

He said that Caribbean Bottlers Limited is extremely excited to partner once again with TTAFF and shares the same vision  of TTAFF in spreading the sport to the rural communities and hope that with this symbiotic relationship with the players and supporters that Miller Lite Beer will stand out as the Premier Drinking Beer in the Championships.

 

 

Mr. Lincoln Persad , CEO of the Federation  thanked Caribbean Bottlers Limited for sharing the same vision for the sport and urged players and supporters to value the level of sponsorship by purchasing all the Exclusive products of the Company so that this partnership will continue in the years to come.

 

 

He went on too add, that TTAFF  being the recognised National Body for the sport, has tremendous responsibility to grow the sport not only in the rural communities but in the Corporate Sector by widening the pool of players thereby making the sport accepted and recognised locally as legitimate.

 

 

Teams playing in the Premier  Champions League this year will play for over $ 650,000.00 in Prizes and incentives making it once again the richest National League in the country’s  sporting history.

 

 

Mr. Persad reiterated that TTAFF remains in his opinion, the only National Sporting Organisation which raises over a million dollars to subsidise it’s  Four National Competitions  and Development Programmes  and  hopes that with Corporate and Ministry’s support  in 2016 they will be able to meet it’s Expenditure.

 

 

Action started the same weekend 2015 National Premier Champions, the Princes Town Rambo 12, won their first two matches , when they overcame a 10 bullseye deficit at half time 30-21 against  2015 National Finalists  Couva Young Bloods  to take the match 61-58 and against 2011 National Chmapions the Couva Defiance when they won 61-47.

 

 

In other matches played , the Forres Park Bulls got past the Marabella Assassins 61-40 by a commanding 21 bullseyes after taking the first half 30-20.  

 

 

International Cup Champions Basta Hall BA Yankees won their two matches, winning 61-35 against the Oropouche D Clique and  the Diego Martin Yard Crew 61-56.

 

 

Clubs wishing to participate in the Corporate Division and the 2016 National Championship Division  6 Table All-Fours Championships, due to start in  mid June this year, can register early by contacting the League’s Office at 652-6875, 466-3686 – Sherwin , Bally – 687-0903 , Ashmeed – 460-3821 , Archie – 740-6446 or Corbie – 332-4413.

Tobago teams can contact Mrs. Sandra Gopaul – 499-4210.

 

 

W Connection, winners of this season's First Citizens Cup and Toyota Classic, will attempt a third domestic knockout title this calendar when they tackle Defence Force in the season-culminating Digicel Pro Bowl 2016 final from 8pm on Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Connection left full-back and interim captain Kurt Frederick said wining the Pro Bowl title could ease the “Savonetta Boys” disappointment after finishing fourth in the 2015/16 Digicel Pro League (DPL)—outside the top-two qualifying zone for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship which serves as the Caribbean qualifier to the CONCACAF Champions League.

Connection will compete at the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League beginning in August, after qualifying out of the 2016 CFU Club Championship by finishing runners-up behind Trinidadian rivals and two-time Caribbean holders Central FC.

But coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s “Savonetta Boys” must spectate next season when this season's DPL champions Central and runners-up San Juan Jabloteh contest the 2017 CFU Club Championship with the hopes of qualifying for the 2017/18 CONCACAF Champions League. Central, then, will attempt a third consecutive CFU crown while former champions Jabloteh returns to the Caribbean tournament for the first time since 2010.

“We (W Connection) always want to be at the CONCACAF stage,” said Frederick. “We failed [to finish top-two in the league this season] but next season we will try to finish better and attempt to reach CONCACAF again.”

The 25-year-old St. Lucia international added, “We will try to do everything in our power to win the game (against Defence Force) on Friday to win the Pro Bowl, so we can be a little happier and take some of the disappointment of not finishing in the top-two in the league out of our minds.”

Connection, the most successful club in the Pro Bowl with four titles (2004, 2007, 2013 & 2014), got to their overall eight final of the tournament by defeating North East Stars 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a goalless semi-final draw on May 13 after edging Police FC 4-3 three days earlier in the quarter-finals.

Connection are coming off last Friday’s 5-2 win over Club Sando in their final league game of the season and are on a four-game winning streak in all competitions as they head into their fifth knockout final of the season after the First Citizens Cup and Toyota Classic (which they won) and the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield (won by Morvant Caledonia United) and CFU Club Championship (won by Central FC).

But coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s side are without six regulars – Jomal Williams, Shahdon Winchester, Alvin Jones, Daneil Cyrus, Hughtun Hector and Triston Hodge – currently with the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

 

“We don’t have some players [at present] but we have played good in the last two games [with the squad we have available],” said Frederick. “We know it will be a lot harder now—it’s a final and we expect Defence Force to come very physical like they usually do. We must remain mentally strong and the players with more experience, like myself, must show confidence in all the players we have available to do well.”


Connection defeated Defence Force 4-0 in the final of the Toyota Classic last December, but since then the “Savonetta Boys” have lost two of three league clashes against the Army/Coast Guard combination with the latest a 1-0 loss on May 6 after midfielder Hashim Arcia netted late against his former side.


Digicel Pro Bowl 2016 Final
Friday May 27
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva

W Connection vs Defence Force—8pm

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