Fernandes upbeat about Guyana’s prospects in Diamond hockey festival

Hikers’ Aroydy Brandford remains his side’s top striker heading into the Diamond festival. (Royston Alkins photo)

Now that the annual GTT National Indoor Hockey championships are done and dusted, the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) is shifting its focus to hosting the 2018 edition of the Diamond Mineral Indoor Hockey Festival, billed for the weekend of November 29 – December 2, 2018.

The Festival, according to Philip Fernandes, President of GHB, will include a number of teams from Trinidad and Tobago and Canada – two of the top teams in the Americas that consistently play at a high standard.

Fernandes though is heartened by the performances and form of the local teams following the conclusion of the recent indoor championships, which he believes may give the Guyanese an edge. 

GCC’s Gabriella Xavier, one of the main cogs in her side, will be keen on meeting Hikers and the international teams this year again. (Royston Alkins photo)

“We have some very competitive teams this year and the teams coming are very strong. Trinidad is a very powerful nation; they have good sides coming. The Canadian ladies are coming and no doubt they will be strong as well.

“But I think what we’ve seen here tonight [Sunday], men’s teams that are very competitive with each other and at a very high and impressive level and a ladies’ finals that was fantastic and they can pull a few surprises as well in the Diamond,” the Hockey Board President told Stabroek Sport.

The championship was indeed full of thrills and excitement, especially on finals day where most of the teams had to dig deep for their titles.

Two of five finals had to be settled by penalty shootouts while the Hikers, who captured both first division titles, required flashes of brilliance to earn their crowns.

The 2017 edition of the festival saw Trinidad and Tobago Queen’s Park Hockey Club (QPHC) exacting a measure of revenge for their 2016 defeat to Pepsi Hikers by defeating their arch rivals 8 – 3 in an exciting final which was not reflected in the score line.

Hikers’ Aroydy Brandford was the festival’s `hit-man’ after he finished with 25 conversions, the most in the tournament.

While Hikers and QPHC will be favoured to battle each other in the finals once again,

Nicole Eastman should be full of confidence heading into the Diamond Mineral Water Festival following her side’s spirited run in the just concluded GTT indoor championships. (Royston Alkins photo)

the re-emergence of Old Fort and the consistent presence of GCC will no doubt add to the excitement when the tournament gets underway at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, the 2017 ladies title went to Guyana’s GBTI GCC Tigers who edged their local counterparts – the Lady Hikers 1-0 – in a penalty shootout courtesy of brilliant goalkeeping from ‘keeper’ Briawna Gorgon.

Gorgon had two blocks with the conversion coming from Gabriella Xavier which decided the eventual outcome.

Both sides will be keen to square off again following Hikers’ win over the GCC ladies on Sunday in the women’s final of the GTT indoor championships.

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