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Press Release From Independent Source

VI Football Masters take second place in St Maarten

- squad captures Best Goalkeeper & Golden Boots individual awards.
July 30th, 2019 | Tags: sports Football BVI Masters press release
BVI Lightening Masters Squad. Photo: Provided
BVI Thunder Masters Squad. Photo: Provided
BVI Thunder Masters Squad. Photo: Provided
PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten - The BVI Masters football (soccer) team was in St Maarten this past weekend to participate in the 9th annual St Martin Veterans Over-40 Tournament.

According to a press release on the tournament, a total of 8 teams registered for the event, representing both the French (St Martin) and Dutch (St Maarten) sides of The Friendly Island, as well as Anguilla, Dominica and the VI.  It was the 7th time a team representing the VI was playing in the tournament, having won it in 2012 and 2014. 

This year, the interest by VI-based players was so strong that 26 men made the trip across to St Maarten, the largest Masters squad to ever represent the Territory at the tournament.  As a result, it was decided to enter 2 BVI teams - dubbed BVI Lightning Masters and BVI Thunder Masters - in the tournament, so that all 26 players would get significant playing time and to increase the VI’s chances of success and advancement to the play-off rounds. 

On Saturday, the Lightning Masters set the tone early by defeating the RISC Takers FC from Dutch St Maarten 4-0 in the opening match of the tournament, with a hat-trick by Humphry Leue and the other goal by Franklyn Victor. 

The team later faced another Dutch side in its zone, the powerful and defending champions Veendam FC, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw after a well-fought battle. Victor scored the lone goal for the VI in that encounter. The Thunder Masters we not as lucky, losing 1-0 to All Stars Veterans from Dominica and 3-1 to United Super Force from French St Martin.

On Sunday, VI Lightning faced arch-rivals and tournament hosts St Martin Veterans in their final qualifying zone match, in the blistering mid-day heat, to decide who would advance to the championship game. The BVI squad was determined to avenge its loss to the St Martin team in October of last year at the East End/Greenland field in Tortola, and thanks to 2 more goals from Victor and some incredible saves by goalkeeper Haenif “Size” James, the BVI Lightning Masters came out victorious by a score of 2–1, making it through to the finals where they would meet the Anguilla Masters who won their zone, despite losing by 2-1 to the BVI Thunder Masters who recovered nicely after their slow start on Saturday. 

All three of the goals for the Thunder in their 3 matches were scored by Fitzroy “Dutty Roy” Daley in his debut for the BVI Football Masters.

In the championship match on Sunday afternoon between BVI Lightning Masters and Anguilla Masters, each having already played 3 matches in 2 days, both teams started showing signs of fatigue, not to mention age, and the match became a defensive and strategic battle.  Each team had scoring chances, with the Lightning being the more aggressive of the two.  However, neither side was able to find the back of the net and the match ended in a 0–0 draw.

The tournament rules called for two 10-minute extra time periods in the event of a draw after regulation in the final match, so the finalists dribbled, passed and took shots for an additional 20 minutes but again were unsuccessful in scoring any goals.  

A penalty shoot-out would thus determine who would take the Champions Trophy and who would be the runners up. For the BVI, Victor solidified his position as the ‘goal getter’ of the tournament with a well-placed penalty to put the Lightning ahead 1-0. Anguilla Masters missed two of their 5 penalties, opening the door for the VI team, and Kenmore “Silk” Peters and Garnet “Duba” Ferron kept Lightning’s hopes alive. However, Rohan Sweeney and Bernard “Pedge” Grant also missed the mark for the VI so after 3 – 3 draw the match moved to sudden-death penalties. 

Anguilla made their first one and it was then up to team Captain Anslem “Danny” Joseph to keep things going. The dramatic end then unfolded when the Anguilla goalkeeper guessed correctly, dove to his right, and made a brilliant save to give the other visitors the victory – Lightning had to settle for second place.

However, in addition to taking home the 2nd Place trophy, the VI were also awarded two individual trophies: Best Goalkeeper of the tournament for James’ heroics between the goal posts, and Golden Boots award for Victor’s unmatched 5 goals scored – and impressive result and a testament to the hard work put-in by the men from the VI.

After the tournament, a tired but happy Head Coach Ferron commented “I am proud of how the men conducted themselves both on and off the field. We set high expectations for ourselves coming into the tournament, in fact that was the theme and motto that I conveyed to the squad for the weekend, and I must say we lived-up to it despite not winning it all.” Team Leader Humphry Leue added “It was another enjoyable Masters football tournament, the hospitality and organization by our friends in St. Maarten were wonderful as always. It must be said that we represented the BVI well."

"It has been a few years since any of our Masters teams had advanced to the finals of a tournament, so we are showing signs of improvement. The next test will be in October when we host our own tournament in Tortola again, but in the meantime we will relish in the memories of this experience.”

Lightning Team Captain Joseph expressed his congratulatory remarks on behalf of the VI group to the Anguilla Masters on their well-deserved victory, and said “we came up short in the end, but more importantly we fostered new friendships, did not suffer any major injuries and will return home with our heads held high,” before adding with a broad smile “just in time to enjoy the BVI Festival activities!”

The VI Squad: Anthony Bramble, Fitzroy Daley, Michael Dennis, Stevan Douglas, Hilary Edwards, Kelvin Eubanks, Garnet Ferron, Michael Fearon, Bernard Grant, Kenrick Grant, Sheldon Harry, Franklyn James, Haenif James, Anslem Joseph, Kenmore Peters, Humphry Leue, Rufino Lin, Nyron Morris, Rodney Prince, Richard Reid, Richard Ross, Daniel Salmon, Rodney Salmon, Rohan Sweeney, and Franklyn Victor.

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