It is done! St. Paul’s United takes Premier League title in hard-fought Best of Three

St. Paul’s United defeated SOL Island Auto Conaree, 1-0, in the second game of the Best of Three final in their encounter on July 28, at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium.

Keithroy Freeman hammered home the one and only goal to be scored in the night’s play in the 30th minute of play that left Conaree in the unusual position, at least in the last few games, of having to ‘come from behind’. The team played strong in offense, looked good in strategic plays down the left and right flanks of the field, but St. Paul’s defense was up to the task, as they fended off multiple attempts by Conaree to score. On the other hand, the Conaree’s defense seemed to be the team’s Achilles heel, and St. Paul’s took advantage in their two games in the Best of Three.

St-Pauls-VictoryThe understandably tense encounter, with so much at stake for Conaree and the pressure for St. Paul to avoid a third game led to several infringement by players, all receiving Yellow Cards – three assigned to Conaree and two to St. Paul’s. Medical attention also had to be paid to a number of players from both teams as the aggressive play increased and the desperation for victory became more pronounced.

But, St. Paul’s quest to the championship was made easier by the overwhelming support received from the hundreds of fans who journeyed from their hometown, including their parliamentary representative and former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.

Conaree’s second half play was much more determined, and with four minutes remaining in extra time, they managed a late burst of shots to the goal. Unfortunately, none found the back of the net.

Coach for the two-peat champions, Dico Huggins, said he felt very ecstatic to have again won the title. “I am very happy because it was a hard fought series and finals and the guys played well and played hard and am so glad that we won.”

For Huggins, the signs of victory lingered even before Tuesday night’s second game. He said he knew they were on the road to win the championship from since the 3-1 victory in the first match on Saturday 25th July, at the same venue.

Huggins said that there was another reason for the high level of confidence, explaining that since Conaree defeated them in 2013 to win the championship at the Silver Jubilee Stadium (now Kim Collins Stadium), they have not managed to score another victory over St. Paul’s.

He said Conaree’s failure was in their weak defense. On the other hand, St. Paul’s, he said, used a strategy to constantly move the ball around and took advantage of the fact that Conaree was failing to mark their opponents in a manner to prevent penetration to score.

The coach said this victory will greatly boost the spirits of the people of the home community and encourage more support for the team at all levels. He said the team had been struggling for while and going through some “bad patches”. They started the season with a team that played like it would not make it to the top but in the end, he said it was a remarkable performance to reach and win the Final Four and then the title after the Best of Three.

The final standings for the tournament leaves St. Paul’s as champions, for a second consecutive year, followed by Conaree, Village Superstars and St. Peters.


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