Skills, talent and passion buttressed by 10 goals were on display as Garden Stars and Master Ballers recorded contrasting wins on the opening night of the Warriors Cup 2023 at the Radio Range playfield.
Inspired by striker Karique Knight’s brace, Garden Stars romped over host club, Young Warriors 5-0 in the game that kicked-off the seventeen-year tournament which began in 2006 while Master Ballerz survived a late scare to overcome CPTSA Wings 3-2 in the feature contest.
Knight – who represented Antigua & Barbuda against Guadeloupe in the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifier in Miami last June – put Garden Stars ahead after 10 minutes and extended their advantage 12 minutes later.
Kemoye Walsh made it 3-0 before half-time with a 38th-minut strike before substitute Allan Martin and Tequan Anthony added further goals in the space of three minutes on 65 minutes as Garden Stars won without the presence of their coach, Astel Joseph, who is coaching the national senior female team in the CONCACAF W Nations League.
Young Warriors – featuring a few pre-teens players – as well as guest-player Zaheim Greene, a national youth team selectee, who tried to rally his team-mates with his close-ball dribbles and vision, were no-match for the superior Garden Stars, who will play in the top Premier Division this season for the first time in their history.
Ballerz, under the guidance of experienced coach, Vincent ‘Nabu’ Samuel, were seemingly coasting to an easy win when they went 3-0 up a minute after half-time but Wings – inspired by female coach and former national forward, Georgette Lewis, — hit back two score twice to ensure a nervy end to the game.
Elroy Roache’s second-minute strike gave Ballerz the early lead which was extended by Sakidi Meade on 12 minutes before Teejay Roberts’ 41st minute goal after the re-start looked to have wrapped-up three points. But Wings’ Kadeem Campbell ran clear of the Ballerz’ defence to cut the deficit to 3-1 before Marvin Mosses netted an own goal with a minute remaining, but the home team held on to join Garden Stars at the top of the standings.
Organisers accepted a late request from Sea View Farm on Thursday to be included in the tournament to make it a five-team affair. Sea View Farm oppose Young Warriors in Friday’s lone contest at 6pm at Radio Range. The Warriors Cup continues on Saturday and Sunday with double-headers starting at 5pm.
An aged-group competition involving Under 10, 13 & 16 teams will be played on Saturday and Sunday starting at 1pm on both days at Radio Range.
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