Guardian and Scotiabank are crowned champions of CariFin’s ‘bat and ball’
Guardian squeeze past Central Bank on penalties; Soctiabank trump Republic in big hitting cricket final
Guardian Group and Scotiabank were the champions of the ‘bat and ball’ yesterday as the 25th edition of the CariFin Games continued with some intriguing cricket and football action at the Republic Bank Sports Club in Barataria.
There were no lucrative cash prizes on offer, like the TT$ one million Pro League winner’s purse, but the players and their co-workers from the various financial institutions brought their full competitive spirits. With 7-a-side football and cricket underway, the eager participants tried their best to channel their inner “Messi” or “Chris Gayle.”
The day ebbed and flowed nicely, and some crafty goals on the football field were matched by some gigantic hitting from the cricketers on the southern end of the compound. The spectators were well in the thick of things too, and several persons were made to scamper as some miscued rockets from the footballers threatened to sour their afternoon. The footballers probably had some issues adjusting to the miniature goalposts; but the intensity in play was not lacking at all.
After many kicks, tricks, goals and collisions, the two football teams that lasted the test of time were Guardian Group and Central Bank. The final between Guardian and Central Bank was more of a wrestling match than an attractive football affair, but it meant that both teams were intent on giving very little away.
Guardian carved out two of the better chances during the 20 minutes of regular time, but the upright and the Central Bank custodian denied them that all-important goal. Ryan O’Neil was the unfortunate man to hit the woodwork, as his sliding effort was just inches away from trickling over the goal line.
Guardian were counting their blessings in the penalty shootout soon enough as all three of their kickers were able to find the old onion bag. Akel Linton put Guardian ahead in the shootout before Central Bank’s custodian netted a goal of his own to restore parity. O’Neil then got some measure of revenge as he rifled a shot past the opposing goalkeeper. And after a timely save by Guardian goalie Cubison Thorne, Ryan Pierre was able to wrap up the victory for his team in the ‘best of three’ shootout with his clinical conversion to make the score 3-1.
After some exciting cricket action, Republic Bank Limited and Scotiabank clashed in a mouth-watering final. Scotiabank, which had entered two teams into the cricket tournament, were looking ominous as they sought to defend their title. On the other hand, Republic was not about to be steamrolled on their compound.
After the first inning, Republic looked in good shape as they posted a challenging total of 89/5 from their seven overs. Kyle Phillip and Jaleel Baksh did most of the damage for Republic as they shared in a 63-run partnership for the second wicket. Phillip made 41, which included five sixes, while Baksh struck 29.
The defending champs soon showed their mettle in the run-chase as they quickly rattled up fifty runs in the first two overs. Adesh Ramkissoon and skipper Aamir Pirali were the men doing the damage as they repeatedly cleared the straight boundary with ease. By the time Pirali was dismissed at the end of the second over for 30, Scotiabank were already well ahead of the required run rate.
“Between myself and Adesh, I know we had the ability, and once the bad ball came we put it away,” Pirali said. “At the end of the second over we had about 50 runs. So at that time it was up to the rest of the team to do the job and finish off things.”
Ramkissoon followed his skipper into the dugout at the start of the fourth over as he was clean bowled for a score of 21; the score then was 63/2.
Wilfred Baptiste (15 n.o) and Reza Mohammed (13) then steadied the Scotiabank ship with some calculated batting as they saw their team past the Republic Bank total inside the sixth over. Scotiabank were able to retain their title with some 11 balls to spare.
“It’s really a tremendous feeling and I must say congratulations to the team. The guys came out here from maybe 8:30 this morning to play cricket all day. It took a lot to do that but at the end of the day we came and we conquered,” Pirali said.
The satisfied Scotiabank skipper also made reference to the importance of keeping fit, “Fitness and health is crucial, so coming out and playing sports and being fit really helps us as individuals. I urge everybody in the financial sector to come out and play sports, keep fit it feels good,” he said.
The skipper closed by commending the effort being made by CariFin to bring ‘fun and fitness’ together, “It’s a great idea and I will continue to support it in all aspects. We will support on the field of play and off of it as well.”