“Move over Naparima, let the mighty Tigers pass!"
Having just collected the RBTT national Intercol trophy, the players of St Anthony’s College chanted those words for the media cameras. Their red-shirted fans had been repeating that refrain over and over during yesterday’s final against Naparima College at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. It was no mere robber talk.
On an afternoon of supreme triumph for the Morne Coco Road school, there were no truer words.
St Anthony’s 6-0 dismantling of Naparima not only clinched a zonal/national League and InterCol grand slam, it also represented the largest margin of victory ever in an InterCol final. And in a most emphatic way, it illustrated the total dominance which the team of coach Ron la Forest had imposed on all-comers this season.
For captain Julius James and his boys clad in red, November 26 was a day always to be remembered. For the lads in white and blue, it was one also never to be forgotten.
Referee Noel Bynoe’s blowing of the final whistle was surely an act of mercy for Naparima. They had endured 91 minutes of football hell in which they were made hapless spectators in their own massacre.
The goals ruthlessly plundered by Ian Mc Auley and Kenwyne Jones (two apiece), Kevon Neaves and Christian Cabral, were stinging blows that forced them into disappointing submission.
The final score might not have surprised the ever-expectant La Forest. But the large majority in the 5,000 Stadium crowd were taken aback by the frail resistance of a side who were themselves bidding for a record sixth InterCol win. The Tigers had failed by just one goal to match the 7-0 victory by Malick Senior Comprehensive over Roxborough Secondary Centre in the first-ever national Girls’ InterCol final.
Perhaps, more was expected of the Kareem Simon-led side than they were capable of. But surely, the muted Naps travelling band and their supporters, expected better than 0-6. What their players would quickly tell them though, is that anyone can freeze when confronted by a bunch of ravenous Tigers.
The rout was on from as early as the sixth minute when Mc Auley was allowed too much space inside the Naparima penalty area, left side, to hook the ball into the far corner.
The pattern was set. Lax, listless marking was punished time and again. Twelve minutes later, rangy Jones wafted by his marker like wind through trees and planted a firm low left-footer into the far corner.
Shai Prescod in the Naparima goal would not be beaten by a better play. But before half time arrived, he was in strife again. This time, unsung Kevon Neaves rolled the ball, under him, having been slipped a neat pass by his left wing partner Clevon George.
The game was as good as done. The Naparima band knew it as they kept themselves sad company with “Nobody knows the trouble I see” at half time.
But the trouble was by no means over for their beloved Naps.
Three minutes after the interval, Christian Cabral filling in for the injured Roderick Anthony, took advantage of acres of room to flash number four past Prescod.
At the other end, Jerol Forbes, the SSFL’s top marksman, watched in frustration. He hardly saw the ball in the first half in which the first Naps effort came after 30 minutes. James and his defence was keeping him in jail and Naps could find no other outlet.
And on the rare occasions when Forbes and partner Ateba Forde did get genuine chances, they muffed them.
Eventually, the agony told on the restless Forbes whose tackle from behind on James earned him a second half yellow card. By then, Ian McAuley and Kenwyne Jones had got their doubles. They were now enjoying the game from the bench.
“Mission accomplished!” said coach La Forest.
Indeed. A season of rampaging was over. The “Slam” was complete.
Malick 7 (Alania Burgin 4, Tanekar Alexander, Candice Williams, Afiya Castle) vs Roxborough 0.
St Anthony’s 6 (Ian Mc Auley 2, Kenwyne Jones 2, Kevon Neaves, Christian Cabral) vs Naparima 0.
St Anthony’s: Jan-Michael Williams; Julius James (capt), Yohance Marshall, Marcelle Francois; Keeron Benito, Kevon Neaves, Clevon George (Keon Trim 69th), Christian Cabral, Kenwyne Jones (Akil De Freitas 75th); Steve Sealy, Ian McAuley (Marcus Chin Sang 60th).
Naparima: Shai Prescod; Dezi Lara, Kareem Simon (capt), Deverne Wallace, Javed Mohammed (Andrew Tuitt 73rd); Wendell Joseph, Ancil Farrier, Kerwyn Richards (Kezi Lara 46th), Brenton De Leon; Jerol Forbes, Ateba Forde.