19 and Counting
In the 36-year history of the Provincial
Challenge Cup, the St Lawrence Laurentians have won 19 Provincial Challenge
Cup titles. All other soccer clubs combined have only won a total of 17
championships. Of these, Holy Cross has won 11 championships. The former
Burin Eagles have won both in 1990 and 1991. The Feildians of St. Johns
claimed the championship in 1969. Both the Lawn Shamrocks and the Grand
Bank Gee Bees were crowned Provincial Challenge Cup Champions on one occasion
each. A collection of provincial All-Stars represented Newfoundland in
1970.The greatest feat provincially is the current eight consecutive Provincial
Challenge Cup Championship won by the St. Lawrence Laurentians on this
Labour Day Weekend.
Laurentians - 2002s Best
I would like to explain that the best
team won the Provincial Challenge Cup title again in 2002. The Laurentians
of 2002 have lost only one game this season. St. Lawrence's 1st place finish
in Round One and their 1st place finish in Round Two, combined with their
two victories in the provincial showdown played during Labour Day weekend,
clearly demonstrates that Newfoundland will again be represented at this
years National tournament by "Newfoundland's best". Five of the Laurentians
have been named to this years Challenge Cup All Star team. They are Richard
Kelly, Rudy Norman, Clinton Edwards, Paul J. Slaney and Chris Caines. Two
of the four NLSA individual awards in 2002 were handed out to Laurentians
players Clinton Edwards (top defender) and Paul J Slaney (most gentlemanly
and effective player). The St. Lawrence Laurentians acclaimed the honour
of having the top two goal scorers, Richard Kelly and Rudy Norman.
Holy Cross comes knocking.
Right from the very first day that
it became known that Paul Reddy had accepted the head coach's position
with Holy Cross, I felt, because of Paul's personality, he would turn around
this club and indeed he has done this! As a player, Paul Reddy comes from
a soccer rich background and as an individual he has character, grit
and a desire to win. He played with Brother Rice and was a winner at the
high school level. He was a player with the Holy Cross team that won seven
Provincial Challenge Cup titles in the 1980's. Furthermore, Paul Reddy
played on the 1988 Holy Cross team that won the only National Challenge
Cup that was won by Newfoundland. This seasons Holy Cross played St. Lawrence
a total of seven times. Only one of the seven games was decided in regulation
time, a 3-1 victory by Holy Cross. St. Lawrence won three times in overtime
on a golden goal. The remaining three games were decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Game 1 - Surprise
Feildians vs. Mount Pearl: I guess
the Mount Pearl squad surprised everyone by winning their first match.
They actually defeated the Feildians, a team that everyone and his dog
had predicted would beat them. Full credit was given to them. They out
hustled, outworked and outscored a more experienced squad for a rewarding
2- 0 victory. On the other side of the coin, the Feildians proved that
the figures released by Statistics Canada show that the Newfoundland population
is aging. Well, so are the Feildians. Their veterans appeared as if they
lacked the speed and intensity required playing at a senior play-off level.
Again I question Coach Jim Hamlyn's persistent refusal to partner Craig
Edwards with Tommy Dunderdale. In retrospect, the Feildians and Hamlyn
may have paid the price.
Game 2 -Injuries play a key
Holy Cross vs. St Lawrence.: The 2002
championship game may very well have been played when the Laurentians played
host to Holy Cross on Friday evening. After the Laurentians took a 2- 0
lead at half time, Holy Cross's fitness level and stamina came to the forefront
in the second half, and they scored twice for a 2-2 regulation draw. In
overtime, as of a result of Richard Kelly's offensive prowess, it was his
corner kick that left the boy's from the city to fall short. With two minutes
remaining, Paul J Slaney scored a golden goal. Although, I am a big time
supporter of Richard Kelly, the best goal scorer in Newfoundland soccer
today, it is high time that Richard, now 21 years of age, starts showing
more respect to game officials and to his opponents. Undisciplinary play
at a national level just won't be tolerated. The season ending injuries
to All - star Chad Parsons and Cormac Meagher in this contest, plus the
back injury sustained to Cullen Hendra during the regular season, may very
well have spelled the end for Holy Cross.
Certainly, after this game the
strength of the Holy Cross back line would rest with number 4, Mark Flemming.
Game 3 - Knowing how to win
Mount Pearl vs. Holy Cross: In this
game, Mount Pearl had an opportunity to gain a little respect. It had become
quite obvious that Holy Cross were hurting, dejected and bewildered after
losing a heart breaker to the Laurentians in their opening game But no
way!! The Mount Pearl team just couldn't take advantage. Their club just
doesnt have a winning tradition or know what it takes to win. Simply put,
they lack the eye of a tiger and they lost the game by a 2 -0 score. I
guess Mount Pearl's head coach Walt Mavin can now concentrate on Memorials
Ladybird Sea- Hawks.
Game 4 - Championship Game
Holy Cross vs. St. Lawrence: What more
could a true soccer fan ask for than a provincial final where the top two
teams in the province meet in a one game winner-take-all final? Well, thats
what we had. The records and stats are there to prove it. The NLSA head
official Kevin Pittman appointed Newfoundland's top referee Robbie Antle
as the man in the middle for the contest. The championship game itself
may have been somewhat anti-climatic to say the least. Besides the importance,
and indeed the value of the outcome of the game, this game was far from
a masterpiece. The Laurentians out shot the visitors by a wide 11 - 1 margin
but failed to capitalize on an any of their five quality scoring opportunities
during the first half. The star of the first half was Holy Crosss goalkeeper
Andrew Sears. The second period saw Holy Cross a little more spirited in
the early showings but a lack of ball control, passing skills and overall
poor play dominated the remainder of regulation time. It appeared that
the three games and the injuries to the Holy Cross team had done them in.
St. Lawrence's tentative play may have been contributed to the fact that
they were uptight. They realized a loss would eliminate them from competing
at the Nationals in St. Johns.
Rudy Norman - Game Hero
In overtime came the hero of the game,
Rudy Norman. Rudy scored a classic goal with two minutes remaining enabling
the Laurentians to become provincial champions and the Laurentians fans
to go mad. This man should have been automatically named the MVP of the
game. Congratulations are certainly in order to the St. Lawrence Soccer
Association, their coaching staff; Jr. Edwards, Greg Quirke, Hubert Beck
and all of the Laurentians players. Laurentians, enjoy the moment!