Lawn - “A Proud Soccer Town & Team”

The Lawn Shamrocks Masters Team defeated Holy Cross by a 1-0 score at King George V Field to earn the 2003 Provincial “A” Masters Championship. In 2003, the “Shamies” have again illustrated that, at a Masters level in Newfoundland and Labrador, they are still in a class of their own.

One Marvellous Accomplishment!
From my years of involvement with provincial soccer, I realize that winning a Provincial “A” Soccer Championship once is certainly a feat; winning a Provincial “A” Soccer Championship for two or three consectitive years is a great achievement, but winning a Provincial “A” Soccer Championships for five or more consectitive years is, to say the least “One Marvellous Accomplishment“! For this feat, I feel Lawn should be given strong consideration for N.L.S.A’s “Team of the Year”.
All of Lawn’s five-championship trophies have come in fine form. Since 1999, when the Lawn Masters started their provincial soccer dominance, they have gone undefeated each year.  In Lawn’s first championship game, Lawn defeated Gander by a 1-0 margin. In 2000, the Shamrocks defeated the Feildians by 3-0 score. In 2001, the Lawn team defeated Holy Cross by a 1-0 victory. In 2002, Lawn squeezed by their long time archrivals St. Lawrence by a 3-2 victory, which came from a penalty shot shoot-out.

Shamrock’s Road To Victory
Lawn’s fifth championship title didn’t come easy. For some strange reason, the Burin Peninsula doesn’t have a master’s league. All the other seven clubs entered in this year’s 2003 Provincial Masters Championship, Holy Cross, Feildians, Mount Pearl, Star of the Sea, Molson's, Springdale and Corner Brook, did participate in local or regional competition. In this year’s provincial tournament, Lawn was assigned to Division A with Star of the Sea (St. John’s) and Corner Brook.

Game One: Lawn vs. Star of the Sea.
In Lawn’s opening game, played at Wishing Well Soccer Pitch under the lights, Lawn dominated the game. Star of the Sea played a very stubborn game with lots of banging, scrappy play, making their opponent play a “slog and run” style. Unfortunately for Lawn, Star of the Sea was successful with this style and dragged the Shamrocks away from their game plan. But Lawn, because of their countless numbers of scoring opportunities, walked away victorious. Jim Bennett scored midway through the first half and Gord Lambe scored in the dying minutes of the game, giving Lawn a 2-0 victory. It was because of Lou Dodge’s goaltending heroics late in the game that this victory was secured.

Game Two: Lawn vs. Corner Brook
Corner Brook, probably more known for their hockey ability than soccer capabilities, started this game knowing that a victory would put them into the semi-finals. Corner Brook had earlier defeated Star of the Sea in their opening game by a 2-1 score.
Through out this game Corner Brook played a very physical game, hitting and causing havoc for the Shamrocks. Because of missed goal scoring opportunities the Shamrocks became very frustrated and as a result, play was very chippy.
In the dying minutes, as a result of the constant pressure Lawn had put on the Corner Brook squad, it was Luke Edwards who was credited with a goal at the 87-minute mark. As a result of this 1-0 victory, Albert Stacey recorded his first shutout. Lawn’s second victory in two days now had given them the top seed in their division.

Game Three: Semi- finals  - Lawn vs. Corner Brook
As expected, Holy Cross and St. Lawrence came through as the other two top seeds in each of their divisions. Corner Brook sneaked in as the other semi-finalist because of their wild card positioning. This game opened with a lot of physical activity. Those boys from Corner Brook were big, strong and determined, and because of their perseverance, at the 25-minute mark, they forced Herb Edwards to strike the ball and score. The only problem was, as Herb went to clear the ball, he shot at his own net, beating his own defence and shocking Lawn goalkeeper Albert Stacey with a 1-0 lead.

Lawn’s Turning Point
The turning point of this tournament for Lawn came after the half time intermission. Lawn returned to the field regrouped and got back to the basics of soccer. They adapted a wining attitude and played the sport with a team concept, and they did it to perfection for the remainder of the game. Lawn dominated Corner Brook in the second half, with Herb Edwards again scoring at the 50-minute mark. This time it gave Lawn a 1-1 tie. They put Corner Brook under constant pressure and at the 60-minute mark, Brud Edwards scored to give Lawn a 2-1 lead. The remainder of the half was a field of Shamrocks toying with and dominating the boys from the West Coast However, Lawn’s goal scoring woes continued as they had to settle for a slim 2-1 victory.

Game Four: 2003 Finals  - Lawn vs. Holy Cross
Although, the Shamrock players and fans had hoped for a Lawn vs. St. Lawrence final, it was the Holy Cross team that the Shamrocks would have to defeat in order to win their fifth consectitive Masters Championship. Holy Cross had earlier defeated St. Lawrence in their semi-final match by a 1-0 score.
It was in this game that I, as the Coach of the 2003 Lawn Shamrocks, put on my true game day face. In my pre-game speech, I informed the players that “you guys today will have the opportunity to win five consectitive championships which will certainly put you in with the elite soccer teams in this province”.  I informed the Shamrocks that having an opportunity to play for a provincial title is an honour, so give it your all!.  I had also carried my Lawn Shamrocks green warm-up suit jacket with me and I put in on again for this championship game. I had kept this jacket since the days I had coached the Lawn Shamrocks Challenge Cup Team. This pep talk appeared to spirit the players and the Shamrocks responded.

Starting Line Up
With a starting line-up consisting of Albert Stacey in goal; fullbacks Colin Edwards, Bill Warren, Herb Edwards, Wade Roul; midfield Rod Roul, Brud Edwards, Scott Edwards, Toby Lockyer, and starting strikers Tommy Burton and Luke Edwards, these players took to the field and meant business. In the Championship game, Lawn dominated Holy Cross. I felt Lawn played their very best. They played at the King George V pitch, using all parts of the field, running all around the Mullets,  Breens and Reddys, as Holy Cross watched on in dismay. They virtually ran the Holy Cross Team to the ground. They pushed the ball around beautifully and at the 25-minute mark, Sam Warren, who had just replaced Luke Edwards, scored a dandy, giving Lawn a 1-0 lead. For the remainder of the game the players dug down. They played with heart and they were on a mission. The Shamrocks, on this day were not to be denied. They were for real and would have defeated any club in the province! As the game wound down they tasted victory. Some players even got themselves replaced, knowing they had given their all. This is a true sign of a champion. As the final whistle blew, the Shamrocks had held on to their 1-0 lead for their well-deserved victory.

Proud Shamrocks
The town of Lawn is very proud of their Shamrocks. The fans of Lawn love and know the game of soccer. The Shamrocks had a great motorcade followed by a grand party at the Shamrock Lounge and they will be back looking for six in 2004!
Dunphy’s Details: Members of the provincial “A” Masters Soccer Championship Lawn team: Rod Roul, Colin Edwards, Gord Lambe, Luke Edwards, Wade Roul, Toby Lockyer, Dale Cox, Brud Edwards, Jim Bennett, Lloyd Brockerville, Scot Edwards, Bobby Lambe, Herbie Edwards, Lou Dodge, Albert Stacey, Tom Burton, Terry Cox, Bill Warren, Sam Warren, Barry Lambe, Syl Edwards, Jimmy Strang, David Edwards, Craig Penney.

Gord Dunphy is a former Challenge Cup All-Star coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians(1990’s), three time provincial Challenge Cup Champion and National Challenge Cup Bronze medallist -1999. He can be reached by email at gorddunphy@email.com