An Eyewitness Account

Saturday, July 24, 2002 was proclaimed St. Lawrence Day and on this day the highlight is the Laurentians Challenge Cup team in competition. This year their opponents were the Marystown United team. First of all, I would like to inform soccer fans and all soccer governing bodies at the local, regional and provincial level that when I present my “eyewitness account”, this information will be based on my honesty and integrity.

Laurentians Dominance

This contest began play at 2 o’clock refereed by Dale Slaney and his assistants (linesman) Kent Pittman and Alfred Slaney. When the play began, the Laurentians put down their opponents by demonstrating to them that the Laurentians are a class of supremacy. They toyed with the Marystown team by demonstrating: ball control, passing skills and a level of play totally unparalleled by the opposition. Early in the game at the 12 minute mark, 2001 league MVP Rudy Norman displayed his shooting skill by scoring on Marystown goalkeeper, Scott Edwards from a 35-yard bullet-like shot, low to the keeper’s right side. The Marystown team mostly defended throughout the first period and had limited scoring opportunities. At the 42-minute mark, young scoring sensation, Richard Kelly, continued to verify his goal scoring touch by scoring in his fifth consecutive game, giving him 8 goals for the season. The score at half time was 2 - 0 for St. Lawrence, a period in which I felt the Laurentians dominated.

Ruckus Begins

When play resumed in the second period the Laurentians continued their dominance but failed to score despite having numerous, glorious scoring opportunities. With both teams having basically showcasing their level of play, it was at the 70-minute mark of the contest that an ugly incident took place. With Marystown’s Dion Durdle defending against Laurentians forward Alex Turpin, a ruckus occurred. Alex, at this point in the season, due to coaching strategies and personal injuries, had received marginal if not minimal playing time and it appeared that fatigue had became a physical and mental factor. At this moment in the game, Alex appeared to be exhausted and then he simply lost it. After both him and Durdle vigorously competed for the ball, both fell to the ground. When Alex recovered and had some sort of controlled balance, he started throwing viscous punches. Durdle just appeared to protect himself and put both of his arms around his head. It appeared to me that Alex didn't make full contact with any of his full fisted swings but his intentions certainly weren't nice. As both players got up, a number of players ran over to the fighting area. Referee Dale Slaney at that point issued a red card to both players.
 


Dad tells son, “Don’t get involved”

It was after this time that Leo Kelly, Richard Kelly's dad went out onto the field because his son Richard had come to the general area where both teams had gathered during the fight. Leo Kelly told his son not to get involved in this brawl and he then walked off the field. From what I observed Leo was not a threat to any of the United players or misbehaved in any manner. Maybe what Leo Kelly did was technically wrong. As a father of four children, I wouldn't bet that if a similar incident were to occur maybe I would respond in the same, in what I would consider a responsible manner. As a parent, I tend to support another parent whose fatherly instincts were to prevent his son from getting involved in a fight. It was also at this time that a United player informed Coach Vince Pickett that a fan had come onto the field. Vince quickly responded to this information and realized this could be a window of opportunity for him to protest this game. He immediately informed the officials that his team was leaving the field and going to the dressing room. While in the dressing room, Vince again reiterated to the game officials that Marystown, “were going home and the United team would protest the game”. In 2001, the instance, which I also witnessed between the United and the Laurentians, was certainly a cause of concern but I feel this occurrence was a situation where Coach Vince Pickett was trying to take advantage.

Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association - Decision

The NLSA officials heard this case and reviewed input from Laurentians officials, Marystown officials, game officials and some NLSA VIP officials that were in attendance at the game. The Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association made this decision: Their decision reads: 1) Laurentians awarded the game - three points 2) Alex Turpin - suspended - four games 3) Dion Durdle -suspended - two games 4) Letters were to be sent to both the St. Lawrence Soccer Association and the Marystown Soccer Association.

Security

Certainly a point of concern for the league is the fact that " No " Challenge Cup Clubs provides security. In this case, I would like the commissioner of the Challenge Cup League Doug Redmond, to implement that security for home games be identified individuals (4- 6 people). These individuals should wear team jackets that visibly identify them as - SECURITY.

Dunphy Details

The master’s provincial championships are to be played on the Burin Peninsula this year. The Burin Peninsula Soccer Association should have both Lawn and St. Lawrence as co- hosts. A schedule comprised of two divisions would allow both Lawn and St. Lawrence to be put in different divisions. Three time defending champions Lawn could play in division 1 in Lawn. While Division 2 would consist of the Laurentians, with their games to be played in St. Lawrence. A Burin Peninsula championship play-down could determine the home for the championship game.
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