2003 Challenge Cup - Jubilee Trophy Championships

Now that the Nationals are over, I would like to share with you what I observed at the National 2003 Challenge Cup and Jubilee Trophy competition in Quebec City. At these games I had the experience and pleasure of doing the colour commentary with Russ Murphy, who is Manager of CHCM 740 radio station and brought the games live from Quebec City.

Mount Pearl

Newfoundland and Labrador's first time Provincial Challenge Cup champions, Mount Pearl, were in Quebec competing for the National Senior Men's most valuable prize, the National Challenge Cup. The NLSA representative was seeded second because of St. Lawrence's silver medal performance in 2002. Also assigned to NL's division were the 7th place seed from 2002, New Brunswick and the 10th place seed from the 2002 men's competition, British Columbia. It is quite obvious that these seeds can be a joke in itself. This was very evident in 2003 because Mount Pearl was seeded 2nd and Surrey United representing British Columbia were seeded 10th.

Game One: NL (Mount Pearl) vs. B.C. (Surrey United)

During this game, the British Columbia squad pretty well dominated Mount Pearl. During their first 10 minutes of play Mount Pearl appeared as if they would compete. For the remaining 30 minutes of the first half, British Columbia scored three goals, building up a comfortable 3-0 lead. For the entire second half, British Columbia put on a soccer clinic, demonstrating to the spectators and to their opponents how soccer can be played using speed, ball control, superb passing and shooting skills. When the final whistle blew, British Columbia had defeated Mount Pearl by a 4-0 score and according to the number of goal posts, crossbars and missed opportunities, I'm sure the score could have been more. It was during this game that Mount Pearl was taught a very valuable lesson in National soccer. I'm convinced Mount Pearl must have realized from this game that the top teams in Canada Challenge Cup are no pushovers.
Mount Pearl's player of the game was Jon Kelly

Game Two: NL (Mount Pearl) vs. N.B. (St. John)
No doubt this was a game that Mount Pearl were capable of winning. I had watched British Columbia defeat New Brunswick on day two by a 6 -1 margin and I certainly felt that Mount Pearl were a better team than New Brunswick. I also realized that even a tie would have put Mount Pearl in a position to compete for a 5th - 8th place seed. During the first half of this game, Mount Pearl appeared to be the superior team, opening up with a few great saves from Gerald Connolly and a goal from Alec Turpin at the 25-minute mark. But it appeared that Mount Pearl, for some reason, lost focus during the last five minutes of the first period and, a complete mental lapse at the 45 minute mark resulted in New Brunswick scoring. This half ended at 1-1 tie. The turning point of this game came very early in the second half as New Brunswick scored for a 2-1 lead. Again Mount Pearl died in the second half. It appeared that mental fatigue had gotten the better of them. Maybe you could chalk it up to a lack of experience or else it could have been the pressure of playing at the Nationals. Actually the remainder of the second half, New Brunswick took it to Mount Pearl, finishing up with a 3-1 victory.  Mount Pearl's player of the game was Alec Turpin

Game Three & Four: NL (Mount Pearl) vs. Ontario (Kanata)
What a way to finish a National tournament, having to play the same team twice for a 9th or 10th place seed! Because of their two loses, Mount Pearl had to play against Ontario twice. Ontario had earlier defeated the number one seed Manitoba in their division but had their points taken away because of an ineligible player. Now Ontario was in a position to be seeded 10th,and as I stated earlier, this seeding is a joke.
In Mount Pearl's first game against Ontario, Mount Pearl were totally outplayed during the first half and consequently they fell behind by a score of 4-1. But in the second half, Mount Pearl started to show improvement and certainly played on par with Ontario. In the second half, both teams scored a goal each, for a
5-2 loss. The player of the game was again Jon Kelly.
In Mount Pearl's final game, and their second game against Ontario in this tournament, they showed heart. After falling behind by scores of 2-0 and 3-1, Mount Pearl didn't quit. They dug down showing improvement as Karl Reddy, Andrew Moyst and Shawn Manning scored, giving Mount Pearl a well fought and come-from-behind 3-3 draw.
Mount Pearl's player of the game was Andrew Moyst.

Experienced Gained - Oh yes!

Mount Pearl may have been defeated but it's a National Soccer tournament they won't forget. It was a Provincial Challenge Cup Championship that the Mount Pearl Soccer Association combined with veterans Bernie Manning, Andrew Moyst, and Rob Cater finally achieved. It's a MVP season that Alec Turpin will remember and I'm sure every young player that saw action at this competition will benefit as a result of this experience. Coaches Walt Mavin and Farmer Reddy and manager Mike Mooney discussed with me the clubs growing pains at this level. I feel the Mount Pearl Sports Beat Molsons Mens Soccer Team were certainly great ambassadors of our province.

Jubilee Competition

The NLSA's 2003 entry into this competition was the Guards from St. John's, coached by Harry Hickman. This team played to the best of their ability, only being outplayed in Game one and losing to Ontario by a 5-0 score. In Game two, the Guards defeated New Brunswick with a well-deserved victory by a 1-0 score. In Game three, the Guards lost by a golden goal to P.E.I. for a 2-1 score.
In the Guard's final game against Manitoba, they again lost by a slim
1-0 margin. This team had a strong work ethic but goal scoring was obviously a major problem for the Newfoundland and Labrador entry. In reality, the Guards did finish 8th but they gave it their all and, with a bit of luck, they could have finished anywhere from 5 -8th. This club represented the province well at this National tournament.

Dunphy's Details: Former St. Lawrence Laurentians star performer, Mike Howlett, playing with Alberta,  picked up his second gold medal at the National 2003 Challenge Cup Championship. Mike had also been a key player with the Alberta's gold medal team when he won his first gold medal in Chilliwack, B.C. in 1999.
My "Coach's Corner 2003 Award" goes to Mount Pearl's goalkeeper Gerald Connolly. The first recipient of this award was the Laurentians Pat Byrne, awarded in 2002.

Gord Dunphy is a former 1990's Challenge Cup all - star coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians and National Bronze Medallist.
He can be reached by e-mail at gorddunphy@email.com or www.coaches-corner.net