Sports — 19 April 2005 — by E-Jay Hill

There were two games played Saturday night, April 16th, one in the South and the other in the West. In the usual Saturday night game down south at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, the defending champions, Sagitun of Independence, defended the home front and avenged the only blemish on their record this season by defeating defending sub-champions, Juventus, 3?2. (Juventus had defeated Sagitun 1 nil on Sunday, April 3rd, in Orange Walk).

The other Saturday night special was out West at the historic Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, where Print Belize Griga was kept in the cellar of the standings, losing 3 nil to the Cayo Avengers. Print Belize Griga reportedly arrived at the stadium with ten players, which should have given the Avengers the opportunity to load up on goals. They did not. At halftime, nevertheless, Cayo were up 1-nil on a goal from Albert ?Talla? Vasquez. Griga got full strength with eleven players in the second half to try and make a game out of it, but instead got hit with two more goals. Brazilian import, Roberto DaSilva, and Panamanian import, David Barahona scored one each for the 3-nil shutout win.

Up north at the Calcutta field, Kremandala Lake and the Calcutta Bulls played to a 2?2 draw, but not without some drama. It has been reported that Kremandala Lake walked off the field with 17 minutes left in the game after a bottle throwing incident resulted in the ejection of their striker, Maurice ?Magic? Francis. According to our source, an unknown fan threw a bottle onto the field of play, and when ?Magic? threw it off the field to avoid injury, the referee decided to eject him, which caused the KremLake team to abandon the game to avoid risking injury to their players. Calcutta Bulls, however, are allegedly requesting that the BPFL grant them the three points because Kremandala Lake ?abandoned? the game, which, they claim, is tantamount to a forfeit.

Here at the MCC Grounds, a Kulture Yabra win would have given the City Lions a little breathing room on making it to the next round. The visiting San Pedro Seahawks, however, deleted ?generosity? from their vocabulary and played to a 2?2 tie. Former Kulture striker, Deon Frazier, got the visitors on the scoreboard 22 minutes into the game, giving San Pedro a 1 nil lead, which lasted into the second half until Tyrone ?T-Bone? Muschamp equalized for Yabra.

Sixteen minutes into the second half, ?T-Bone? got a feed from Norman ?Tillyman? Nunez that he was able to strike on the run for the 1?1 tie. Kulture played like Yabra of old, creating spaces and making accurate passes, but missing several opportunities for the go-ahead.

That was placed on ice when Deon Frazier again shook the nets for the visitors six minutes later in the 22ndminute of the second half. Near the end of the game, just before the final whistle, never say die ?Tillyman? Nunez burned the Seahawks on a long distance shot that got Yabra the 2?2 draw.

Kulture Yabra is holding on by life support and would have to depend on Cayo Avengers to lose the remaining two regular season games. Even so, the Avengers have a better goal average and will probably make it in before Yabra does.

The tie did the Seahawks well. They are on the way to the playoffs, barring losing their remaining games. They have Sagitun in Independence next Sunday, April 24thand the following weekend they are scheduled to be at home in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, against Print Belize Griga.

As for Kulture Yabra, their playoff hopes depend on next weekend?s opponent, Print Belize Griga, continuing with their season-long losing streak. Yabra face the Calcutta Bulls the following Sunday, May 1st, at the MCC Gardens.

This Saturday?s April 23rdgame with the San Pedro Seahawks at Sagitun is of no importance to Sagitun, who have already clinched a playoff spot. San Pedro is just about in, unless they choose to play Santa Claus in April and lose their remaining games, and the Bulls win their remaining games.

Kulture have two games left on the schedule. Should Yabra lose these last two games, they may want to consider rebuilding, to try and return to top form next season, a sentiment that ?Tillyman? Nunez shared in a post-game interview. He said, ?I think next season they won?t be seeing Kulture anymore, probably a new team or something because the kind of trouble that these people are stressing on us, is very hard you know. The people are coming directly after us and it?s very hard for a team that doesn?t have nothing. The team is just struggling; we are playing for the love because we are not playing for money right now. We are playing the game because we?re not getting any money. And these people are still trying to get at us.?

It is a tough one for Yabra to get in. The Seahawks have twenty-one points; Avengers are at nineteen; Yabra have thirteen. The Bulls have twelve. But if they should get their wish of getting the three points for last weekend?s game, where it is alleged that KremLake walked off the field with sixteen minutes to go in regulation, then they move to fourteen points.

Kremandala Lake currently have twelve points with two games left. At this stage, they still won?t be able to get into the playoffs, but they can play spoiler against the Cayo Avengers on Sunday April 24th, thereby helping Kulture. If Kulture Yabra should win their final two games and Cayo lose to KremLake and Sagitun, Yabra may be able to reach nineteen points. But there?s still a hurdle to clear – the goal averages, and Cayo currently have the upper hand. Check the stats.

As for Griga, they are currently facing the embarrassment of going the entire season winless and they too have to consider taking drastic measures in turning around the franchise that hasn?t seen a winning season since the glory days of the 1999/2000 sub-champions, Grigamandala.

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