Intercol 2022: Buckmire saves three penalties as Benedict’s beat “Pres” in epic shootout to claim South title

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Whether you refer to them as the “Golden Lions” or the “La Romaine Lions”, St Benedict’s College lifted the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) South Zone Intercol title today, after an epic 4-3 penalty shootout win at the Ato Boldon Stadium—following a goalless stalemate through 90 minutes with defending champions, Presentation College (San Fernando).

The 0-0 score line through regulation time doesn’t quite tell the story of the South Intercol finale though, as the two South heavyweights went at it from start to finish in an enthralling tactical match-up between St Benedict’s coach Randolph Boyce and Presentation coach Shawn Cooper.

St Benedict’s College head coach Randolph Boyce (right) celebrates alongside Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly after steering his team to the SSFL Big 4 title on 26 October 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The penalty shootout was not short of drama either, as Benedict’s goalkeeper Ja-ir Buckmire rose to the occasion with three saves of immense quality—on an afternoon when Benedict’s attacking quartet was largely nullified by a well-drilled Presentation unit.

“You could see the joy in the team and the joy they bring to the fans. Just look at the people,” Boyce told Wired868. “This a sight you’ll always want to see. This is a sight that will make you want to go back to the training field and work hard again.

“We just hope that we’ll be able to do it on a continuous basis. We don’t know how long we’ll be able to do it for but we’ll keep trying.”

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On the day, the lanky, 17 year-old Dantaye Gilbert was colossal in the Presentation midfield as he brought calm to the proceedings and seamlessly linked defence to attack, where Caleb Boyce tirelessly toiled as a lone striker.

Meanwhile, explosive St Benedict’s captain Tarik Lee was kept relatively quiet for most of the contest, with Presentation doing their best to congest the space afforded to Lee and fellow attackers like Nicholas Bobcombe, Derrel “Zoom Zoom” Garcia and Jeremiah Niles.

Presentation College (San F’do) midfielder Dantaye Gilbert.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Similar to St Benedict’s, Presentation had their full-backs Maitland-Wilson and Terrance Worrell play inverted, as they tried to get the wide pair of Micah Braithwaite and Vaughn Clement isolated against the opposing defenders.

“As you could see, they came today and they mirrored us,” said Boyce (R), “and they actually took parts of our system and added it into their system to play against us, which is all good for football.

“We weren’t able to be a totally dominant force. They had their moments in the game and we also had our moments in the game.

“They defended deep with a good, low-lying block. It was well-rehearsed and we couldn’t unlock some of the doors that they closed today.”

Cooper suggested that the “Pres Lions” won the tactical battle and should have won the war too, but for a spliced effort by Levi Jones in the 54th minute—after Gilbert caught the Benedict’s defence sleeping with a quick throw-in down the right side.

Presentation College (San F’do) coach Shawn Cooper.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

“I don’t think anybody gave us a chance this afternoon,” said Cooper. “People came here expecting us to be blown away. They saw a tactical masterpiece. We knew that we weren’t the same team they played in the Big 4 semifinals.

“I think today we played our best game. [St Benedict’s] ran out of ideas and were just trying to play on pure individualism and we played as a team. They have some fantastic players but we played as a team and I thought it was a bitter pill to swallow losing this one.”

Presentation had the chance to win the game right at the death, but Gilbert and substitute Duhrell Young both missed from close range after the Benedict’s defence failed to deal with corners from either flank.


St Benedict’s College head coach Randolph Boyce (second from left) has a word with his players during the Big 4 final in Couva on 26 October 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Neither side could settle the contest in regulation time though. And, in the shootout, both Buckmire and Presentation custodian Kanye Lazarus were intent on upstaging the game’s household names.

Buckmire saved Presentation’s first kick from Gilbert while Lazarus rose from his line to stop Benedict’s captain Tarik Lee.

“Kanye is ah keeper!” Presentation fans chanted, as they urged on their custodian with their version of the “Viking Clap”.

After eight kicks, the two teams were locked at 3-3. Up strode the 15-year-old Garcia to take Benedict’s fifth and final kick—with a lengthy run up that West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph might be proud of.

St Benedict’s College midfielder Derrel Garcia.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

“He going for power,” said one “Pres” supporter as he clasped his hands in prayer. Those prayers were soon answered.

Garcia, who had a penalty saved by Fatima College goalkeeper Tristan Edwards in the 2022 Premier Division Big 4 final, boomed his kick way over bar and nearly took out the Ato Boldon Stadium’s scoreboard.

He buried his face in his jersey and appeared almost inconsolable as he walked away. But little did he know that Buckmire had something very special up his sleeves.

The Benedict’s goalkeeper, who was back up to Thane Devenish for much of the season, casually walked into the six-yard box and asked for calm from his teammates.

Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) goalkeeper Kanye Lazarus clears the ball during the Tiger Tanks Cup at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 9 September 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

After his team’s Big 4 semifinal exit against St Benedict’s, Cooper promised a surprise for the Intercol. And Gilbert and defender Joel Maitland-Wilson added steeliness while Boyce, who missed the latter stages of the regular season through injury, gave Benedict’s central defenders Nesean Alexander and Joshua Demas a proper battle.

But in “Bucky”, St Benedict’s had a secret of their own.

“In the League format, Presentation would have seen another keeper save for us, who is Thane Devenish,” said the St Benedict’s coach. “He’s an excellent keeper and he is part of the National Under-17 setup. But in this Intercol tournament, we decided to go with Buckmire.

St Benedict’s College goalkeeper Ja-ir Buckmire (centre) is interviewed by SportsMax after his heroics in the South Intercol final against Presentation (San F’do) on 25 November 2022.
(via Roneil Walcott)

“[Buckmire] has the height and presence and he has been working extremely hard in training and we know that he is a good penalty stopper in training. Presentation didn’t know that before today.”

Facing Buckmire for Presentation’s fifth—and potentially final—penalty kick was rugged holding midfielder Adah Barclay. In 2019, Adah’s older brother, Alem Barclay, captained the “Pres Lions” as they edged San Juan North Secondary to the National Intercol trophy.

Now was Adah’s chance to step out of his brother’s shadow. But Buckmire had no time for such sentiment, as he dived to his left to pull off a dramatic save.

“On the last kick we could have won it—we threw it away and now we live to want,” said Cooper. “[…] That guy who missed it has been scoring penalties right through the season for us.”

Presentation College midfielder Adah Barclay plays in front of a packed covered stands during Tiger Tanks Cup action against Naparima College at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 9 September 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

On to sudden death kicks the two teams went, with scores still level at 3-3.

Benedict’s midfielder Ephraim Brown, who was an 89th minute substitute for the combative Rayshawn Crichlow, made it 4-3 with a precise right-footed strike into the top corner—after initially shaping as though he would hit it with his left boot.

And, with the weight of the Ato Boldon Stadium on his shoulders, Boyce (C) walked towards the penalty spot next.

Buckmire dived to his right on this occasion and Boyce’s penalty was just the right height for him to extend his lanky frame.

St Benedict’s College supporters cheer on their football team during SSFL Premier Division action against Naparima Colleges at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 15 October 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Cue wild celebrations from the St Benedict’s players who are the school’s first zonal champions since 2014.

“[The Presentation players] will have to sit back with the minor disappointment of missing the kick but I think they played well,” said Cooper. “Some of them came and told me sorry but it’s nothing to be sorry about. Some days you win the lottery and some days you don’t.

“I’m pleased with the boys. They could walk with their heads held high after today. Benedict’s could celebrate but they knew that they were in a battle and they crawled in the door.”

Boyce (R) credited his opponents for their role in a gripping final.

 

“Today, football was the winner because I saw quality, tactics, patience, persistence, discipline, organisation and structure,” said the St Benedict’s coach. “There weren’t many moments for us to play our transition game because they played so smart. And every time we lost the ball, they had big numbers behind the ball to make sure and take away the transition game they know we have.

“[…] Come Monday, it’s a next game so we have to get a little recovery in and recuperate and go again for Monday and see how we can best do the job against whoever is representing Central.”

In 2014, St Benedict’s failed to add to their South Intercol success as East Mucurapo Secondary defeated them in the national final. They still have two more hurdles to get that far—starting with a surprise opponent in the National Intercol quarterfinal round on Monday.

Chaguanas North Secondary players celebrate a win over Moruga Secondary in Enterprise, Chaguanas on 8 October 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Carapichaima East Secondary were initially booked to represent the Central Zone, only for that honour to be stripped away today due to their use of an ineligible player, goalkeeper Nicholai Rivers, in their shootout win over Chaguanas North Secondary earlier this week.

So it is Chaguanas North versus St Benedict’s College on Monday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

“We are hoping the other games we have don’t go down to penalties to put [Buckmire] under that kinda stress,” said Boyce {R}, “but that was the secret weapon in the game.”

One suspects there is more intrigue to come yet in the 2022 Intercol competition.

(Teams)

St Benedict’s College (4-3-3): 1.Ja-ir Buckmire (GK); 4.Keanu Morean, 6.Nesean Alexander, 5.Joshua Demas, 19.Lyshawn Morris; 8.Derrel Garcia, 20.Rayshawn Crichlow (15.Ephraim Brown 89), 12.Josiah Ochoa; 10.Nicholas Bobcombe, 7.Tarik Lee (captain), 11.Jeremiah Niles (21.Malacai Webb 83).

Unused substitutes: 22.Thane Devenish (GK), 2.Joshua Phillip, 3.Anthony Williams, 9.Jaden Grant, 18.Tyrique Lucas.

Coach: Randolph Boyce

Presentation College (San Fernando) (4-2-3-1): 1.Kanye Lazarus (GK); 2.Terrance Worrell, 5.Cody Cooper, 3.Abayomi George, 20.Joel Maitland-Wilson; 6.Levi Jones, 15.Adah Barclay; 16.Micah Brathwaite (17.Djibril Felix 90+2), 22.Dantaye Gilbert (captain), 7.Vaughn Clement (12.Duhrell Young 89); 9.Caleb Boyce.

Unused substitutes: 28.Zeronn Collymore (GK), 11.Isaiah Jacob, 13.Shawn Boodram, 14.Daniel Quashie, 21.Chaz Forde.

Coach: Shawn Cooper

Referee: Kwinsi Williams

Wired868 Man of the Match: Ja-ir Buckmire (St Benedict’s College)

St Benedict’s College goalkeeper Ja-ir Buckmire after his man of the match performance against Presentation College (San F’do) in the South Intercol final on 25 November 2022.
(via St Benedict’s College)

Intercol Zonal Finals

(Fri 18 Nov)

QRC 0, Fatima College 5 (Michael Chaves 2, 41, Chaim Williams 15, Christian Bailey 25, Alijah Nunes 90+2) at Hasely Crawford Stadium;

(Mon 21 Nov)

Chaguanas North 2 (Nicholai Rivers OG 6, Lee Vann-David 19 pen), Carapichaima East 2 (Josiah Hypolite 17, Kaedon Thomas-Robertson 45+1) at Ato Boldon Stadium;

*—Carapichaima East initially won 6-5 on kicks from the penalty mark; but then were stripped of the title for using an ineligible player.

Fatima College captain Christian Bailey (centre) tries to burst between QRC defenders Zakari King (left) and Nicholas Thompson during the North Zone Intercol final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 18 November 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

(Tue 22 Nov)

Signal Hill Secondary 1 (Jediah Phillips), Mason Hall Secondary 1 at Dwight Yorke Stadium;

*—Signal Hill won 4-3 on kicks from the penalty mark.

(Wed 23 Nov)

San Juan North 0, Trinity East 1 (Jaheim Faustin 69) at Larry Gomes Stadium;

(Fri 25 Nov)

St Benedict’s College 0, Presentation (San F’do) 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;

*—St Benedict’s won 4-3 via kicks from the penalty mark

Trinity East attacker Jaheim Faustin (left) prepares to evade a tackle from San Juan North defender Joshua Lewis during the East Intercol final on 23 November 2022.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868)

National Quarterfinal

(Mon 28 Nov)

Chaguanas North Secondary vs St Benedict’s College, 3.30pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;

National Semifinals

(Thu 1 Dec)

Fatima College vs Trinity College East, 4pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium;

(Fri 2 Dec)

Chaguanas North/ St Benedict’s College vs Signal Hill, 3pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;

St Benedict’s College forward Tarik Lee (left) takes on Fatima College midfielder Justin Alcantara during the Big 4 final in Couva on 26 October 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

National Final

(Wed 7 Dec)

3pm, TBA

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About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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