BECC 2023 | Delight for Debutants and Central crowned champions
The Belgotex Elite Club Challenge has a new name on the honours board as the latest invitee to the tournament Central Hockey Club have also become the latest team to lift the trophy. Ashlin Freddy’s side were imperious from their opening game to the final and continued their monstrous ways against hosts Riverside on Saturday night.
With so much of the focus on the Cassiem brothers and Ryan Julius (Rightfully so) it can also go unnoticed that Central are busy building a dynasty of hockey with the young talent shining through. Carloon Mentor got the side firing with one goal before Connor Beauchamp also added one in the opening quarter and in truth despite the best efforts of Dan Sibbald, Jonty Robinson and the rest of the Riverside Rapids, there was only one team that was going to win this final.
Before half-time Central had gallivanted into a 4-0 lead. Scott Paterson the benefactor of a wonderful touch from Mentoor to divert the ball past Gowan Jones before Mustapha Cassiem combined effortlessly with his brother 35 seconds later to inflict more damage on the board. One of the old dogs of the Riverside team, Shaun Baker fired home a good effort to pull one back and a late penalty corner almost made it two before the break.
The Rapids were desperate to hold on to the gallivanting Central but when they gave a penalty corner away in the 38th minute it produced the most venomous strike of the tournament. Beauchamp again showing why he is so highly noted in world hockey with a rocket of the highest quality. Mustapha Cassiem made it 6-1 from a penalty stroke and the final nail was hammered into the coffin when Ozair Pillai wrapped up the scoring for Central.
They came into the tournament heavily billed as the favourites with their international all-stars returning, but they did not just live up to the expectation, they arguably exceeded it in a tremendous lesson in field hockey for all involved.
Men’s Individual Awards
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Siya Nolutshungu (Morningside)
Top Goalscorer: Brandon Panther (Wanderers), Julian Hykes (Morningside) & Connor Beauchamp (Central)
Player of the Tournament: Dayaan Cassiem (Central)
Men’s Final Standings:
1 – Central
2 – Riverside
3 – WPCC
4 – Beaulieu
5 – Wanderers
6 – PHOBS
7 – Morningside
8 – Kearsney