By Neto Baptiste
The visiting Bath United FC from Nevis were crowned champions of the inaugural Antigua/Nevis Cup following a 5-0 triumph over Young Lions in Sunday’s final at the Old Road playing field.
The Nevisians were led by Phillron Lavia who struck twice in the match while Omarion Bartlette, Kenaicy Dorsett and Lyndon Joseph all netted once as Bath United ended the competition unbeaten at the top of the standings on nine points.
Organiser Colin James said he was not surprised with the level of play exhibited by the visitors after having seen them in action during a trip to Nevis earlier this year.
“From our experience in playing against them in Nevis over the Easter weekend this year, we knew that they’re a very competitive team and they play in the top division of the St Kitts/Nevis premier league. So, not because they are coming from Nevis might give the impression that maybe Nevis is not one of the marquee football teams in the OECS, or even in the Leeward Islands. They have a very good development programme in St Kitts and Nevis and I’ve seen evidence of it because Alex Claxton, coach of the Bath United team, is a Concacaf A licensed coach,” he said.
Bartlette and Pigotts Bullet’s Akeem Isaac were the joint leading scorers of the tournament with four goals each, while Barlette also won the best midfielder award. Vibert Stephens (best goalkeeper), Kofi Major (best defender) — all from Bath United, and Reuben Rubel (best young player) of Young Warriors were the other outstanding players.
James said the tournament was of a high standard.
“I know that we had a little issue with the availability of the top referees in Antigua and Barbuda and we understand why. It’s because the ABFA Knockout Cup would have been in progress over the weekend, so we didn’t really have the full complement of the ABFA referees. It meant that we had to use call-in referees, so all in all and except for the refereeing part of it, the only blemish I think was on the tournament would have been the absence of a full complement of referees from the referees association. Having said that, I think everyone who saw the matches or who saw most of the matches would have been impressed with the standard of play,” he said.
Bullets finished as runner-up with six points following a 5-1 victory over Young Warriors also on Sunday. Akeem Isaac led with a hattrick while Caseam Stevens and Jahmarlie Stevens each scored once. Railique Browne scored the lone goal for Warriors.
James is hoping the tournament could become a permanent fixture on the football calendar here.
“They will come every year for this tournament, the Antigua/Nevis Cup and we will go every Easter for a tournament that they will organise. Speaking with Alex Claxton, the coach of Bath United, he was saying that maybe they are going to extend the Easter tournament to six teams and maybe have two groups of three and expand the tournament a bit, and we might be looking at that as well when it comes to the Antigua/Nevis Cup,” the organiser said.
The tournament was sponsored by Cool & Smooth, Veg International, Citizenship by Investment Unit, AMA Bella, and Alltech.