THE EBONITES club of Barataria emerged winners of Vernon Bain's keep-fit league last Saturday June 2 at the Sir Frank Worrell ground, U.W.I. campus, winning 3-1 from Consol.
The match itself turned out a bit disappointing except for the first ten minutes or so. It did not live up to expectations.
For one thing, the contrast in styles between the two teams, I thought, would have produced an interesting clash. Ebonites is one of the best organised and disciplined clubs in the country. What Ebonites may lack in skill is compensated by enthusiasm, determination and united effort. The togetherness among its members is almost legendary.
At every major sporting occasion in any part of the country you see them in attendance. Whenever you are at The Oval and you see a vibrant group of men in the concrete stand immediately adjacent to the commentary box; knocking bottles, talking shit or raising a chorus if cheers when a shapely chic passes by, that's Ebonites.
Consol on the other hand are a group of skilled footballers assembled by a commercial firm to furbish its image. In its lineup were Godfrey Harris and Fitzroy Valentine two well know Tunapuna players.
In the first place the ground rendered parched and bone hard by the severe dry season made ball control difficult. Neither team ever really gathered their rhythm except possibly for the first ten minutes when Consol's early sallies at the Ebonites goal threatened a "sampat".
In that early period Consol opened the scoring with a world type goal. Tyrone Dunbar, showing none of the form that made him a national player, misjudged a high bouncing ball. Godrey Harris who unfailingly capitalises on defence blunders, picked up the ball and slipped it to his right winger "Gouti". Dashing to the goal line before the defence could recover, "Gouti" squared back for "Slapper" on the left wing to tap home.
But that early inspiration was soon to disappear when midway in the first half Fitzroy Valentine was put off for ungentlemanly conduct after the buffetting he was receiving from the Ebonites defence. Later on in the same half Gouti was put off for the same reason. With two men short Consol lost that creative thrust which gave them the upper hand in the game.
From then on Ebonites took control. Consol held on grimly to their lead until midway in the second half when the team cracked up under the Ebonites pressure. Coming towards the end of the game Ken Butcher sent Ebonites ahead. When it was too late the Consol defence adopted the strategy of running the Ebonites forwards offside.
But such a strategy calls for defence teamwork which Consol never had. When in the twilight of the game three of Consol's defencemen advanced to run young Richard Butcher offside the left back stood wondering what really going on. Butcher not being offside consequently had an unobstructed path to goal and made no mistake with the third and final goal of the match.