Kappa Classic teams progress to ‘Final Four’
“March Madness” Bermuda style continued towards its zenith as action in the 2019 version of the Kappa Classic reached the semi-final stage yesterday.
The excitement was palpable as teams fought through group play for the right to move into the knockout rounds and qualify for the “Final Four” — semi-finals and finals — today, which will decide championships in nine different age group categories including girls and boys.
Parents and children alike were taken through a roller-coaster ride of thrilling victories for some, while others were made to endure ultimately, agonising defeat.
One team savouring a day's success and salivating at the opportunity to achieve greater glory was Somerset Reds, who defeated North Village 3-2 in the Under-15 Boys after a thrilling quarter-final encounter. They will next face arch rivals St George's, who got past PHC Zebras in their quarter-final match, with the winner due to play for all the marbles against Dandy Town Gold or BAA, after the former defeated their clubmates Dandy Town Brown via penalties and the latter bettered a heavily favoured Warwick Archer Bows 1-0 in a tense affair.
Scott Burgess, the Dandy Town coach, said that while he was happy to have his team win over their own, it would have been nicer to have to do it in the final.
“It's happened a few times that we've had to beat our own club to advance, it always seems that we meet in the quarter-finals or semis, that's just how it's been,” Burgess said. “I never liked penalties to decide a game, but we did what we had to do to win and our goal is to win it all.”
Somerset were also chasing silverware in the Under-11 Boys after a prosperous foray in the round-robin phase under the guidance of coaches Jaz Ratteray and Danvers Seymour Jr.
“Our goal was to get through the group stage and get into the business end of the competition, but not have anything take away from them having fun and so in that aspect our job's done,” said Ratteray, also a prominent member of the club's senior squad. “This [tournament] is what we train for all season, every training session, through rain, blow or shine. This is the business end of the season and it's when we want to shine our brightest.”
Certainly even on a cloudy, overcast day little could shade or overwhelm the luminescence of youth in ebullient state alighting the Prospect region.
Tournament chairman Ray Jones was one clearly pleased with the occasion show even if a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility and act of ensuring its efficient operation.
“The games are being played in the right spirit, you can see all the kids with smiles on their faces, obviously there's disappointment for some when you get to the knockout stage, but again it's been a great year with a great turnout,” said Jones of the event which this year involves 106 teams featuring more than 1,000 players.
“It's also good that the weather stayed away and allowed for our youngsters to be on full display without duress from the elements and we can really see the talent that we have.
“We're seeing some real quality here today and among our youth leagues and it really bodes well for football and the country. This tournament every year brings it out and we're happy that we can play a role in exposing what we have here in Bermuda.”
Action continues today with semi-final and finals play at National Sports Centre and the Clyde Best Centre for Excellence, with the first matches starting at 9am.
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