Football 1st XI

Keith Look Loy
Date Published: 
St. Mary's College Annual 1972

For St. Mary's College football squad, the 1971 season was in some ways a heartbreaking one. It was only a week before our first important game that a team was put into training through no fault of the players themselves. The team which turned out against San Fernando Tech. was almost entirely an inexperienced, nervous one, and for the second time we had to look on while the Singer Trophy went the way of our opponents. The team was further demoralized by the news that three of our star players, Luciano Woodley; superstar of '70, Trevor Leiba and Keston Nancoo were not eligible to play because of their disappointing results in the Cambridge Examinations. As a result the team, with seven new faces in the line up and with hardly any experience of having played together before, had little chance against as powerful a combination as the national champions. Putting up a plucky but futile display, we went under 3-0, beaten but not disgraced.

We then turned our hopeful eyes to the League and after beating Tranquil 1-0, we realized that we were in with a chance because of the weakness of the other teams; with a goal by substitute Lopez, it seemed we were on the road to better things. The team was not performing as well as the previous year, understandably, but we thought we could hold our own. Then came the big letdown. Travelling to San Fernando, we were met by showers of rain and goals, being utterly humiliated by Presentation College 6-1. Picking up the pieces we went on the following Saturday to defeat Beltmont Sec. 3-0, and then draw 0-0 with Q.R.C. Picking up the points gradually we were standing at the head of the table. For these five games our three players: Woodley, Leiba and Nancoo, had been looking on bitterly from the substitutes bench, and although a fight had been going on the Ministry of Education stood firm on their resolution not to let the boys play although they were re-admitted to classes. The players of the team, then took the situation into their hands and an ultimatum to the Sports Master, Mr. Khan, demanding that their team mates be allowed to play or there was going to be a boycott of the game against San Fernando Tech. by the entire team. It was decided that they should play after some wrangling and it was a shocked and pleasantly surprised crowd which saw the dramatic, unexpected appearance of the "defiant ones", as they were dubbed by the press. As it ended Tech. were lucky to survive and share the points with us. In the first round of the league we completed our fixtures by thrashing St. Benedict's 3-0. The second round of the College League had to be disbanded after CONCACAF Finals, but not before we had the pleasure of defeating our arch-rivals Tranquil 3-2 after being two goals down, making a splendid comeback. We also defeated Q.R.C. 2-0 and this game ended in chaos one of our players being injured in a riot by the misguided Q.R.C. fans. There is a saying that revenge is sweet and so it is as we found out when we defeated Presentation College 1-0 and had them return for more the following day.

In the Barclay's Trophy of which we were the holders we set out to recover it against a weak Holy Cross College team which we waltzed past 6-3. In the next round we met Vessigny Sec. and again we had easy going getting past them 5-1, to move into the quarter-finals against Presentation, and to their disgust, we beat them 2-0, and it seemed that we were all posed for a repreat of 1970, but this was not so as in the semi-finals after leading 1-0 against Belmont Sec. into the dying stages we conceded a goal which necessitated extra-time. This was all they needed and at the end of the period Belmont walked off the turf the winners by 3-1. The trophy which we never saw (despite coverage in the press of the captain receiving the trophy, it turned out to be the wrong one) finally arrived from England and was won by San Fernando Technical.

For the second consecutive year we won the BOAC Trophy which turned out to be our only success of the season; in the semi-finals we had to meet our old friends Tranquil who had earlier got past Fatima 3-1, and to their chagrin we defeated them 2-1 (thus stretching our lead over them to six wins and one drawn game) and proceeded to the Final against Belmont Sec., one which will live for ever in the memories of football fans. It was a good afternoon for football, the crowd was superb and they were treated to a feast of attacking football as has not been seen in Trinidad for the longest while. Within 35 minutes of the game's commencement St. Mary's was five goals up and hunting for more. Unfortunately we just could not find the net during the second period of the game, but came off deserving winners by 5-0. This therefore carried us into the National Finals against San Fernando Tech. for the second year and on a dismal day in San Fernando against a powerful team and a highly partisan crowd we went through the formality of appearing for 90 minutes (although we held out unto the final stages) to lose 2-0. So ended our Colleges League season. In December however we were hosts to the Antigua Grammar School champions in their island and in order to gain the Royal Bank Trophy, we had to defeat them 2-0 and 1-0. With these victories we were all set to go on tour to the neighbouring republic of Venezuela, and then we had the final disappointment of the season. It seems that the school supposed to host us during our stay changed the date of our visit from December '71 to January '72. To date the team has not heard why we never left these shores for Caracas, no one knows why.

Behind every team there are people who work behind the scenes and thus we would all like to sincerely thank Mr. Dennis Phillip for the hard work and encouragement he has poured into our team, and Messrs. Alvin Corneal our coach, and A. Khan for the support and man hours they have given to the team, and a special word of 'thanks' to the public for without you there would be nothing to play for.


Singer Trophy — v Tech. 0-3

Barclays' — v Holy Cross 6-3
— v Vessigny 5-1
(quarter) — v Presentation 2-0
(semi) — v Belmont 1-3

League Trophy — 3-0
Tranquil. 1-0, 3-2
Fatima —, — * league disbanded after Concacaf Finals
Q.R.C. 0-0, 2-0
Tech. 0-0, —
Pres. 1-6, 1-0
St. Benedict's 3-0, —

BOAC Trophy v Tranquil. 2-1 (semi)
v Belmont 5-0 (final)

Guyana and T'dad Mutual Life Trophy v Tech. 0-2

Friendly v Antigua Grammar School 2-0, 1-0: Royal Bank Trophy