Tito Grazette of Barbados (left) going up for an aerial kick during Sunday’s game.

Barbados captain Tito Beckles shielding the ball from Terry Bowes as Aaron Clarke moves in on his other flank.

Barbados come close in International Beach Soccer Showcase

It is hoped that the Barbados Beach Soccer team would have learned their lesson and are all the better for it as they ready themselves for international competition at the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship. With the curtain coming down on the Barbados Football Association’s International Beach Soccer this past Sunday night, the local team would have gotten some much-needed match practice before heading off to the Bahamas for the February 20 to 26 tournament.

This past weekend’s showcase, which was held on Brandon’s Beach, saw teams from Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and England all going at each other in a bid to ready themselves for major competition. The hosts had a tough time of it as they were held to losses in all of their games.

However, the tournament was brought to an end with a slim six-four loss to England, who are ranked 27th in the world. After recording miserable losses in other games across the three-day showcase, Barbados had their best game against their international opponents.

The hosts opened things at the top of the fourth minute when skipper Tito Beckles took a long shot at the keeper who was beat by the bounce. The ball ricocheted up and off the cross bar to keep the visitors safe. However, the ball dropped to the feet of Jamal Chandler who easily put it in the back of the nets.

The lead was cut down quickly as England were awarded a free kick inside the same minute which Cameron O’Rourke converted. The English tipped the scales in their favour with 5:55 on the clock when their captain Aaron Clarke put the ball past Mario Albert from point-blank. With exactly one minute left, the score became three-one as O’Rourke came knocking again with another free kick, this time from the left.

Two minutes into the second third, Barbados brought themselves back within striking range as Chandler picked up his second goal. The tall striker put his left foot through the ball which saw it sailing to the left-V, past the outstretched arms of the lanky Dan Hulme. England struck back again to put some distance between the two just seconds after. Albert was drawn off his line to leave a wide open goal for Clarke.

At the top of the fifth minute in the final third, O’Rourke brought up his hat-trick with a beauty of a header after running through the middle to connect with a cross from the right. Barbados were still alive and had some fight left in them as Chandler got a hat-trick of his own by squaring a left-footed volley on the left from Rashawn Boxill.

The locals had a comeback of sorts as they ended up just one behind the English following Duan Best’s pounce on a loose ball after Hulme punched away a penalty with under a minute on the clock. Dreams were dashed, however, as Clarke got his treble in the dying seconds of the game by putting his head on a cross from the right.

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