Exchequers, GRA draw in Hockey Africa Cup, Royal Ladies show class

BY: George Ernest Asare
Sylvester Apronti of Exchequers stretches to control the ball as teammate Samuel Mensah (7) closes in to support
Sylvester Apronti of Exchequers stretches to control the ball as teammate Samuel Mensah (7) closes in to support

Ghana’s two male representatives, Exchequers and Royal Men of GRA, exhibited a high-class performance in their derby at the ongoing Hockey Africa Cup for Club Champions at the Abuja National Stadium yesterday to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Both teams entered the match with high expectations in search of the maximum points to push them towards the grand finale on Saturday and fought as if they were from a different planet hunting for a treasure buried on the field.

While the GRA showed promise in attack and created numerous scoring chances, Exchequers were more athletic and skilful in handling the ball.

Despite the dominance of Royal Men in the first quarter of the game, it was Exchequers who scored first in the latter stages through Eric Dzotsi.

A solo effort by nimble-footed Samuel Mensah saw the defenders of Royal Men falling deep to defend but Mensah kept his cool and laid an intelligent pass to Dzotsi to slot the ball home and receive a standing ovation in the process.

Royal Men responded quickly and attacked in droves with series of penalty corners but failed to score until the third quarter when Ernest Opoku brought his team at par by converting a penalty kick after an Exchequers defender handled the ball in the vital area.

Royal Ladies of the GRA also showed class in their match against Delta Queens of Nigeria with a cricket score of 7-0 to keep pace with Telkom Orange of Kenya with four wins each.

A brace each by hardworking Lydia Afriyie and Maanyembim Brenya, and a goal each by Gertrude Inkoom, Elizabeth Opoku and Linda Effah Barnie gave the Ghanaians a well-deserved victory and the tonic to defend the title they claimed from Telkom Orange in Accra in 2017.

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It was Lydia who started the goal haul early in the first quarter before Gertrude increased a few minutes later.

Lydia was on hand again when she converted a short corner, before Barnie scored in the second quarter from close range.

Royal Ladies continued to dominate their opponents and scored three additional goals in the third quarter through Linda, Elizabeth and Brenya to win their second game of the tournament.