Braving the intense sun and heat on Monday afternoon, 100 players competed on the first day of the annual Simon Gavron Challenge Cup, an adult soccer tournament at Fiske Field sponsored by Sunset Beach and the Shelter Island Recreation Department.
Nine teams played in a round robin format, with two. 12-minute games going on at once, one on the north field and one on the south. The short games allowed for quick, aggressive play, delighting the more than 100 spectators who gathered on the bleachers and along the sidelines to cheer on the players as they battled it out.
The seeding round provides an opportunity for each team to play a short game against most of the other teams in the tournament. The teams that have the skill and unity to attain the most points in this format gain preferential seeding for the second round, which is single-elimination and begins next Monday at 5 p.m. at Fiske Field.
Each team consisted of 11 players: seven on the field including a goalie and four substitutes. By the end of the day, B & R, a South Fork team that has won the tournament the past three years, came out on top, with four wins, no losses and two ties.
B & R and the second place team, Hampton FC, received automatic byes into the semifinals. Unfortunately, the perennial sponsor, Sunset Beach, finished at the bottom of the pack and was eliminated from next week’s round.
Other locally sponsored teams, Wooden House Construction and Binder Pools, held their own in the seeding round, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
The first playoff round will feature Binder Pools against Sag Harbor United and Bateman Painting against Ecua Concrete. The winners of the first elimination round will match up with Wooden House Construction and Crystal Clear FC.
The Cup got its start as a group of people who casually played soccer on Monday nights here, a tradition that continues today. As numbers grew, they formed a structured tournament in 2003. Simon Gavron was involved in the creation of that tournament and also helped coach the Shelter Island Youth Summer Soccer program. After his passing in spring 2005, the Cup was renamed in his honor. Simon was warm, caring and had a great enthusiasm for soccer.
All tournament proceeds will benefit Lions Club youth activities and programs.
Don’t miss the second and final day of the Gavron Challenge Cup on Monday, August 22, when one of the remaining eight teams will be crowned champion. The first match kicks off at 5 p.m. at Fiske Field.