The 15th annual Simon Gavron Challenge Cup kicked off Monday with nine teams striving for the desired trophy in tightly contested seven-a-side soccer contests.
The weather this year could not have been better; low humidity and comfortable temperatures added to the quality of play and a few late summer rains made the field conditions near perfect.
Sunset Beach Hotel continues its tradition as sponsor of the tournament, together with the Shelter Island Recreational Department.
The tournament has consistently raised about $2,500 annually to benefit the Shelter Island Lions club youth Activities programs.
Locally sponsored teams from Sunset Beach, Binder Pools and Shelter Island FC all met on Fiske Field for a very competitive round-robin seeding draw.
The tournament also comprises many teams from East Hampton, including Hampton FC, Bateman Painting, Ecua Concrete, Crystal Clear FC, Sag Harbor FC and B & R. Each team played six short matches, which ultimately yielded the seeding for next week’s single elimination games.
Shelter Island’s Binder Pools took the early top of the leader board and refused to relinquish it for the duration of the first day of play. While other teams below them moved up and down throughout the evening, Binder Pools did not budge from the top.
Led by team captain Leslie Czeladko, Binder Pools finished with a record of 5 wins and 1 loss, which occurred in their last match of the night, but had no effect on the final standings.
Last year’s champion B & R started out slow but eventually returned to championship form and closed out the evening as the second seeded team for next week.
The quality of play Monday should make the single elimination round intense, with several teams having a chance to finish as the 2017 Champion.
B & R, which has won the tournament the past four years, and even though going into the final in second place, remains the tournament’s favorite. Unfortunately, the perpetual sponsor, Sunset Beach, finished at the bottom of the pack and was eliminated from next week’s round.
Single elimination play begins Monday, August 7 at 5 p.m. and should follow the strong tradition of quality summer soccer on Shelter Island. Please come out and support the Shelter Island Lions Club while watching a great sporting event.