For the 13th year the Shelter Island Challenge Cup kicked off this week with some familiar teams vying for the coveted Simon Gavron 7-a-side soccer trophy.
Five locally sponsored teams from Sunset Beach, Binder Pools, Wooden House, Elli’s Country Store and SG United met to play in a round-robin format at Fiske Field. Three teams from East Hampton Town, including Bill Miller & Associates, Bateman Painting and B & R also joined the group to make the first round highly competitive with few points separating each team.
The seeding round provided an opportunity for each team to play all the teams in the tournament in a short 12 minute game. 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 Monday, August 17 at 5 p.m. at Fiske Field.
The weather was excellent for a late summer tournament with very low humidity, but the rivalries quickly turned up the heat on the field. Two teams rose to the top to achieve the first and second spots in the draw and obtain a two-round bye into the semifinals.
Identical to 2014, SG United, sponsored by Ron and Ron Ltd., finished with the top seeded spot by a -point margin over Bill Miller, the 2012 champion, who ended the evening as the second seed for Monday’s round. SG United had only one loss in the seven games of round-robin play and that loss was to the second seed, Bill Miller. This highly contested round-robin play should make the single elimination round very intense with several teams having a chance to finish on top.
The surprise team of the tournament was Binder Pools, finishing in third place. In recent years, Binder Pools has ended the seeding round in fifth and seventh places, so the third-place finish was a welcome surprise to team Captain Leslie Czeladko.
Equally surprising was the tournament sponsors, Team Sunset Beach. Sunset Beach, which has been a gracious sponsor of the tournament since its inception in 2003, has struggled to finish off the bottom rung.
This year proved to be different. With some great goalie play from Dominic Ansell, the team concluded the seeding round in fifth place. Rounding out the first week of play was last year’s champion B & R in fourth place, Elli’s Country Store in sixth, Wooden House in seventh and Bateman Painting in eighth.
The Challenge Cup soccer trophy is named in memory of a great friend of the sport, Simon Gavron, who passed away unexpectedly in the spring of 2005. Simon will always be remembered for his warm, caring personality and his great enthusiasm for soccer and youth development on Shelter Island.
The Shelter Island Lions Club nets approximately $2,500 from this tournament and uses the money to support youth athletics and community needs.
August 17’s single elimination play at 5 p.m. at Fiske Field should follow the strong tradition of quality summer soccer on Shelter Island. Please come down and support the Shelter Island Lions Club while watching a great sporting event.