08/15/12 3:00pm

DON D’AMATO COURTESY PHOTO | Action at the Simon Gavron annual soccer tournament last weekend.

The Simon Gavron Challenge Cup enjoyed another year of very even, competitive soccer and successfully raised over $2,000 for the Shelter Island Lions Club’s youth programs.

During the first round of play on Saturday, August 11, just 3 points separated the bottom five teams in round robin play. Because the teams were so close, they all were invited back to the single elimination round on Sunday.

Tournament sponsors La Maison Blanche and Sunset Beach were the 7th and 8th seed and were eliminated from the tournament by the 1st and 2nd seeded teams, Bill Miller Associates and Christian Johnson Tree & TrufWorks. SG United, a local team that has competed in the tournament for the past 10 years, finished in 6th place out of eight teams in the tournament.

SG United did not play well on Saturday but its fortunes changed on Sunday as the team began to play like the champions they were in 2010, when they won the Challenge Cup. In the first elimination round, SG United faced Shelter Island Pharmacy, a team that has supported the tournament since the beginning. In this quarter-final match, SG United handily beat the Pharmacy, a team of all-league and all-county players from Southold High School’s graduating classes of 2007-2012, by a score of 3-1. SG United’s young Jimmy Read led the scoring in that game, with both the go-ahead and final goal, to the dismay of the Pharmacy squad but to the delight of the SG United fans with his patented celebration, “Discount Double Check.”

SG United met some stiff completion in the semi-final round against Leslie Czeladko’s team, sponsored by Tree & TurfWorks. At the end of regulation play and an additional 5-minute overtime period, the score remained tied at 0-0 so penalty kicks would decide the match. SG United made all three of their shots but Tree & TurfWorks could only score two so the number 6 seed moved on to play the number 1 seed, Bill Miller Associates.

Bill Miller Associates had a far easier time getting through to the finals. They beat La Maison Blanche, captained by Alistair Maclean, by a score of 5-1 and then went on to beat Bateman Painting, a Sag Harbor team, by a score of 4-1. Bateman Painting had beaten the Outsiders FC, captained by Carlos of Fedi’s, by a score of 4-1 in an earlier lopsided match.

Bill Miller Associates is a team that plays year-round at a very high skill level. Their level of play did not diminish during the tournament; they scored 21 goals in the two days of play and easily moved into the finals. During the final round between Bill Miller Associates and local favorite SG United, it looked as though Bill Miller Associates would continue its domination as the first half ended with a 2-0 lead.

This would change in the second half as SG United, again led by Jimmy Read, quickly scored a goal in the opening minute to make it 2-1. Later in the match, SG United’s Alex George, a talented midfielder, all-state high school player and recent Marist College graduate, evened the score with a penalty kick. SG United tried to hang on as George went out of the game with leg cramps from two days of continuous play and high humidity.

As the game drew to a close, the team play of Bill Miller Associates proved to be too much for SG United to hold on to the 2-2 tie and Bill Miller Associates won the match, 3-2, claiming their second consecutive Simon Gavron Challenge Cup title.

After the finals, all the teams were invited back to La Maison Blanche for an afternoon buffet. Later this summer, the winning team will also be treated to dinner for 10 at Sunset Beach, which has sponsored the event for the past 10 years.