Give us a break, says Kirby coach

John
John Browne
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Much-maligned provincial champs wants advantage that results from P.E.I.'s withdrawal from competition

They've already taken more than their share of criticism for putting together the best women's soccer team Newfoundland and Labrador has ever seen, so provincial champion EPR Kirby/The Dock didn't appreciate getting the short end of the stick at the national Jubilee Trophy championship this week in St. John's.

Prince Edward Island has pulled out, and the tournament scheduling committee made a decision to keep the same set-up and simply give the teams slated to play P.E.I. an automatic three-point win instead of rearranging the divisions or overall schedule.

They've already taken more than their share of criticism for putting together the best women's soccer team Newfoundland and Labrador has ever seen, so provincial champion EPR Kirby/The Dock didn't appreciate getting the short end of the stick at the national Jubilee Trophy championship this week in St. John's.

Prince Edward Island has pulled out, and the tournament scheduling committee made a decision to keep the same set-up and simply give the teams slated to play P.E.I. an automatic three-point win instead of rearranging the divisions or overall schedule.

That means Holy Cross, runner-up to Kirby in the provincial final, will start the tournament with three points because it will play in a division that was to have included P.E.I.; Holy Cross got an invitation to play in the tournament after New Brunswick pulled out.

Kirby will compete in a division with defending champion Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

"It's extremely unfortunate," said Kirby coach Scott Betts, "considering we are the Newfoundland rep in the tournament."

Betts has decided to make an official complaint. He is handing a letter to the committee today that includes his objections, while asking for a review the decision.

"It's is unfair," Betts maintains. "We're the Newfoundland champions. If we are the Newfoundland rep, we should be given the preferred schedule. Hopefully, we'll make some headway."

Even if Betts' complaint pays off and Kirby gets the break of a gimme three points, the coach understands getting a national medal won't be an easy task.

And while many in the local soccer community will probably be watching Kirby with a critical eye based on the controversy during the summer over the team stacking its roster, Betts says all he wants to accomplish is improving the province's place nationally.

"An obvious goal of ours is to get into a medal game," said Betts. "Aside from that, we've put high expectations on ourselves with the goal to try and improve the province's ranking at the national level. Hopefully, we'll keep improving. What other people are considering our final position should be, we have no idea."

Betts says he doesn't know the calibre of the specific teams competing this year, but he knows "generally" what his club will be up against, having been to nationals before.

"The strengths of top four teams -Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia - is that they will be technically clean compared to the Atlantic provinces," he said. "Overall, those four teams are going to be strong across the field."

Betts said his approach has always been to stress defensive play and work at keeping the ball out of his team's net.

"We are playing high-calibre teams and we'll need to assess very quickly whether or not we'll need to adjust our defence."

Kirby isn't playing on opening day, so Betts says his players will take the opportunity to watch other teams.

"It gives us the opportunity to look at the opposition and make a decision, rather than being in the middle of a game and say 'Oh, jeez,' Betts said with a laugh.

"We would have preferred to have the off day in the middle of the tournament," the Kirby coach added.

Following the off-day Wednesday, Kirby plays four games in four days, not including placing games.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com




FAST FACTS

EPR Kirby/The Dock's first game fis against Quebec 6 p.m. Thursday The Newfoundland and Labrador champs face Manitoba 6 p.m. Friday. Saskatchewan is the opponent at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Kirby meets Ontario 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Members of the EPR Kirby/The Dock team include Nichole Adams, Gillian Baker, Laura Breen, Dana Brewer, Janine Bursey, Ashley Dawe, Meaghan Felt, Kayla Franey, Samantha Hansford, Malorie Harris, Michelle Ward, Hannah Rivkin, Nicole Moores, Jennifer Murphy, Leslie Pope, Simone Quinlan, Laura Tilley, Leighanne Tobin, Jessica Wade, Julia Whitten, coaches Scott Betts, Geralyn Hansford, Gerry Kirby and manager Sue Wade.
Kirby's top scorers: Nichole Adams, 21; Malorie Harris,17 and Laura Breen,14.

Organizations: The Dock

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Ontario Saskatchewan St. John's New Brunswick Manitoba Alberta British Columbia

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Recent comments

  • Paula
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    I am completely in favour of a two-tier system. If more private clinics were available, those that prefer to pay can be attended to faster and will lighten the burden on the public system, which will in turn produce a quicker turn-around of service, with less demand. Also, with paying clients to a private system, this added financial bonus to doctors should offer new options for graduates.

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Kirby...the best girls team Newfoundland has ever seen ....joke ...they can hardly beat Holy Cross with their super team ....they are a bunch of soaks ...now sunddenly their not the best team boohoo....Holy Cross will do better in nationals than kirby count on it

  • Daniel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    My view as NL champs, Kirby should receive the better schedule. However, look at the bigger picture. New Brunswick does not have a representative for both Challenge Cup/Jubilee and of course the PEI women withdrawal. Especially with these tournaments being hosted in Atlantic Canada. It does not give us much hope for having the Nationals hosted by our region in the coming years. It does wonders for the game!
    It would not surprise me that in future tournaments only one team will represent the Atlantic Region.

  • Go Blue
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Can't wait to see St. Lawrence this weekend. They're good and hungry for a gold medal. Kirby will be in contention too. They have to win their first game against Quebec....go NL!!!!

  • Soccer Fan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    It effects Kirby because they don't get a day off in the middle of the schedule. They play 5 straight games. Whereas Cross gets a day off after 2 games! It not a matter of 3 points, its a matter of rest time!

    And i'm sure if St. Lawrence were in Kirby's shoes and Fieldians got a day off that they didn't.. all hell would break loose!! Without a doubt!

  • jo
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Just wanted to put some clarity on the situation.

    The schedule is put together based on last years National rankings and nothing else.

    The days off are scheduled based on this with the preferred days off going to the teams placing highest last year.

    If a team enters the tournament such as Holy Cross with no prior placement, they automatically come in as the last place team, with everyone else moving up a place in the standings.

    This makes the divisions with teams 1,3,5,7,9 in one division and 2,4,6,8,10 in the other division.

    Kirby as the Newfoundland rep, was given the best possible schedule in regards to times given Newfoundlands rnaking of last place at last years nationals.

    Schedules and decisions regarding schedules are approved ONLY by the CSA and have nothing to do with hometown advantage or disadvantage but simply previous placement.

    If there was any team that should complain it should be Quebec as they were first last year and have to play more games now.

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I find it remarkable that this team is critisized for being good. For years the some of the whiners who complained were part of St. John's teams that regularly ran up scores against less credible opponents. Now they complain because they were beat or someone is better? Good Luck to Kirby in the Nationals.

  • Soccerfan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    If everyone in the division (with PEI withdrawing) is awarded 3 points for the withdrawing team games - then all teams will be indifferent. Final placement games will be played based on your standing in your division compared to standings in the other division (eg 1st vs 1st for gold medal). If Kirby is awarded 3 points as well for an automatic win - then all other teams in their division will also be awarded the 3 points and everyone is back to square one!! This protest will not gain anything - one division simply has the luck of one less team - making each of their games all that more important.

    Besides - isn't this supposed to be an 'elite' team - they shouldn't be scared of any competition. I think they are thinking back to the final when Holy Cross gave them a run for their money.

  • billybobby
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Another year and another complaining NL. sports team. Why don't they try to be like the Rock Rugby Team and Shut Up and play? Let the winning do the talking.
    I think there's too much talking and not enough winning...especially in soccer. Maybe they need to bring back Bobber Thompson to show them how to win again.

  • soccermom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Boo Hoo....cry me a river! Elite Soccer Team, please can someone please define elite to me! Remember ladies and gentleman, these are senior ladies and senior men's soccer teams. At this point in these players lives they should be focused on their educations, careers and even families for some. Soccer is a sport that they grew up playing both recreational and competitive and at this point in their lives it gives them the ability to play a sport that they are passionate about with team mates that hold the same passion. It's not about hand picking a group of players 'someone' thinks are the best in the province because then what you get is a group of 'individuals' trying to play as a team. What surprised this elite 'Kirby' soccer team, sure you can have a group of individuals however you need that 'team' spirit to bring it home. That was never more evident that at the Jubilee Final Game, Holy Cross came out as the winners , not on the scoreboard, but in the minds and hearts of the fans that witnessed that game. They gave it everything they had and they played as a team. What the Soccer Association for Newfoundland has done to the Women's Soccer League is an injustice and will be evident when next year rolls around and they suddenly realize that their Tier I is made up a one team and those still holding an interest for the sport will opt to play in Tier II. Time will tell how this one will play out. As a point of interest, before we talk about fairness with respect to playoffs, lets remember when Holy Cross played four games straight to earn their right to the finals when Kirby played only one game.....did they cry foul....I think not they sucked it up and earned their spot!

  • Ann
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Kirby are not scared of the competion. This team worked long and hard to win the right to represent NL at the Nationals on Home Turf this weekend. None of the girls expected this to be an easy task. Cross was a good contender but face it - they did lose to Kirby in the final. Had they won, do you think they would be excited to have Kirby automatically in the Nationals because a team dropped out - I don't think so., And then to be given an automatic 3 points while Kirby has to fight for their points. Leg's go Kirby. Winning a medal or even getting to medal contention would be bitter sweet. It's time NL placed high in the final standings. I applaud Scott Betts and the girls for going ahed with this tem. NL deserves a good showing at Nationals. Go Kirby girls - give it all you got.

  • kirbyfan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I actually hope that Kirby does well at Nationals and even I think that this whole situation is a bit outlandish.

    First of all, if you read the NLSA site, there is no extra 3 points . It clearly says the games just aren't being played, and the teams start off at 0.

    I also don't see how this even effects Kirby. The only way they would see any side effects of the withdrawal would be if they finished last place in their division, which I'm sure they have no intention of doing anyways, and in which case it would be a complete disaster for the team.

    I think its unfortunate for the girls on the team that have earned the right to be here that their coach can't keep his mouth shut. He is 95% of the reason the team has taken so much ciritcism. He just needs to know when to give up and let his players abilities speak for themselves.

  • laurentiansfan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Unfortunately this article does not tell the whoel story.

    Kirby Co. DID recieve the better schedule. When the schedule was completed Kirby was given all prime time games (at their request) allowing them to enjoy the majority of the fan base and playing after the Laurentians each night. They had the consistent schedule playing at almost the same time each day.

    This was much unlike everyone else's schedule such as Holy Cross who were playing at random times through out the morning and early afternoon, less that ideal times.

    It was only by a complete fluke and unfortune that they happened to not be in the division with the PEI team that dropped out.

    Given these facts I can't come to grasp with what all this fuss is about. Things like this occur all the time, and the CSA was just following the normal trend of defaulting the games. It had nothing to do with Kirby in any way so i really don't understand the complaint.

  • Paula
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    I am completely in favour of a two-tier system. If more private clinics were available, those that prefer to pay can be attended to faster and will lighten the burden on the public system, which will in turn produce a quicker turn-around of service, with less demand. Also, with paying clients to a private system, this added financial bonus to doctors should offer new options for graduates.

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Kirby...the best girls team Newfoundland has ever seen ....joke ...they can hardly beat Holy Cross with their super team ....they are a bunch of soaks ...now sunddenly their not the best team boohoo....Holy Cross will do better in nationals than kirby count on it

  • Daniel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    My view as NL champs, Kirby should receive the better schedule. However, look at the bigger picture. New Brunswick does not have a representative for both Challenge Cup/Jubilee and of course the PEI women withdrawal. Especially with these tournaments being hosted in Atlantic Canada. It does not give us much hope for having the Nationals hosted by our region in the coming years. It does wonders for the game!
    It would not surprise me that in future tournaments only one team will represent the Atlantic Region.

  • Go Blue
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Can't wait to see St. Lawrence this weekend. They're good and hungry for a gold medal. Kirby will be in contention too. They have to win their first game against Quebec....go NL!!!!

  • Soccer Fan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    It effects Kirby because they don't get a day off in the middle of the schedule. They play 5 straight games. Whereas Cross gets a day off after 2 games! It not a matter of 3 points, its a matter of rest time!

    And i'm sure if St. Lawrence were in Kirby's shoes and Fieldians got a day off that they didn't.. all hell would break loose!! Without a doubt!

  • jo
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Just wanted to put some clarity on the situation.

    The schedule is put together based on last years National rankings and nothing else.

    The days off are scheduled based on this with the preferred days off going to the teams placing highest last year.

    If a team enters the tournament such as Holy Cross with no prior placement, they automatically come in as the last place team, with everyone else moving up a place in the standings.

    This makes the divisions with teams 1,3,5,7,9 in one division and 2,4,6,8,10 in the other division.

    Kirby as the Newfoundland rep, was given the best possible schedule in regards to times given Newfoundlands rnaking of last place at last years nationals.

    Schedules and decisions regarding schedules are approved ONLY by the CSA and have nothing to do with hometown advantage or disadvantage but simply previous placement.

    If there was any team that should complain it should be Quebec as they were first last year and have to play more games now.

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I find it remarkable that this team is critisized for being good. For years the some of the whiners who complained were part of St. John's teams that regularly ran up scores against less credible opponents. Now they complain because they were beat or someone is better? Good Luck to Kirby in the Nationals.

  • Soccerfan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    If everyone in the division (with PEI withdrawing) is awarded 3 points for the withdrawing team games - then all teams will be indifferent. Final placement games will be played based on your standing in your division compared to standings in the other division (eg 1st vs 1st for gold medal). If Kirby is awarded 3 points as well for an automatic win - then all other teams in their division will also be awarded the 3 points and everyone is back to square one!! This protest will not gain anything - one division simply has the luck of one less team - making each of their games all that more important.

    Besides - isn't this supposed to be an 'elite' team - they shouldn't be scared of any competition. I think they are thinking back to the final when Holy Cross gave them a run for their money.

  • billybobby
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Another year and another complaining NL. sports team. Why don't they try to be like the Rock Rugby Team and Shut Up and play? Let the winning do the talking.
    I think there's too much talking and not enough winning...especially in soccer. Maybe they need to bring back Bobber Thompson to show them how to win again.

  • soccermom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Boo Hoo....cry me a river! Elite Soccer Team, please can someone please define elite to me! Remember ladies and gentleman, these are senior ladies and senior men's soccer teams. At this point in these players lives they should be focused on their educations, careers and even families for some. Soccer is a sport that they grew up playing both recreational and competitive and at this point in their lives it gives them the ability to play a sport that they are passionate about with team mates that hold the same passion. It's not about hand picking a group of players 'someone' thinks are the best in the province because then what you get is a group of 'individuals' trying to play as a team. What surprised this elite 'Kirby' soccer team, sure you can have a group of individuals however you need that 'team' spirit to bring it home. That was never more evident that at the Jubilee Final Game, Holy Cross came out as the winners , not on the scoreboard, but in the minds and hearts of the fans that witnessed that game. They gave it everything they had and they played as a team. What the Soccer Association for Newfoundland has done to the Women's Soccer League is an injustice and will be evident when next year rolls around and they suddenly realize that their Tier I is made up a one team and those still holding an interest for the sport will opt to play in Tier II. Time will tell how this one will play out. As a point of interest, before we talk about fairness with respect to playoffs, lets remember when Holy Cross played four games straight to earn their right to the finals when Kirby played only one game.....did they cry foul....I think not they sucked it up and earned their spot!

  • Ann
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Kirby are not scared of the competion. This team worked long and hard to win the right to represent NL at the Nationals on Home Turf this weekend. None of the girls expected this to be an easy task. Cross was a good contender but face it - they did lose to Kirby in the final. Had they won, do you think they would be excited to have Kirby automatically in the Nationals because a team dropped out - I don't think so., And then to be given an automatic 3 points while Kirby has to fight for their points. Leg's go Kirby. Winning a medal or even getting to medal contention would be bitter sweet. It's time NL placed high in the final standings. I applaud Scott Betts and the girls for going ahed with this tem. NL deserves a good showing at Nationals. Go Kirby girls - give it all you got.

  • kirbyfan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I actually hope that Kirby does well at Nationals and even I think that this whole situation is a bit outlandish.

    First of all, if you read the NLSA site, there is no extra 3 points . It clearly says the games just aren't being played, and the teams start off at 0.

    I also don't see how this even effects Kirby. The only way they would see any side effects of the withdrawal would be if they finished last place in their division, which I'm sure they have no intention of doing anyways, and in which case it would be a complete disaster for the team.

    I think its unfortunate for the girls on the team that have earned the right to be here that their coach can't keep his mouth shut. He is 95% of the reason the team has taken so much ciritcism. He just needs to know when to give up and let his players abilities speak for themselves.

  • laurentiansfan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Unfortunately this article does not tell the whoel story.

    Kirby Co. DID recieve the better schedule. When the schedule was completed Kirby was given all prime time games (at their request) allowing them to enjoy the majority of the fan base and playing after the Laurentians each night. They had the consistent schedule playing at almost the same time each day.

    This was much unlike everyone else's schedule such as Holy Cross who were playing at random times through out the morning and early afternoon, less that ideal times.

    It was only by a complete fluke and unfortune that they happened to not be in the division with the PEI team that dropped out.

    Given these facts I can't come to grasp with what all this fuss is about. Things like this occur all the time, and the CSA was just following the normal trend of defaulting the games. It had nothing to do with Kirby in any way so i really don't understand the complaint.