VFA begins group stage play

Tom Shockey of Coop de Ville controls a high bouncing ball, marked by AFC's Joshua Jackson. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Vineyard Football Association’s regular season ended with Sand Bar and Grill claiming the regular season title.

SBG finished top of the table with 24 points after then third-place Island Star blanked second-place Coop de Ville 2-0 July 31 at Veterans Park. A Coop win would have resulted in 25 points and the title but Leandro Trinidade and Jason Larges scored to lift Island Star into second and drop Coop to third.

August 1, the VFA began Group Stage and knockout play. Group A is comprised of first place Sand Bar and Grill, fourth place Sports Haven and fifth place Island Copper. Group B includes second place Island Star, third place Coop de Ville, and sixth place Atlantic Football Club (AFC). The teams will play four matches within the respective groups. The top team in Group A advances to the semifinals to play the winner of a play-in match between the bottom two teams in Group B, while the Group B champ plays the winner of A2 vs. A3. The two semifinal winners then meet in a playoff final. If regular season champ Sand Bar and Grill also wins the playoff round, they will hoist the Gilbert-Hammond Cup. If another team wins the playoff round, they will play SBG in an additional match to win the cup.

In the opening matches, Island Star downed Coop 2-0, while SBG drew with Sports Haven 2-2.

Tuesday at Veterans Park, Coop de Ville romped to a 6-0 win over AFC. Tom Shockey and Ben Herbst each scored twice in the first half for Coop. Sports Haven edged Island Copper, 1-0, in the nightcap.