Hood arrow in on PHC as title race heats up

  • Up for the challenge: John Barry Nusum hopes his Hood side can take advantage of PHC’s recent slump (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

The Premier Division title race reaches fever pitch this weekend, with the top four teams facing off against each other.

Leaders PHC Zebras face third-placed Robin Hood, the defending champions, at Goose Gosling Field tomorrow at 9pm, while second-place Dandy Town Hornets take on fourth-placed North Village at Bernard Park on Sunday.

Only a point separates PHC from a resurgent Town, while Hood and Village are two further points back, with the champions ahead on goal difference.

The lead in the top flight could swap hands for the first time since September, when the Zebras edged Town 1-0 at PHC Field to knock overnight leaders Village off the top.

Zebras have beaten Hood twice this season, in the Dudley Eve Trophy and Friendship Trophy semi-finals, while the teams played to a 2-2 draw in their first league meeting in October.

Scott Morton’s charges held a six-point cushion at the top of the table, but have seen their lead nearly wiped out after losing back-to-back matches against Town and Village.

John Barry Nusum, the Hood coach, hopes his team can also cash in on PHC’s recent slump.

“The league is wide open, but it’s in our hands and now we have to do the job against PHC,” Nusum said. “Our job is to try and get three points off them and then see what happens.

“It’s set up for a good game and we have had good matches with them this year.

“We haven’t been able to beat them yet but we are on the verge and hopefully we will be able to get over that hump.”

Town are the only team who can replace PHC at the top this weekend, as Zebras have a superior goal difference to Hood and Village.

Fifth-place Devonshire Cougars, who are five points behind PHC, will be looking to keep their title hopes alive when they play host to sixth-placed Boulevard, who lost 7-3 at home to X-Roads last weekend, tomorrow at 3pm.

In Sunday’s remaining Premier Division matches, bottom side Young Men’s Social Club face X-Roads at Police Field while second from bottom Flanagan’s Onions welcome Somerset Trojans, who are one place and four points above them, to Goose Gosling Field.

Likewise, the lead in the First Division could also swap hands as leaders Paget Lions face second-placed BAA at Southampton Oval on Sunday.

Only two points separates Paget from BAA with unbeaten Southampton Rangers, who are away to mid-table Somerset Eagles at White Hill Field.

The other First Division fixtures pit Wolves against St David’s at Devonshire Recreation Club. Devonshire Colts face Ireland Rangers at Police Field, while St George’s take on winless bottom side Hamilton Parish at Wellington Oval.

Standings, page 43