Village out to cement place at the summit
North Village will be looking to strengthen their grip on first place in the Premier Division tomorrow, when they host Southampton Rangers at Bernard Park.
The Rams could be joined in a tie for first place later today when Robin Hood, three points behind, take on fourth-placed PHC at PHC Field in the weekend’s top match. Both Village and Hood have an identical plus-13 goal difference, with Hood in a position to move level with the leaders on 16 points.
This will be Hood’s first outing since being thrashed 5-2 by Dandy Town in the Dudley Eve Trophy final on November 10. It was their first loss of the season.
Hood will have their four international players back from Bermuda’s Concacaf Nations League match in Mexico on Tuesday, while PHC will welcome back captain Cecoy Robinson.
PHC’s loss to Dandy Town last weekend matched the three defeats they suffered in the league last season in defending their league crown.
Now they are just one goal away from equalling the 14 goals they conceded in the league last term.
Somerset Trojans’ match with X-Roads, which was scheduled for tonight, has been switched to Sunday as their lights have still not been repaired.
The Trojans are aiming to make it two wins on the trot after Dion Stovell’s double last weekend earned their first win of the season, a 2-0 result against Rangers.
Unfortunately Stovell, a late transfer from Paget, is heading out this weekend to Oman with the Bermuda cricket team and will not be available for this match or the crucial one before Christmas on December 14 against bottom team Boulevard as Bermuda play their final match of the tour two days earlier.
Larry Smith, the new coach of X-Roads, is a former coach of the Trojans and is looking forward to the match with his opposite number, Dennis Brown, a player he coached at Somerset.
“We actually had a preseason game at the BFA field and I got an idea how they play,” Smith said.
“He’s very defence-minded, like I am, so it might be a battle of which defence breaks first. I had spoken with him earlier this year and he is really concerned about development as opposed to just winning.”
Like Somerset, Boulevard know that they need to begin winning soon as seven league games without a goal has left them in last place and looking favourites for the drop.
Form suggests they face a tough away trip to St John’s Field to meet the Hornets, though they did get something out of their trip there last year in the form of a 3-2 win in the league.
Town trio Angelo Simmons, Clay Darrell and Rieko Trott are all former Boulevard players while Ian Coke, the Boulevard player-coach, was a Hornets player a couple of seasons ago. Boulevard are relying on him to help end their goal drought which is now at nine league and cup games.
Simmons went off injured with a hamstring injury but yesterday Aaron Denkins, said: “The injury is not as bad as first feared”, without indicating whether Simmons will be in the line-up on Sunday. The Town captain is their leading scorer with five goals.
Somerset Eagles are hoping to end a three-game losing streak when they travel to play Devonshire Cougars tomorrow. Losses to Southampton Rangers, PHC and North Village has seen Eagles drop to eighth in the standings, now only four points ahead of neighbours Somerset Trojans, though just a point behind Cougars and Rangers.
In the First Division, new leaders St George’s, the only team with a perfect record, play Flanagan’s Onions at Wellington Oval.
Goalkeeper Zeko Burgess is another member of the Bermuda cricket team, but the East Enders have a more than adequate replacement in former professional Freddie Hall who is still involved with the team.
Devonshire Colts play St David’s at Devonshire Rec, while Wolves meet Young Men’s Social Club at Garrison Field. Ireland Rangers play Hamilton Parish today at Malabar Field.
North Village will play X-Roads and Devonshire Cougars will take on Boulevard in two Friendship Trophy preliminary round matches next weekend.
?The draw for the competition, which will conclude with the final on New Year’s Day, was made yesterday and will see the four teams battling for a place in the quarter-finals which are set for December 7. The winners of the Village-X-Roads match will play Southampton Rangers at Southampton Oval while Cougars or Boulevard will be home to Somerset Trojans.
PHC, who beat Dandy Town 5-2 in last season’s final, have been drawn at home to Robin Hood in the quarter-finals while the other match will see Somerset Eagles hosting Dandy Town at White Hill Field.
One First Division Shield preliminary match is scheduled for next weekend, with Hamilton Parish playing Devonshire Colts, with the winners meeting First Division leaders, St George’s, in the quarter-finals the following weekend. Other quarter-final matches will see Wolves playing St David’s, Vasco taking on Ireland Rangers and Flanagan’s Onions against Young Men’s Social Club. Southampton Rangers won last season’s Shield, beating Hamilton Parish 2-1 in the final.
The semi-finals of the Friendship Trophy and Shield are scheduled for December 22 and 26.
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