Footballers Gearing For Finals On New Year’s Day

December 30, 2018

[Written by Patrick Bean]

The four teams involved in the New Year’s Day Friendship and Shield finals each enter with great vision and aspiration to emerge as the crowned champions of the respective competitions, however only two will reveal crowns of the greatest honour, while the others go away in lament of yet being only maids to the bride.

PHC, Dandy Town, Hamilton Parish and Southampton Rangers are all due up on the altar of desire at Somerset Cricket Club field which will first feature Hamilton Parish and Southampton Rangers in contest for the Shield Competition designated for First Division franchises [12 noon start].

Rangers are undisputed favourites to retain the title they won a year ago and stand as the in-form team, meaning Parish will have to punch well above their weight and capability to stand a shot at repelling the Southampton juggernaut, which features an array of attacking and defensive talent that thus far no teams have been able to master.

However, with complacency regarding success perhaps the only factor which might hinder his team, Southampton coach Jomar Wilkinson spoke of his constant reminder to players that they have yet to achieve anything of substance or their best, that they remain humble in their commitment to prevail.

“Every week I tell my players to stay humble because we haven’t done anything,” said Wilkinson following their last victory, a 2-0 semifinal win over chief league rivals Somerset Eagles. “All we’ve done is win one game, and how it’s important for us to stay humble because there’s still another game to be played and work to be done.

“I have no doubt that my players will answer to this and remain humble, they understand what it takes because they’ve been here once before and they can draw off what they experienced last year and realise that it takes a lot of hard work … it takes discipline … and we must remain humble in the task.”

Counterpart Corey Hill at Hamilton Parish likewise emphasised the need for great commitment to the task and stated game-plan and was certainly not in fear of the opponents despite their obvious dominance and displayed capabilities.

“We just have to stick to our games plan and if we can do that I know we can be competitive,” said Hill following his team’s 4-2 overtime triumph over Devonshire Colts in their last match. “I think we match up pretty evenly with the players that we have available, so to me it’s an even game.”

Still, while the Hot Peppers do appear to have attacking capability to threaten defences, their own defence stands as a concern, considering its propensity to give up goals, something they will not want to afford Rangers, who have Donte Brangman, Cardell Henry and Isaiah Taylor up front as hungry lions ready to feast.

Meanwhile, the main feature match for the Friendship Trophy [Somerset Cricket Club, 2.30 p.m.] has another delicious New Year’s offering as PHC attempt to defend the Friendship Trophy prize they won on the inaugural day of 2018 against Dandy Town.

In Las Vegas they’d likely have closed betting, such is the preferred status of the Zebras entering the match, however, Hornets have an audacious array of precocious talent not to be ignored and possessing the carefree fearlessness of youth.

Town coach Devarr Boyles, who has the task of harnessing this talent to greater cohesion was optimistic as to his charges’ chances against the more seasoned and championship pedigree of PHC on the given day.

“Everything has to be done collectively, without the collective effort defensively and offensively we get nothing, so there must be a balance,” said Boyles. “They’re going to have their moments and we’re going to have ours and who manages their moments better will win … hopefully that’s us.”

Rival gaffer Scott Morton of PHC emphasised that he and his team would be taking little for granted against Town and would need to perform much better than they did against Robin Hood, where they escaped with a 1-0 win based on a late strike from college student Kole Hall.

“We got to play a lot better [in the final] because Dandy Town are improving and it’s important that we bring our ‘A’ game,” began Morton after the Boxing Day match at St. David’s. “At the same time they [Dandy Town] have to always be wary of us because my players are big time fighters and believers and that carries us a long way.”

Key to much of PHC’s success this season has been the tremendously consistent and spectacular play of captain Cecoy Robinson who will warrant major attention from the Hornets defence, however Morton and Zebras possess several alternative weapons in the likes of Wendell [Tre] Ming, Marco Warren and another college student Keishon Bean as well as a deep bench with the likes of Hall, Kenny Matthie and Jahiem Iris Iris prepared for duty if called upon.

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