Hornets favourites to defend title

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  • Devonshire Cougars’ new signing Drewonde Bascome (right).

    Devonshire Cougars’ new signing Drewonde Bascome (right).

  • Key man: North Village’s Jason Lee (left).

    Key man: North Village’s Jason Lee (left).

  • Somerset Trojans’ Tahj Wade will be hoping for a strong season

    Somerset Trojans’ Tahj Wade will be hoping for a strong season

  • Robin Hood’s new coach Kyle Lightbourne talks to his players during a recent training session at Goose Gosling Field.

    Robin Hood’s new coach Kyle Lightbourne talks to his players during a recent training session at Goose Gosling Field.


DANDY TOWN

The defending Digicel Premier Division champions are undoubtedly the team to beat this season.

They lifted the title, FA Cup and Dudley Eve last season and it would be unwise betting against them to claim a similar haul of trophies this term.

Jomar Wilkinson has arguably been the best operator during the transfer window, picking up talented Boulevard trio Ajani Gibbons, Temiko Wilson and Ernest Trott.

Aquino Grant will also boost their attack, not that it needed it considering Hornets already boast the most fearsome strikeforce in the league in Raymond Beach, Damon Ming and Angelo Simmons.

Although you can’t read too much into the Charity Cup as an indicator of things to come, the ease in which Hornets dismantled North Village in last week’s curtain-raiser was impressive to say the least.

With strength in depth in all departments, Hornets seem well equipped for another memorable, trophy-laden season.

In: Aquino Grant (PHC), Temiko Wilson (Boulevard), Ajani Gibbons (Boulevard), Ernest Trott (Boulevard), Lorenzo Simmons (Hamilton Parish)

Out: Aljame Zuill (Wolves), Kevin Weeks Jnr (BAA), Torico Caines (BAA), Tymon Daniels (X’Roads), Tristan Daniels (X’Roads), Kelvon Butterfield (YMSC), Ryan Tyrell (BAA)

Last season: Champions

Star man: Angelo Simmons

DEVONSHIRE COUGARS

Cougars will be looking to improve on last season’s third-place finish after a slow start under coach Dennis Brown.

Newcomer Drewonde Bascome should add some much-needed creativity to the midfield while winger Domico Coddington is still a match-winner on his day.

Losing their opening Dudley Eve game to St George’s in midweek will be a slight concern for Brown who is under pressure to deliver after Cougars went trophyless last term.

Making a strong start to the season will be the best way of appeasing the club’s loyal and vocal supporters who have grown accustomed to seeing Cougars lift silverware in recent years.

Where the goals will come from remains to be seen in the absence of an out-and-out striker but with their passing style and movement off the ball that may be a non-factor in the long haul.

In: Drewonde Bascome (Robin Hood), Lovintz Tota (Robin Hood), Akeem Wolffe (Robin Hood), Jevanie Fubler (Robin Hood), Conneko Trott (BAA), Darren Wiliams (Devonshire Colts), Ramal Harris (Hamilton Parish), Andrew Samuels (YMSC)

Out: Rodre Wilson (St David’s), Sean Brangman (Somerset Trojans)

Last season: Third

Star man: Domico Coddington

FLANAGAN’S ONIONS

It will certainly be interesting to see whether the Island’s ‘expat’ outfit can hold their own in Bermuda’s top-flight.

They may not be as creative as many of their Premier Division counterparts but with their physicality, organisation and will to win, they might just surprise a few people this campaign.

Expect former PHC playmaker Keston Lewis to once again pull the strings for Onions who will certainly feel as though they have a point to prove this season.

While it’s unlikely they will be able to contain the league’s very top sides, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t expect to pick up points against the so-called weaker teams.

This season will be a step into the unknown for the majority of Onions’ somewhat ageing squad although they will have the element of surprise in their favour.

Their season opener against St George’s will be a good indicator of how they measure up.

In: Warren Bradley Bean (Southampton Rangers),

Out: None

Last season: First Division runners-up

Star man: Keston Lewis

NORTH VILLAGE

Much interest surrounds the Rams’ prospects this season. Departures, retirement and unavailability served to leave them understrength for the Charity Cup match against Dandy Town which they lost heavily 4-0.

Veteran goalkeeper Dwayne Adams made a return to the Village goal to help them out of a goalkeeping dilemma, though he insists he will only be playing a fill-in role as cover to first choice Jason Williams.

The versatile Tyrell Burgess will be a miss in defence, where Village could be vulnerable this year. Veterans Jemeiko Jennings and Ralph Bean played as central defenders against Town but Bean’s creativity in attack, along with goals from the likes of Jason Lee is what Village need to win matches.

The retired Sammy DeGraff might be persuaded to pull on his boots if the situation demands it. Village finished second to Town last year and a top-four finish is still possible.

In: Trey Durham (BAA), Khomeni Talbot (X’Roads)

Out: Demitre Frias (BAA), Tyrell Burgess (Somerset Trojans)

Last season: Runners-up

Star man: Jason Lee

PHC

By all indications this will be a testing season for the Zebras who have lost a couple of key players without making any significant signings.

Antinori Butterfield comes in from Prospect while Jahnai Raynor heads in the opposite direction, Aquino Grant to Town and possibly Antwan Russell to Robin Hood if the BFA approve the transfer.

The veteran striker Stephen Astwood, who didn’t play for PHC last season, is trying to revive his career at Southampton Oval as the Zebras look to younger players to fill in.

Goals may not be plentiful so goalkeeper Troy Hall and his defence have added pressure. Captain Cecoy Robinson sounded upbeat in post-match comments after the Trojans defeat and his leadership and that of the other senior players will be crucial.

In: Antinori Butterfield (Prospect United),

Out: Jahnai Raynor (Prospect United), Aquino Grant (Dandy Town), Matteo Frazzoni (Somerset Trojans), Kieran Evans (Somerset Eagles), Stephen Astwood (Southampton Rangers)

Last season: Fourth

Star man: Jevon Sealey

ROBIN HOOD

New coach Kyle Lightbourne has already played down Robin Hood’s chances of success season this season, pointing to the loss of key trio Teddy Terceira, David Outerbridge and Jason Simons

And while the team’s balance doesn’t quite look right at the moment, Hood should still have enough firepower and experience in their ranks to avoid a relegation scrap.

It’s not yet known whether Antwan Russell must wait until November to make his Hood debut due to issues surrounding his transfer paperwork.

In Russell’s absence, the goalscoring burden will fall on the broad shoulders of Fredy Mascarenhas’s with the India striker looking to build on his encouraging performances at the end of last season.

Defensively, Hood will certainly miss lynchpin Terceira who will be missing due to work commitments, although new signing Robert Wilson will provide plenty of defensive cover.

In: Antwan Russell (PHC), Robert Wilson (North Village), Takeyhi Walker (Robin Hood), Roger Lee (Somerset Eagles), T Bell (Somerset Eagles)

Out Drewonde Bascome (Devonshire Cougars), Lovintz Tota (Devonshire Cougars), Akeem Wolffe (Devonshire Cougars), Jevanie Fubler (Devonshire Cougars)

Last season: Seventh

Star man: Fredy Mascarenhas

SOMERSET TROJANS

It has been a long time since the Trojans began a campaign with such high expectations, but a few decent signings have raised hopes of success this season.

They blew away PHC 4-1 in their opening Dudley Eve match in midweek with newboys Tyrell Burgess, Adrian Burrows and Ijahmon Mallory getting among the goals and there is new optimism in Silver City that silverware could be coming.

Last season they finished sixth; this season they could be among the title chasers. Mike Corday stepped down as coach because of personal commitments and Mark Trott is understood to be the new coach.

Trojans may be trying to play down their chances but more results like Tuesday’s and the focus will be on them regardless.

In: Sean Brangman (Devonshire Cougars), Matteo Frazzoni (Somerset Trojans), Ijahmon Mallory (Southampton Rangers), Adrian Burrows (Southampton Rangers), Henry Santucci (Ireland Rangers), Dion Woolridge (Somerset Eagles), Aldophus Lambert (Somerset Eagles), Jonte Pearson (Somerset Eagles)

Out: Dane Simmons (Wolves), Rashaun Zuill (Somerset Eagles)

Last season: Sixth

Star man: Tyrell Burgess

SOUTHAMPTON RANGERS

It’s difficult to gauge how well Southampton Rangers will fare this season.

With the loss of a host of key players, voids will need to be filled by the club’s youngsters who will have to step up to the plate.

Veteran striker Stephen Astwood will be a welcome addition to the club, but losing key defenders Ijahmon Mallory, Michael Williams and Andre Russell could be detrimental to the team’s hopes of survival.

Rangers survived on the final day of last season and, worryingly, their squad is arguably weaker this time around.

New coach Marvin Belboda has the pedigree to get the job done but with top-flight football comes pressure and it will be interesting to see how he and his troops handle the expectations on their shoulders.

In: Callan Che Woolridge (X’Roads), Marvin Belboda (X’Roads), Eugene Calder (X’Roads), Stephen Astwood (PHC),

Out: Andre Russell (Devonshire Cougars), Warren Bradley Bean (Flanagan’s Onions), Mclee Smith (Wolves), Michael Williams (Wolves), Khimo Harrison (Somerset Eagles), Kahnai Fray (Somerset Eagles), Davin Riley-Clarke (Somerset Eagles), Ijahmon Mallory (Somerset Trojans), Adrian Burrows (Somerset Trojans)

Last season: Eighth

Star man: Steven Astwood

ST GEORGE’S COLTS

Keith Jennings is the new coach, replacing the departing Richard Todd who took the team from the First Division and established them as a Premier Division side.

The search continues for an established goalkeeper to replace Freddy Hall who left a couple of years ago to pursue a pro career and youngster Charles Marshall, a goalkeeper like his father, certainly has plenty of potential and could be the first choice.

At the other end the departure of Angelo Cannonier and Clay Darrell means that Allan Douglas and the reliable Jahron Dickinson must carry the goalscoring responsibilities. The team have had an encouraging start to the season, winning the PDL Charity Cup and getting their Dudley Eve campaign off to a good start on Tuesday with victory over Devonshire Cougars in a high-scoring match.

The goal in this campaign is to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish in the league and enjoy a good run in the cup competitions.

In: None

Out: Angelo Cannonier (St David’s), Shea Pitcher (St David’s), Shakil Robinson (St David’s), Ajaleon Dill (BAA), Keshun Dill (BAA), Clay Darrell (Southampton Rangers)

Last season: Fifth

Star man: Jahron Dickinson

WOLVES

Don Vickers has replaced John Barry Nusum as head coach to allow the Bermuda skipper to concentrate fully on his playing role.

Wolves will certainly look to Nusum for leadership on the field while Vickers did a sound job at First Division X’Roads last season.

Veteran striker Aljame Zuill might be past his best but could still be useful as an impact substitute.

New signing Michael Williams will bolster the defence while Morriko Iris is a player who could be dangerous if he manages to marry some consistency to his attacking talents.

In: Aljame Zuill (Dandy Town), Mclee Smith (Southampton Rangers), Michael Williams (Southampton Rangers), Forrest Williams (X’Roads), Morriko Iris (X’Roads)

Out:

Last season: First Division champions

Star man: J Nusum

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Published Sep 21, 2012 at 9:39 am (Updated Sep 21, 2012 at 9:39 am)

Hornets favourites to defend title

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