Trojans end their title drought
Somerset Trojans 3
Southampton Rangers 0
Somerset Trojans won a first league title in 22 years last night when they thrashed relegation-threatened Southampton Rangers at Somerset Cricket Club.
Trojans went into the match needing only a draw to make certain of a tenth league title, but it was clear from the outset they wanted to do it in style as they hit the crossbar in the opening minutes and again midway through the half.
Alton Trott’s spectacular effort on 31 minutes when he drove a shot from 18 yards past Corey Richardson settled Trojans’ nerves before Jaz Ratteray-Smith, back home on a midterm break, netted twice in the second half.
Ratteray-Smith’s first goal in the 51st minute was a left-footed shot from 20 yards that dropped under the crossbar.
The second was a clinical piece of finishing from the teenager after Dion Stovell’s pass sent him through in the 78th minute and he calmly steered his effort past the advancing Richardson. That could have been the youngster’s hat-trick but he had an effort ruled out for a handball after Vashun Blanchette sent him through on goal and he handled the ball before converting at the second attempt after Richardson blocked his initial effort.
Rangers made a game of it in the first half but the sending off of Janeiro Tucker on the hour for stamping on Malachi Jones in retaliation after Jones fouled him, left the visiting side with too much to do with a man short.
“I’m proud of the guys, they worked hard this season and it paid off,” Danvers Seymour Jr, the coach, said, after he had a bucket of ice water dumped on him by his uncle Dennis Brown, the Somerset technical director, in the dying minutes of the match.
“Yeah, they got me, I wish they had waited a little later. I’m overjoyed, it was the same philosophy all season from game one to game 18, that we play for the team and for our community.”
Ratteray-Smith was happy to play a part in Somerset’s first league title since 1992-93, four years before he was even born.
“I’m just proud to be a part of this 22 years in the making, and of course scoring twice is even better,” he said.
“We were on top of the league and everybody thought we weren’t going to stay on top, but we kept winning and winning and in the last game we put our all into it.”
For Brown, the hard work started a decade ago when he first went back to Somerset. “It was a strategic plan to win the league and the seeds we planted ten years ago you see now with players like Shaq [Shaquille Bean, the goalkeeper] who I had when he was 13 and Jaz [Ratteray-Smith] when he was eight-years-old,” said Brown, who won the league two years ago with Devonshire Cougars.
“I’m very pleased for the whole Somerset community, they’ve waited for this for 22 years.”
Ming was a proud man as he received the league trophy from Larry Mussenden, the Bermuda Football Association president.
“It was all or nothing, though we could have settled for a draw if we slipped up,” he said. “All we had to do was stay focused, everybody was dropping points and it was a tight race. We knew Rangers were going to come full force and expected them to push everybody up in attack and we knew if we did our part defensively that the cup was ours.”
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