PHC set to reopen stadium in style
The reopening of PHC Field in January after 17 years was a low-key occasion when Zebras hosted North Village Rams in a Premier Division encounter.
Now they are planning an official reopening of the ground when their league programme kicks off on September 27.
As fate would have it, Village will again be providing the opposition, just like they did in January and just like they did 50 years ago when the ground — Warwick Stadium — hosted its first match in the Bermuda Football Union.
The club, who have had several zebras painted on their wall outside the ground, are planning a week of activities leading up to the official opening, including a Masters game, a netball match, a bowling night at nearby Warwick Lanes and a canned-food drive in aid of the Eliza DoLittle Society.
“We want to highlight our various programmes and give back to the community,” Johnny Ball, the PHC president, said.
“We want to collect canned food in conjunction with the Eliza DoLittle Society and on Monday the 21st we want to start things off by joining Johnny Barnes [at Crow Lane].
“The executives have some very progressive ideas on what they are going to do with the wall, so what you have seen is just a start. We encourage the community to keep an eye open but there are definitely some progressive things coming.”
PHC lost to Village in both of those matches but are hoping things will be different this time.
“We’ll have a Masters game on the Saturday at PHC Field and then the official opening on the 27th, strangely enough against North Village again,” Ball said. “I’m confident if we play to our potential that we can get a good result.”
Ball, who has served as the club’s president for almost two years, is also still a player with the first team and played in the Village match in January when he dislocated his shoulder and had to be taken to hospital at half-time. “I planned on still being involved this year, assisting where need be,” he added.
PHC have strengthened their squad this season without losing any key players, which suggests they could be one of the teams to watch.
Joining the club are goalkeepers Daniel Johnson from Devonshire Cougars and Troy Hall Jr, who has returned after a stint at Village. Also moving to Bernard Park are Rakeem DeShields from Village, Dupray Joell from Robin Hood, Casey Castle, who returns from Parish, Aquino Grant from Dandy Town and Anthony Hunter from BAA Wanderers.
Last season they finished third in the league, but coach Mark Wade said the team has to be realistic about their goals.
Their first opponents will be Parish in the Dudley Eve on Monday at St John’s Field at 5pm, the same team they beat at home in their final league match last season.
“Yes, we have picked up two goalkeepers which was one of the areas where we were a little weak last year, so we’re happy with that part of it,” Wade said.
“In terms of preparation we’re about two weeks behind where we should be but we’ll work through it and hopefully be ready to perform at the level expected come the league start.
“We want to play attractive football and perform well at our home ground which we will officially open in our first league match.
“However, in terms of trophies we’re a bit of a way behind the more established teams, although it is quite flattering for people to be mentioning PHC in that light.”
PHC, who finished third last season, play Parish and Somerset in group A of the Dudley Eve Trophy, which starts on Monday.
“Getting some competitive matches under our belt will be good, putting the players to the test in the heat of the battle is important, so we’re definitely looking forward to the matches and seeing how far we’ve come.” Wade added.
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