Team carry hopes of league on their shoulders
Devonshire Cougars v St George’s
PHC v BAA
Southampton Rangers v Flanagan’s Onions
Devonshire Colts v Hamilton Parish
Young Men’s Social Club v St David’s
Dandy Town v North Village
Robin Hood v Butterfield & Vallis
Boulevard v Somerset Trojans
Brothers and first cousins from the Russell family will come face to face when Robin Hood take on Butterfield & Vallis in the first round of the FA Cup next month.
Tokia Russell and Dennis Russell, two cousins, play for the Corona League side while Antwan Russell, Tokia’s brother, is a striker for Hood, who are second in the Premier Division.
B&V will fly the flag for the Corona league as their lone representative in the competition, which used to involve teams from the former Commercial League.
That invitation has been extended to the Corona League teams, and last year and this year, Butterfield & Vallis have taken up the offer, beating Somerset Eagles on Tuesday night to secure a spot in the next round.
B&V are made up of some former top players such as Leroy Stevens, who won the FA Cup four times with Boulevard between 1991 and 1997, Keith Jennings, Lashun Dill and the Russell pair.
As they showed on Tuesday night, the B&V players are still good enough to compete against First Division opposition and, Armel Thomas, their coach, hopes, maybe even a top team like Robin Hood.
“We’re carrying the Corona flag now, and lets hope more fans will come out and support the team,” said Thomas, who is looking forward to playing Kyle Lightbourne’s team in the next round.
“Kyle is a good friend of mine, we were in England together,” Thomas said. “They are a good team, a contender in the Premier Division, and hopefully I can get some more looks at them and develop my team, based on their weaknesses and strong points.”
The newest team in the Corona League, Butterfield & Vallis are unbeaten after six matches and sit second in the league, two points behind leaders North Village.
“This is only our second year, we came third last year and we haven’t lost a match since last February, almost a year,” Thomas said.
At 49 Stevens is the oldest player in the Butterfield & Vallis team, and he used his experience to good effect against an Eagles team that bombarded them in the second half.
“With us being mature in the game it was just about getting in positions early,” said Stevens who captained Boulevard in the 1997 final victory over Wolves. “I had to tell them before the game that Eagles never beat me, so I couldn’t mess that up, and had to work a little harder.
“We’ve got a lot of senior players in our team who know the game, so, once we get on the ball and play at our pace we can control it. We couldn’t run with their [Eagles] legs, so we tried to give them the space, clog the middle and play off the counter-attack.”
Keith Jennings, formerly of North Village and Boulevard, and Dill, the former Dandy Town, North Village and Bermuda Hogges player, scored the goals for Butterfield & Vallis to get past Eagles, one of the top teams in the First Division.
Jennings will be involved with two teams in the first round on the weekend of January 16 and 17 as he is also the coach of Southampton Rangers, who will play Flanagan’s Onions on the Sunday.
Luckily for B&V their match with Robin Hood is scheduled for the Saturday night, which will enable Jennings to play.
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