Cougars get luck of cup draw
Devonshire Cougars got the luck of the draw yesterday when they were pitted against Young Men's Social Club, the lone First Division survivors, in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Cougars, who beat another First Division side, St George's, 4-1 on Monday night, have a good chance to advance to the semi-finals based on the first round results when no First Divsiion side beat a team from the Premier Division.
However, Social Club have a proud history in the competition, winning three years in a row in the 1960s when they were the Island's top team. They also won the league in the same three seasons between 1963 and 1966.
These days Cougars and Dandy Town can claim to be the top teams in the FA Cup with three wins each in the last six seasons. Town, bidding to win three titles on the trot, were drawn at home to Boulevard who beat them 5-3 in the 2008-09 final.
Hamilton Parish will meet Robin Hood and PHC will take on neighbours Southampton Rangers in the remaining quarter-final matches. Four of the last eight in the competition are in the bottom half of the Premier Division, but Hamilton Parish, Boulevard, Cougars and Southampton Rangers all have good chances of advancing despite their positions in the league.
“Most definitely it will a tough game, we'll be playing them in back-to-back games during that time,” said Nigel Burgess, the Parish goalkeeper, of the Robin Hood match. Hood are second in the standings while Parish were ninth going into last night's bottom-of-the-table clash with Devonshire Cougars.
“We had a pretty challenging first game against them in the league, but we're starting to gel a lot more and we'll be confident going into this game. We have won four of our last five [league and cup] games so we're feeling confident about avoiding the drop which is our main goal.
“Hopefully we can transfer some of our recent league form to the FA Cup. We have Devonshire Rec which is a big game for both of us and that's been our focus this week.”
PHC, ten times winners of the FA Cup, face an unpredictable Southampton Rangers side in the second of a quarter-final double-header at PHC Field. They have not won the cup since the 2007-08 season.
“I think it's going to be a good game, something the fans and players are going to look forward to just because we're neighbours,” Johnny Ball, the PHC president and player, said. “There definitely will be some banter between the fans of both teams.
“It's been a little while [since PHC were FA champions] but we're taking it one game at a time and hopefully we come out victorious.”
PHC are also still in the hunt for the league title, though they trail leaders Dandy Town by ten points and will need the Hornets to start dropping points. PHC meet Robin Hood tomorrow as Kyle Lightbourne, the Hood coach, faces his former team.
“Obviously some of their players and their coach have connections to PHC so that is going to add a level of intrigue,” Ball said. “We have a lot of respect for Robin Hood but we're confidence in ourselves, if we play to the best of our ability, that we can get a good result.”
YMSC v Devonshire Cougars, PHC Field, 12.30pm
Dandy Town v Boulevard, St John’s, 3pm
Hamilton Parish v Robin Hood, Wellington Oval, 3pm
PHC v Southampton Rangers, PHC Field, 3pm
• Ties to be played Sunday, February 7