Zebras on verge of record eleventh title
PHC Zebras can wrap up a record eleventh league championship when they face Somerset Trojans in the West End tonight, after Boulevard's draw with Robin Hood on Thursday night left the Zebras needing one more win to retain their title.
The Zebras have the same number of titles as their opponents, who last won the league in 2014-15, and will be happy to get an unlikely win to keep their slim hopes of survival alive.
Somerset are on eight points, seven behind Boulevard but with only three games to go.
The magic point mark for PHC is 42, the same amount of points that won the league for them last season. They already have 40, eight more than Hood, who will finish on 41 points if they win their last three matches.
The title race, which looked like going right down to the wire, could now be decided with a couple of games remaining after Hood picked up just one point in their last two matches. Boulevard fought back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 at half-time before Hood scored a second-half penalty to pull level.
Boulevard were short on numbers, with no substitutes on their bench, but they certainly did not lack character.
“The momentum we built up we kept it going, but unfortunately there was a penalty,” said Ian Coke, the Boulevard player-coach, who scored a hat-trick in the match.
“I'm proud of the team's performance; it marked a special moment for the team as it was the birthday of Ronniko Burchall, our goalkeeper who recently passed away. Three points was definitely what we needed to show that we can pick up some points moving into the next few fixtures.”
It was the first time Hood have conceded four goals in a game this season, with the Trojans scoring three against them in another high-scoring match in January that also produced eight goals.
Three of Boulevard's goals came during a five-minute period when Hood were down to ten men while Lejaun Simmons was off getting treatment for a groin injury.
“The best two teams in Bermuda are PHC and Robin Hood so to come away with a point against them is very important for the team,” Coke said
“Normally we let teams come back and really hurt us, but this time we didn't let that happen. Anybody who knows Boulevard knows our momentum picks up at the end of the season when everything is on the line.”
Boulevard close out their campaign with matches against Devonshire Cougars on Sunday before taking on Somerset and North Village. It could be over for Somerset by the time they meet Boulevard.
Dandy Town, aiming for another third-place finish, host a X-Roads side whose last win in the league was last November when they thrashed Town 6-0. Since then X-Roads have played eight league matches, drawing four and losing four.
Promoted side BAA and Paget Lions meet at Goose Gosling Field, with BAA in a position to climb as high as fourth with a win, while Paget are desperate to close the four points they trail Boulevard in their relegation battle against relegation. Village, virtually safe on 17 points, will play Robin Hood at Bernard Park in the other match.
In the First Division, Southampton Rangers should get the point they need to secure promotion.
Eagles clinched promotion while leaders Rangers suffered a major upset, losing 3-2 to bottom team Vasco when a point would have sealed promotion.
Now they get another chance against Flanagan's Onions at Goose Gosling Field.