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DeGraff at the double as Rams enjoy golden night

North Village celebrated a golden haul of trophies after defeating Devonshire Cougars in the Charity Cup at BAA Field on Saturday night.A Sammy DeGraff brace and a late goal by teenage substitute Tarreko Wilson saw the Rams claim the 50th piece of silverware in the club’s history.The defending Premier Division champions dedicated their milestone victory to Nelody Lee the mother of their striker Jason Lee who recently passed away.In the absence of first choice shot stopper Jason Williams, Lee found himself in an uncustomary role as a goalkeeper and kept his side on level terms with a fine save on the stroke of half-time.Neither team had shown much in the way of attacking invention during a cagey opening stanza, but it was Cougars who came the closest to scoring through Jesse Seymour with a strike from the edge of the area. Lee, who had been a virtual spectator for most of the half, flung himself low to his right to push the ball onto the post before calmly collecting the rebound.Village began to assert their dominance during the second period and broke the deadlock after 51 minutes when Ralph Bean won his side a penalty after being tripped by Cougars midfielder Kwame Steede.DeGraff stepped up and dispatched the spot kick, before extending Village’s lead on 79 minutes when he made a late unchecked run into the box to tap home Bean’s pin-point cross from the left.Playing their first game under new coach Dennis Brown, Cougars were showing more signs of pre-season ring-rust than Village who were by now controlling the tempo of the annual curtain raiser.At the forefront of Cougars’ inability to trouble Village’s defence was the –ineffectiveness of their talisman Kwame Steede, whose creativity seemed neutered by playing a two-man central midfield.Under Brown’s stewardship, Cougars will no doubt be genuine title challengers this season. But while Shaun Goater believed the scoreline flattered his team, it came as no great surprise when Wilson added a third in the final minute, bundling home another Bean cross.“I’m very pleased with the performance although I think the game was a little closer than the score suggests,” said Goater. “The first half was scrappy but we dominated the final 15 minutes when we had earned the right to play.“I thought our new boys Lashun Dill and Jason Davis did well and I was happy to give some of our promising youngsters a run out as well.”Goater, who has now won six trophies as Village coach, also praised Lee for his performance between the sticks on what would have been an emotional night for the teenager.“We want to dedicate this win to Jason’s mom. Jason did a good job in goal for us although I’m sure he would have rather expressed himself in a different way (as a striker) tonight.”North Village: J Lee, T Burgess (M Saunders, 81), K Dill, D Tankard, V Tankard, K Dill, J Briers, L Dill (J Davis, 77), S DeGraff, R Bean, J DeShields (T Wilson, 80)Subs not used: M Armstrong, J Samuals, K Aruda, D GrantDevonshire Cougars: C Darrell, J Butterfield, J Seymour, K Franks, Z White, M Steede, S Pearman (A Lamb, 65, J Macctait, 76), C Brangman, L Simmons, J Smith, K Steede. Subs not used: C Clarke, M Steede, J Macctait, K Tucker, C Goddard. Booked: S PearmanReferee: A FrancisMan of the match: L Dill (Village)