Hamilton Parish clinch First Division league title
Hamilton Parish completed the First Division and Shield double yesterday at Bernard when they edged by Young Men’s Social Club 3-2 in their final match of the season.
The visitors were made to work hard for the victory that would guarantee them the league title as Social Club put Parish under intense pressure late in the game in their bid to find a third equalising goal.
Parish, who clinched promotion last weekend with another 3-2 victory over X-Roads, took the lead in the 17th minute when top scorer Ian Coke netted before two late goals closed out the scoring in the first half. Charmari Burns levelled it up for Social Club in the 35th minute only to see Clevon Hill restore Parish’s lead a minute goal with a well-taken effort.
Social Club were back on level terms again five minutes after the restart, but that was short-lived, too, as Hill struck again in the 54th minute to put Parish in front for good.
Bermuda Football Association President Larry Mussenden was on hand to present the league trophy to Parish and then challenged them to establish themselves as a Premier Division team when they return to the top flight next season after a three-year absence. Parish coach Keishon Smith is looking forward to coaching his second team in the top flight.
“I say thank you to the Father who has given us the opportunity to come out here and really put in our work, and our fans because at Hamilton Parish we have a big fan base,” said Smith, moments after his team was presented with their second trophy of the season.
Smith coached Devonshire Colts for two seasons in the top division after also playing for them before injury ended his career. This is his first promotion as a coach.
“With all our football going well right now we’re definitely looking forward to testing ourselves in the Premier Division,” said the former striker. “For us to win the treble as we call it down here, which is the Shield, promotion and First Division trophy, now we’re looking to carry that momentum forward.
“It’s not really about the trophies, but they seem to be coming now that we’re doing things the right way. Hopefully we can continue to work together, the junior and senior programme, and continue to get stronger and from there anything is possible.
“I’ve been with the Peppers for the last two seasons now and for me this is a great accomplishment. I played with Colts but live in Hamilton Parish, so now I’m down in the community where I stay and trying to lead these guys to more promising things, not just in football but life in general.”
Smith saw the Peppers job as a challenge when the club approached him to come on board as coach. “I saw it as a good challenge, a good opportunity and I wanted the opportunity to come and build my own team,” he stated.
“I’m doing it in the community where I’m from and I’ve got all the support in the world right now. With the youth team just winning the Kappa Classic things are looking good for us. Everybody gets their turn and we have a fairly young senior team, a PDL team, so there is a lot of growth and my job is to get each player better. Doing that makes me better as a coach.”
Smith admits new signings will be made to strengthen the team, but those coming in will be carefully selected.
“We have a lot of quality players out there playing for other teams and there are some players who we have identified to come and help build our programme,” said Smith without naming names. “Glory and victory is earned and we aren’t looking for anybody coming for a free ride, they will have to add value to the programme.”
St. David’s, the only other team who could win the league title, had to settle for second place after leading the First Division for much of the season. Yesterday they beat Ireland Rangers 4-1 on goals from Dominique Lambert (2), Angelo Cannonier and Zachary Morris to finish a point behind Parish.
As far as President Otis Minors is concerned, second still represents a good season for St. David’s who were relegated last season.
“My number one goal was to get promoted, that’s what happened so I’m happy with that,” said Minors yesterday.
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