Judgment day has cometh
This weekend's final round of league matches resembles judgment day for those teams positioned at either end of the Premier Division.
At the top of the standings, leaders Dandy Town are in the driving seat, with a two-point lead over North Village Rams, while two from St David's, Southampton Rangers and Wolves will be relegated.
Town will take on dethroned champions Devonshire Cougars at Goose Gosling Field rather than their home ground, St John's Field, after Western Stars Sports Club officials decided to close the field to prepare it for the upcoming cricket season.
“The task is simple: win and the title is ours,” Damon Ming, the Town winger, said. “We have come this far and now the finish line is in sight. You live for moments like this as a player, when one game decides your destiny.”
Should Town draw and Village, who have a better goal difference, win, then the Rams will claim their first title under coach Ralph Bean. Village play relegation-threatened Wolves at Devonshire Recreation Club.
Bean insists that he will not cast an eye to the Town-Cougars game, but admits that his players must make sure that they capitalise on any slip-ups by their title rivals. Village can take some solace from Town's last encounter with Cougars, which ended in a 3-3 draw.
“We won't be looking at any other result,” said Bean, whose side defeated Wolves 4-1 in their previous meeting. “Our focus is on what we have control over, which is our own result.”
Rangers have an edge in the relegation battle, with Maurice Lowe's side one point above St David's and a further point ahead of Wolves. A win against Somerset Trojans at Southampton Oval would secure Rangers top-flight football for next season. St David's take on Flanagan's Onions at Lord's.
“We have to show up and execute the plan — that will be the difference,” Lowe, the Rangers coach, said. “We are thankful it's in our own hands, but we must use that advantage and get the result we need.”
OJ Minors, the St David's player-coach, believes playing at home will be an advantage, but admits that the combative Onions will be no easy task. “We need win and hope that the teams around us don't get what they need,” Minors said. “Obviously, playing at home is an advantage but playing Onions is never easy.”
In tomorrow's other Premier Division match, Hamilton Parish play PHC at the Wellington Oval.