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Parish look to future as Smith heads West

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Happier days: Kieshon Smith, centre, is all smiles as Larry Mussenden, the BFA president, presents the First Division trophy to Hamilton Parish at Bernard Park in 2013

Kieshon Smith and Hamilton Parish had a mutual parting of the ways, months after he led them to a fourth-place finish in the Premier Division last season.

Smith played a big part in helping the team establish themselves in the Premier Division during his four years as coach. Earlier this week it was announced that Smith had left his post to take over from Danvers Seymour Jr as coach of league champions Somerset.

However, with an announcement on Smith’s replacement expected shortly, Nigel Burgess, the club secretary and veteran goalkeeper, believes Smith’s departure “won’t be a tremendous loss” as they look to build on last season’s achievements.

“The club wishes Kieshon the best in his future coaching endeavours, we are thankful for where he has brought Hamilton Parish, winning a couple of Shield trophies and getting us promoted into the Premier Division so we are thankful for that,” Burgess said.

“It’s not going to be a tremendous loss, it was a mutual decision to part ways. Kieshon helped us get to this level and we felt we had to move in a different direction to get to the next level. I don’t want to speak prematurely but we expect to make an announcement shortly on a coach and the technical director’s role.”

Smith took over as Parish coach in 2011-12 and landed his first Shield title with them on New Year’s Day 2012 when they beat X-Roads in the final.

Parish, who were strong contenders for a first league title before falling off in the final weeks of the season, have also lost some key players in the summer transfer with influential midfielder Shayne Hollis returning to North Village, Ijahmon Mallory going to Boulevard and Angelo Cannonier heading back to St David’s.

Ernest Signor of St George’s is one of the players set to come in as the club takes the opportunity to groom some youngsters from their promising youth programme, Burgess said.

“We wish those that we lose the best of luck,” Burgess said. “We have a lot of youth coming through and will give them the opportunity to rise through [the ranks].

“I’m still there [as a player] and I coach one of the youth teams. I’m a goalkeeper so we tend to go on a bit longer. I expect to be playing for another few years.”

Burgess is looking for the side to build on their impressive season last year, and said that consistency will be the key for Parish going forward. However, the goalkeeper believes that his side’s success may have influenced several players in their decisions to leave the club.

“We played to our potential and it is something we will look to reestablish this year and be a bit more consistent towards the end of the season,” the 34-year-old said. “We know we are able to reach those levels, we just need the consistency which makes champions.

“That’s probably also the reason why we have lost a few players, getting so close and then stumbling at the end was a big let-down for them. That was the reason with some of the players that we lost.

“We have lost about five players, some have gone back to their home clubs, but we have 40 plus players so it is not a huge loss.”

Burgess is urging the Hamilton Parish fans not to panic.

“Once we settle down and get into the season we’ll be in the thick of things,” he said. “It’s no need to panic, football is played on the field and the season is 18 games long.

“We have talent in our under-14 and under-16 teams feeding into our PDL and senior teams in the years to come, and with that talent pool we look to Hamilton Parish to stay in the Premier League well into the future, much like the more established clubs.”

Back to Bernard Park: Shayne Hollis will be back playing in the red and white of North Village this season after his transfer from Hamilton Parish. He is pictured playing in the 2008 Friendship Trophy final against PHC which Village won 7-3.