Hood hit the ground running
Robin Hood clinched the inaugural preseason Memorial Tournament when they beat the host team North Village 3-2 in Sunday's final at Bernard Park.
The tournament was organised by Village in honour of Charlie Emery, their former striker who died in a boat accident in 1988. Emery was a free-scoring striker for Village and the tournament followed that trend, producing 22 goals in just four matches as Village, a team busy in the summer transfer market, were involved in two-high scoring games.
Village beat Hamilton Parish 5-2 to reach the final, while in the consolation final at the National Sports Centre, North Field, last week Robin Hood defeated Devonshire Colts on penalties after the score was tied at 1-1 in regulation time.
Colts came from 2-0 down to beat Parish 5-3 in their final on Sunday.
It was been a good start for Keston Lewis, the new Village signing, as he netted the second goal in his side's win to take his tally to three in the two matches.
“It's still early and we have some areas to improve on, but he is already showing his goal-scoring abilities,” said Richard Todd, the new Village coach.
Parish are another team with a new coach and some new players, but despite the two losses, coach Phillip Burgess is confident his team will have another good season in the top flight.
“I think the coaching staff got a lot of information out of these two games,” said Burgess who will have Cymande Davis and Joe Lathan as his assistant coaches this season. “It was definitely worthwhile and going forward we should be all right.
“I think we have a decent squad to compete this year with the nucleus of players that we have. Plus, we have so many players overseas [school] who can come back and strengthen us even more over the breaks and that's a big plus.”
Parish face two of the preseason favourites in their Dudley Eve Trophy matches when they play Somerset Trojans next Monday and Somerset the following Saturday. Burgess will be away so Davis and Lathan will be in charge of the team.
“I think we should do well with the dedicated players that we have who are home-grown players and that makes a big difference,” Burgess said. “We lost players — good players — but they weren't home-grown and now we have home-grown players who will play from the heart. It's just a matter of blending them into the right formation, and getting some luck.”
Robin Hood's win was a boost for them as they get set to open their campaign against Devonshire Cougars in the first of the group matches in the Dudley Eve Trophy tournament next Monday at St John's Field. It is a competition North Village failed to qualify for last season after finishing seventh in the Premier Division.
Robin Hood are in group B with Cougars and Dandy Town, while group A is made up of league champions Somerset Trojans, PHC Zebras and Hamilton Parish.
Somerset and Dandy Town play the first match of the new season on Sunday evening when they battle in the Charity Cup at Goose Gosling Field at 8pm.
It is the traditional season-opener between the league and FA Cup champions from the previous season. The draw for the Friendship and Shield will be made at half-time.