Proud rivals ready for battle
Somerset Trojans and perennial rivals PHC Zebras, two of Bermuda's most decorated clubs, will place their proud cup-winning pedigrees on the line when they face each other in tomorrow's Friendship Trophy final at Somerset Cricket Club.
Trojans reached a fourteenth Friendship Trophy final courtesy of a 3-0 semi-final victory over Hamilton Parish in what was a repeat of the 2014 final, which Trojans won 4-1.
In contrast, Zebras had a tougher outing in their semi-final with inaugural Friendship Trophy winners North Village before edging their rivals 2-1 to reach the final for a record sixteenth time.
Tomorrow will mark the first time the two sides have played each other in the Friendship Trophy final in 37 years and third overall.
Zebras won the first meeting during the 1970-71 season en route to claiming the club's only “triple crown” (Premier Division, Friendship Trophy and FA Cup).
Trojans avenged that loss eight years later when they hammered Zebras 4-1 in the 1978-79 final.
Tomorrow's intriguing encounter will be the tenth final involving the two teams and first since Trojans beat Zebras 3-1 in the 1992-93 Dudley Eve Trophy final played over two legs.
Both clubs boast ten Friendship Trophy titles and victory for either will have them draw level with Village for the most wins in the competition, which stands at 11.
Trojans and Zebras will be bolstered by the influx of college players back for the festive period, who made their presence felt in their team's semi-final victories, but could also be without key players.
Dion Stovell, the Trojans striker, Cecoy Robinson, the PHC captain, and Zebras defender Marquel Waldron are all travelling abroad while Na'eem Griffith, the PHC defender, remained doubtful yesterday.
Griffith missed his team's previous match because of his involvement in this week's Bermuda Red Bull Youth America's Cup training camp and could potentially sit out the final as well.
Trojans and Zebras experimented with different formations in their previous outings, throwing more numbers in attack, which proved successful and could potentially make for an exciting final.
Zebras will enter the contest with a psychological edge having thrashed Trojans 6-1 in the Premier Division at Somerset Cricket Club on December 6.
Casey Castle, the Zebras striker, led the charge with a first-half hat-trick and could prove a handful again for his side tomorrow.
Trojans will undoubtedly look to avenge that humiliating defeat and should be made of sterner stuff with a batch of players returning for the festive period.
The Friendship Trophy final will be preceded by the First Division Shield final between X-Roads Warriors and BAA.
X-Roads edged last season's runners-up Young Men's Social Club 4-3 in the semi-final at Bernard Park, while BAA thrashed ten-men St George's Colts 4-0 in the other semi-final at PHC Field.
The Shield final will pit BAA against X-Roads for the second time in 12 days.
X-Roads go into the match with their tails up having beaten BAA 4-3 in the First Division at Garrison Field on December 20.
The Shield final starts at 12.30pm, with the Friendship Trophy final at 2.30pm.
* Lejuan Simmons, the Robin Hood winger, will travel to Martinique today for the Major League Soccer Caribbean Combine.
Simmons, a former player at non-League English side Ilkeston, made his Bermuda debut in the Digicel Caribbean Cup against hosts Haiti in 2012.
The combine, organised by the MLS and the Caribbean Football Union, is an annual showcase of regional talent between 18 and 21. It runs until January 6.
The combine provides opportunities for players to be watched by MLS scouts with the hopes of being invited to the MLS Combine, an invite-only showcase event held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, prior to the annual MLS SuperDraft, which will be held from January 14 to 16 in Baltimore.
Striker Jonté Smith, of English non-League side Gloucester City, and Dandy Town Hornets midfielder Drewonde Bascome are previous Bermuda players to have taken part in the combine.
Both players featured in this year's World Cup qualifying campaign.