Butterfield expects Cougars to bounce back
Devonshire Cougars will be hoping for a case of “same ground, different result” when they return to Somerset Cricket Club on Sunday with three late transfers in their squad to play the Trojans.
Cougars, who crashed 3-0 to PHC Zebras in the Dudley Eve Trophy final last weekend, will be boosted by the signing of Allan Douglas from St David's and St George's pair Oronde Bascome and Jordan Darrell as they look to bounce back.
“We're hoping for a better result,” Omar Butterfield, the Cougars coach, said. “My team is well motivated to go back up there and I sort of feel sorry for Somerset because our team is ready to play.
“We have some good pick-ups and I'm ready to add them to the team. We just have to find the balance because I don't want to discourage some of our young players.”
Cougars, who beat PHC in last year's Dudley Eve Trophy final, were outclassed by the Zebras who landed a second title in three years last week since the competition was renamed from the Martonmere Cup in 2009.
“I don't want to make excuses but fatigue played a big part as we had three guys with the flu,” Butterfield said. “But this week they have trained hard and are ready to go.”
Cougars, who will soon begin the defence of their Friendship Trophy title, will be looking for the three former St George's players to bring something extra to the team, Douglas in attack and Bascome in midfield. Darrell, a left back, was with Cougars two years ago before returning to St George's last season.
Cougars are third in the Premier Division, one point behind champions Robin Hood and three off leaders PHC, who are chasing a first league title in ten years.
“Our goal this season is to stick with the lead pack,” Butterfield said.
“We're doing all right so far. We just have to keep it up. The new players are ready, they were ready to play in the PDL last night [against Robin Hood] but the game got cancelled.”
Somerset, in the bottom two, have had a winless start to the campaign, getting just two draws in six outings. One of those draws, 3-3 against Flanagan's Onions, could well have been a win, but Trojans blew a 3-0 lead.
Onions, just one place ahead of Somerset in the tables, have a crucial match against X-Roads Warriors at Goose Gosling Field on Sunday in a battle between the seventh and eighth-placed teams.
X-Roads have managed two wins in their first season in the top flight, including a come-from-behind victory over North Village three weeks ago.
Robin Hood can temporarily take over top spot when they host Village on Saturday night at Goose Gosling Field. Hood and PHC are the only unbeaten sides in the division, with Zebras picking up 16 out of a possible 18 points, scoring 24 goals and conceding just four.
They play host to Boulevard Blazers at PHC Field, with Marco Warren looking to continue his scoring form. The midfielder has been one of the league's outstanding players, scoring 13 goals already, including two against Cougars in the final.
In the other mid-table match, Dandy Town Hornets will look to bounce back from their recent defeat by Boulevard when they welcome bottom team Young Men's Social Club to St John's Field.
Town have managed just two wins in six outings, despite the summer signing of striker Ian Coke, and are already nine points behind the leaders.
The top match in the First Division has BAA and St David's, who are level on 15 points at the top of the table, clashing at Goose Gosling Field. The teams have two more points than Paget Lions, who play Devonshire Colts at Southampton Oval.
St George's, who won by default over Hamilton Parish in their rescheduled match on Monday, host fourth-placed Southampton Rangers at Wellington Oval. Rangers are the only unbeaten team in the division and trail the lead pair by just three points.
Ireland Rangers and Hamilton Parish are chasing their first points of the season, when the bottom teams meet at Malabar Field hoping to end runs of six straight defeats. Somerset Eagles will play Wolves in tomorrow's match at White Hill Field, with a 3pm kick-off.