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Fitness first for Cougars in cup defence

Devonshire Cougars will look to use the defence of their Friendship Trophy to boost their fitness before the start of the second half of the season.

Cougars expect to have several players, including Juma Mouchette and Che Brangman, returning from overseas studies, as they bid to retain the title they won when they beat PHC Zebras for the second time in a final last season.

Omar Butterfield's side face Flanagan's Onions at Devonshire Recreation Club in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

“We're in a good space right now, just getting prepared for the second half of the season,” the Cougars coach said.

“We will use this tournament to get our fitness back up; we're not worried too much about defending [the title].

“We're definitely looking forward to it, getting the new players involved and developing the winning mentality with them. We're on the right track.”

Cougars boosted their squad with the late transfers of Oronde Bascome and Allan Douglas Jr from First Division side St George's Colts, with both players involved in Sunday's win over North Village. The victory lifted Cougars above Village into third place.

Butterfield has not ruled out a push for the Premier Division title, despite a six-point gap between themselves and the leaders, PHC.

“Six points isn't really much,” Butterfield said. “The other teams can have two bad weeks and we could have two good weeks, you never know.”

Onions will be looking to bounce back from a 6-0 home defeat by Dandy Town Hornets last weekend. Village, Somerset Trojans and PHC, who have 32 Friendship Trophy titles between them, are gunning for the semi-finals. Village and Somerset have 11 wins apiece, while PHC have ten titles.

PHC welcome Somerset to PHC Field on Sunday, while Village play Town at Bernard Park.

Robin Hood play host to X-Roads Warriors at Goose Gosling Field, looking to carry on from their 10-0 victory over Boulevard Blazers last weekend.

In the First Division Shield quarter-finals, BAA begin their quest for a third straight title when they meet Ireland Rangers at Goose Gosling Field, while Southampton Rangers take on Somerset Eagles at PHC Field. Devonshire Colts play league leaders Paget Lions at Bernard Park, and Wolves play St George's at Devonshire Recreation Club.

The Shield matches start at noon, with the Friendship Trophy games at 2.30pm.

Oronde Bascome, seen in action during a brief stint with Corona Leaghue side Footy Kings in the Coronita Cup, is a late transfer for Cougars (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

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Published December 15, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated December 14, 2017 at 11:38 pm)

Fitness first for Cougars in cup defence

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