Hood ready to do Dudley Eve final business
Somerset Trojans will be gunning for their fourth Dudley Eve Trophy title and Robin Hood their first when the sides clash in the final at Wellington Oval tomorrow.
Hood have already beaten Trojans twice this season, including a crushing 7-1 triumph during the group stage of this competition, and are the firm favourites to claim a first piece of silverware for the season.
However, John Barry Nusum, who won the competition as a player with Wolves during the 2001-02 season, the last time the final was played over two legs, is not taking anything for granted against a club steeped in cup-winning tradition.
“We only beat them 2-1 the last time we played them, so it's very easy to be motivated because we saw in that game how easy they could've shifted the gears on us,” he said. “We can't come into it complacent. We do know on the day anything can happen.
“It's a one-off game, so you never know what can take shape in the game. We are coming into it as we would for any other team.
“We don't change the way that we come into the game because for us it's never about the opponent as much as it is us doing the right things and making sure we get in the right moment.
“From the beginning of the season, we said we want to be in the conversation so we are in this particular final and, of course, you want to win it if you're in it. No one remembers second place, so we are coming prepared to do the business.”
Hood, who are making their second appearance in the final, and remain unbeaten in all competitions, have only one injury concern in midfielder Tomiko Goater.
“Tomiko has an ankle injury from the last game that has lingered a bit,” Nusum said.
“He is a question mark, so we will probably do a fitness test [today] and see if he is going to be available, but otherwise everyone else is pretty healthy.”
Hood's injury concerns pale in comparison with their rivals, who are battling through a bit of a crisis.
Midfielders Justin Corday, Stafari Burrows and Alton Trott, winger Jaz Ratteray-Smith and defenders Micah Henschke, Jaden Ratteray-Smith and Trevin Ming have all picked up injuries and remain doubtful.
Corday injured his back in his side's 3-0 defeat at home to Paget Lions on October 28 and has not played since.
Henschke suffered an ankle injury and Jaz Ratteray-Smith bruised toes in Somerset's Dudley Eve Trophy semi-final victory over holders PHC Zebras at Goose Gosling Field last week.
All three players missed Somerset's Premier Division match away to PHC last weekend.
Jaden Ratteray-Smith, Trott, Ming and Burrows all picked up knocks during that game.
Ratteray-Smith suffered a calf injury, Ming and Trott thigh and groin injuries, while Burrows experienced a nasty cut above his right eye.
Musceo Hunt, the Somerset coach, said it was too early to determine if any of his injured players had recovered to be considered for selection.
“It's hard to say until the game comes,” he said.
“Right now we are waiting till Sunday to see who is available and then go from there.”
Somerset are making their tenth appearance in the final and first since the 2014-15 campaign, when they lost 3-0 against Dandy Town.
“I'm just hoping the players come to play,” Hunt added. “If they put in the work, there's a good possibility they can get the result that they are looking for.”
The Dudley Eve Trophy final kicks off at 2.30pm and will be preceded at noon by an under-15 boys' final for the Leonard DeRoza-Holder Cup.
Today Devonshire Cougars host champions PHC at Devonshire Recreation Club in a Premier Division match rescheduled from September 23.
There is also a full round of First Division matches scheduled for the Remembrance Day holiday on Monday.
Unbeaten leaders Southampton Rangers are away to Young Men's Social Club in the 12.30pm kick-off at Police Field, while Somerset Eagles, who are also unbeaten, travel to Bernard Park to face bottom side Vasco in one of four 3pm starts.
Elsewhere, Hamilton Parish are away to Devonshire Colts in the second match of a double-header at Police Field, while Wolves host Flanagan's Onions at Garrison Field and St George's host St David's in an East End derby at Wellington Oval. Ireland Rangers have a bye.