Somerset reinstated to Premier Division
Relegated Somerset Trojans have been reinstated to the Premier Division for the second time in two decades.
The Bermuda Football Association confirmed yesterday that Trojans have replaced BAA who withdrew from the league after suffering an exodus of players during the initial transfer period, which expired July 15.
Somerset were granted a similar reprieve when they were relegated and subsequently reinstated to the top flight after Hotels International disbanded at the end of the 1997-98 season.
Vashun Blanchette, the Somerset Cricket Club president, is “grateful” to see his club’s top-flight status restored and has urged his players to make the most of their reprieve.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to be playing in the Premier Division again,” he said.
“If you finish ninth, you deserve to be relegated in many ways, but I thought, particularly in the second half of the season, the team made great strides. We were very competitive and I think if we are able to keep that momentum going into the upcoming season, we will be looking to fare better.
”When you have been given a second chance, you have to grab it and, ultimately, time will vindicate whether we have or not. We also have to be realistic; we’ll have, as was the case last year, a very young team.
“Obviously, they have a year’s worth of experience now at the top level of Bermuda football.
“So, while we will be looking to grasp the opportunity, there really is no pressure on the team in the sense we appreciate that we are young and just want to focus on rebuilding the team and becoming one of the top teams again.
“This year, obviously, that’s not really the main intent. We have to be realistic, but we want to be looking to give everyone a good game. We just want to solidify and re-establish ourselves as a consistent team within the top division.”
Somerset accepted an invitation from the BFA to have their Premier Division status restored after the latter expressed its “desire” to maintain a quota of ten teams in the top flight for next season.
“They [BFA] offered us that spot, given we had come ninth the previous season,” Blanchette added. “I had talks with the relevant football stakeholders within Somerset Cricket Club, including our technical director and senior coach Dennis Brown, and he put forth their recommendation to the executive and management which was accepted, so we reached back out the BFA and took up the offer.
“Once we weighed up both sides of the equation we, said ‘let’s do it’ because if we played First Division next season, it would be no given that we would be promoted.
“We were relegated, but we are still a big club and we feel like we should be at the top table, so once we went back and forth on the pros and cons, we made the decision.”
In addition to having been reinstated to the Premier Division, Somerset has been granted a ten-day window to complete any player transfers, with the BFA also prepared to consider further applications on a “case by case basis”.