Injuries the big talking point ahead of Dudley Eve Trophy final
Angelo Simmons, the Dandy Town captain, is among a trio in a fitness battle ahead of the Dudley Eve Trophy final showdown with Devonshire Cougars at the National Stadium tomorrow.
Forwards Simmons and Treshun Smith and defender Terrence Webb all picked up injuries during Town’s 1-1 draw in the Premier Division away to Southampton Rangers on Sunday.
Simmons and Smith were substituted in the 52nd and 65th minutes, while Webb came off after Town had used up their quota of substitutions, forcing them to play the final 20 minutes a man short.
“We had a few knocks and had to pull guys off the field,” Kwame Steede, the Town coach, said.
“If they were little niggles then I could have let them stay on the field and nurse it afterwards. But I felt we had to bring them off.”
The trio will undergo a fitness test today to determine their availability.
“We will assess them and see how bad it really is,” Steede added. ”We won’t know [their status] until the eleventh hour, so the jury is still out on that.“
Injuries have taken their toll on both teams, as Cougars also have players “nursing minor injuries” while striker Drewonde Bascome missed their league encounter against PHC on Sunday.
Bascome remains doubtful for the final, as he is out with what is believed to be a hamstring injury, which flared early in Cougars’ goalless draw away to Devonshire Colts in the Premier Division on November 1.
On a brighter note, winger Lejuan Simmons has rejoined the squad, having recovered from a quad muscle strain.
The Bermuda forward completed his comeback after coming on as a 65th-minute substitute in the 3-1 home win over PHC at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Town will have extra incentive as they are gunning for an unprecedented eleventh title having thrashed Robin Hood 5-2 in the 2019 final to draw level with North Village for the most wins in the competition.
“It’s always good to make history, and I will be proud to make history with them,” Steede said.
The former Cougars midfielder is still chasing his first piece of silverware since taking over the helm of childhood team Town at the start of the season.
“I just want to win my first cup with Town,” Steede said.
“I came back to give back and I gave back in a playing sense having won the cup [Dudley Eve] last year as a player. But to win it as a coach, I think, is a bigger part of me giving back and is something special for me.”
Coincidentally, the last time Cougars and Town locked horns in a cup final was in the same competition in 2013-14, with the latter prevailing in a penalty shoot-out to claim their eighth title.
The two teams have already played each other twice this term.
They drew 1-1 during the group stage of the Dudley Eve Trophy on September 23. Town then won the second encounter 2-0 in the league.
Cougars are bidding for their fifth Dudley Eve Trophy title in what will be their third appearance in the final in five years.
Their last win in the competition, honouring the legacy of late longtime Bermuda Football Association administrator Dudley Eve, was during the 2016-17 campaign when they edged PHC 1-0.
Cougars coach Vance Brown was unavailable for comment while his assistant Mark Mills declined the offer.
In a recent interview, club winger Simmons said: “Obviously we want to win, nobody wants to go out there in a final and lose.
“I think if we stick to our game plan and keep doing what we are doing, then we should see a good result.”
The Dudley Eve Trophy final, which kicks off at 2.30pm, will be preceded by the Charles Marshall Under-17 Cup final pitting PHC Zebras against Warwick Archers at noon.