Lejaun Simmons justifies summer move at first time of asking
Lejaun Simmons hailed a special moment after helping to guide Devonshire Cougars to the Dudley Eve Trophy.
The Bermuda winger levelled the scores against Dandy Town with just five minutes remaining at the National Stadium on Wednesday, before substitute Elisha Darrell struck a dramatic winner two minutes later to complete the turnaround and snatch the title.
No stranger to tasting success, Simmons, who rejoined Cougars from Robin Hood in the summer, spoke of the greater magnitude of clinching glory with his boyhood club and why it is so much more significant than with his previous club.
“It was definitely a special moment, said Simmons, who was part of the Hood team that lost 5-2 to Dandy Town in last year's final.
“To help the club reach their first final for a few years and then get over the line to win a title was amazing. I’m delighted to get off to the perfect start back at the club.
“Winning the title is absolutely massive not just for the club but more importantly the community. That was one of the main talking points beforehand from assistant coach Mark Mills.
“We wanted to do it for our coach Vance Brown, who is struggling with his health at the moment, but also the community as a whole.
“It’s about bringing our community back together and bringing a sense of harmony among everyone at the club.
“Winning here means so much more because it is my boyhood club, where my career started. My family are connected to this club and so it’s special to be able to come back and win a title like that.”
As well as a sense of pride for the club, title joy also brought a personal vindication for Simmons after eyebrows were raised in the wake of his decision to leave Hood and seal a return to a club where he made his senior debut at 16.
“People were surprised when I chose to leave Hood for Cougars but home is where the heart is and this club is special to me,” he added.
“I also wanted to prove I could achieve at a supposedly less favourable team and I think I’ve proved I can play my part and make an impact here.
“It’s a different role for me within this squad than it was it was at Hood. It’s a different type of challenge for me personally but I’m loving it; I couldn’t have asked for anything more so far.
“I always hoped to be able to bring back a winning mentality to the club and I think we’ve proved that we have that collective belief among us. Hopefully, we can build on this and create some winning momentum.”
While Simmons is taking the opportunity to savour Cougars’ title success, he is determined for it not to be a one-off, believing that the club have proved they belong among the top contenders.
“The history of this club speaks for itself,” Simmons added. “People shouldn’t have been doubting us in the first place. They won’t be doubting us now.
“I’ve always believed Cougars are in the top three or four clubs in the country and, hopefully, this is just the first step to proving we belong among the best.”