Friendship Trophy holders Rangers look for relief from league inconsistencies – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Friendship Trophy holders Rangers look for relief from league inconsistencies

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Maquel Nisbett-Tankard, the Southampton Rangers defender, celebrates his second-half stoppage-time header that gave his team victory over Devonshire Cougars in last season's Friendship Trophy final at Somerset Cricket Club (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Southampton Rangers welcome a break from the Premier Division in the hope that their Friendship Trophy preliminary-round tie against Somerset Eagles on Sunday can be the catalyst for more consistent performances.

Rangers started the campaign with an impressive 4-0 win over league champions North Village in the Charity Cup on September 4. That effort suggested they could be one of the teams challenging for the title, but in the eight league games that have followed, Jomar Wilkinson’s side have managed only two wins and two draws.

McQuinn Burch, the Southampton Rangers captain, receives the Charity Cup from David Burt, the Premier. Also pictured as Bermuda Football Association president Mark Wade, right, and competitions committee chairman Shannon Burgess (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Every time we play Eagles it’s always a derby type of game between two country teams,” the veteran defender said. “We’re looking to put our best foot forward.

“Obviously, we’ve had a rough start to the season, so we’re still trying to put all the pieces to the puzzle together. We’re looking to get off on the right foot this weekend.”

New signing Tre Ming had a dream start at Rangers after his move from PHC, scoring two penalties in the Charity Cup. However, since then Rangers have lost half of their league matches to sit in the bottom half of the tables only three points clear of the relegation zone.

“It’s been a tough start, they say the Charity Cup is a jinx cup, right?,” Burch suggested. “It seems like we’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle; we’re just still trying to figure out where they fit.

“I think it’s only going to get better from here. I can see we’re making progress on the training pitch and games are getting better. We just need that little bit of luck and everything is going to come together.

“It’s not like we’re playing bad football; things just aren’t going our way right now. They always say it takes that little bit of luck with the hard work.”

The winners of this match will meet St George’s in the quarter-finals on December 20.

“Hopefully the guys come ready to play,” Burch said. “It’s a chance to win a trophy and who doesn’t want to win a trophy? We’re going to bring our A-game and hope to defend it.

“Cup games are always different. Anybody can win on any given day in a cup game. Just like in Bermuda football, anybody can win on any given day.

“It seems kind of weird right now how the league is going; teams are beating everybody. You can’t write a team off when you’re playing them.

“Whatever team comes to play on that day seems to be the team that wins, so we’re going to come to play on Sunday. I hope they bring their A-game because anything less, they’re going to be in trouble.”

In the two other preliminary-round matches, Dandy Town and Devonshire Cougars, the recent Dudley Eve Trophy finalists, will renew their rivalry on Saturday night at Goose Gosling Field (9pm), while Robin Hood take on Somerset Trojans at the same venue on Sunday, starting at 2.30pm.

Chae Brangman, of Robin Hood, is the in-form striker at present, scoring seven goals in his past three games including the winner last weekend over his former team Devonshire Cougars in a top-of-the-table clash. Hood lead the Premier Division by five points over Cougars, having played one game fewer.

In the other quarter-finals set for December 20, the winners of Hood and Trojans play X-Roads Warriors, and Devonshire Colts will face either Town or Cougars. The final match will see North Village taking on PHC.

In the First Division this weekend, a lone make-up match between Hamilton Parish and Ireland Rangers will take place at Wellington Oval starting at 12.30pm. The match was postponed on October 25.

Victory for Parish will take them to the top of the table and still with a game in hand on the leaders, Young Men’s Social Club. Parish are the only team in either division with a perfect record, having won all five league games, scoring 23 goals in the process.

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Published November 27, 2020 at 11:06 am (Updated November 27, 2020 at 11:06 am)

Friendship Trophy holders Rangers look for relief from league inconsistencies

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