Jomar Wilkinson ready for task ahead with Somerset Trojans
Jomar Wilkinson admits he was looking for a new challenge when he recently stepped down as head coach of Southampton Rangers.
He did not hesitate to accept when Somerset Cricket Club approached him about taking over the Trojans, a team with a winning tradition.
Speaking for the first time since he was confirmed as the new Trojans coach on the weekend, Wilkinson says his departure from Rangers after four years was amicable.
“It has been a growing experience and a pleasurable experience,” Wilkinson told Chanjiv Simons, the Rangers president. “I definitely don’t regret anything and I’m honoured to have served Rangers.
“I want to say thank you for all the assistance you gave me, but I just feel like after four years it is time to move on. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me, and it has definitely been a pleasurable experience.
“Don’t think I came to this decision easily; sometimes you have to recognise when it is time to step away, and I think it is time to step away.”
Simons responded by thanking Wilkinson for his contribution to the club, getting them promoted and retaining their Premier Division status after winning the Friendship Trophy in their first season back in the top flight.
“Thank you Jomar for all your time and effort and everything you gave to the club,” Simons told him. “I definitely think you changed the atmosphere around us and gave us a winning mentality, something we haven’t seen in years, probably even decades.
“I appreciate you. We had our ups and down but when the good was good it was real good and nothing can take away those experiences. I respect you as a coach and a person and respect all the hard work you did for the club.
“You made yourself a real Ranger and we have a lot of love for you at the club. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.”
Wilkinson was appointed coach of Rangers in June 2017 and in his first season kept them unbeaten in First Division, although they still did not get promoted, after drawing six of their 18 matches. He did lead them to promotion the next season as league champions ahead of Somerset Eagles, this time with a 17-2-1 record from their 20 matches.
Wilkinson departs Southampton Oval knowing that he built a solid team, one capable of holding their own in the top division. “First, I would like to thank the players and fans of Southampton Rangers for four successful seasons,” he said.
“The initial goal was to gain promotion back to the top flight, retain that status and build the club as a local powerhouse.
“I feel we achieved those goals and added some much needed silverware. Our first season, to me, was an exceptional season, going undefeated, winning the Shield and making it to the FA Cup final as a First Division outfit.
“We defeated top Premier Division teams on our way to the final and that spoke volumes about the level of football we displayed that season. Winning the Shield twice and the First Division crown was uplifting for the players and fans, delivering the first piece of football silverware since ‛Mr Cup Match’ [Janeiro Tucker] scored that awesome free kick [1-0 in the 1992 final against PHC] to deliver Rangers that same trophy over 20 years prior.”
Rangers started last season by shocking league champions North Village 4-0 in the Charity Cup. The season ended before Christmas because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Rangers just above the relegation zone and preparing for another battle for survival.
“It was a very difficult decision to part ways with my beloved Rangers, but it was time to seek a new challenge after four seasons,” he said. “I saw the opportunity to coach Southampton Rangers as a huge challenge, but one that would allow the much needed growth to happen as a coach first.
“I would like to thank the administration of Rangers for first giving me the platform to express myself as a coach. A special thank-you to [former president] Jason Wade and Chanjiv Simons for believing in me as the leaders of the club.
“I would also like to thank the team behind the team; without the teamwork, it wouldn’t have been four seasons of success. A special thank-you to the group of players I had the privilege of coaching while at Rangers.”
Wilkinson is now looking forward to the challenges awaiting him at Somerset where he will work alongside Dennis Brown, Danvers Seymour Jr, Larry Smith and Mark Trott.
“When I was approached by Somerset for the head coach position, it didn’t take me long to accept the position,” he said. “It really was a no-brainer.
“The opportunity to work with maybe the best group of coaches assembled at any club in Bermuda was an opportunity that I would never turn down. They will challenge me to be better, I’m sure, and that’s exactly what I need at this point in my coaching career.
“Somerset Trojans have a rich history in local football. I can remember attending Somerset games where I fell in love with their brand of attacking, entertaining football.”
Wilkinson added: “I have accepted the challenge to help grow these young, hungry talented players who have grown up through the ranks at Somerset, and to turn them into successful young men and footballers with the help of the technical team.
“I promise that every time we step on to the pitch, we will carry the pride of wearing the badge of SCC and honour the traditions and make the loyal fans want to come out and give their unwavering support week in and week out because it absolutely will take teamwork to make the dream work.”