Top three teams to play in Friendship Trophy preliminary round ties
The three most successful teams in the Friendship Trophy, PHC, North Village and Somerset, will all have to play an extra match if they are to add another title to their collection come April.
The three clubs will be involved in preliminary round matches, starting with North Village against PHC tomorrow at Goose Gosling Field at 9pm, before the Trojans play Dandy Town in the second match next Wednesday. Devonshire Cougars take on Somerset Eagles in the third preliminary round match on February 2, to determine the final eight for the quarter-finals, which are scheduled for February and March.
PHC, Village and Somerset have 34 wins between them in the 56-year old competition, which began in 1965-66. Village were the first winners when they beat Wellington Rovers 1-0 in the 1966 final.
PHC have won the trophy twelve times, while Village and Somerset both have eleven titles to their name. The Zebras have appeared in 19 finals, the Trojans 15 and the Rams 14, underlining their pedigree in the competition.
Dandy Town, Devonshire Colts and Southampton Rangers are a distant fourth with four wins apiece.
The competition failed to be completed for the first time last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The season was stopped just a week after the three preliminary round matches were held on the weekend of November 28, with Devonshire Cougars beating Dandy Town 2-1, Robin Hood defeating Somerset Trojans 3-1 in extra time and Southampton Rangers edging Somerset Eagles 4-3 in extra time.
Somerset Trojans became the first multiple winners, winning the second, third, fourth and fifth finals between 1967 and 1970, before PHC won the next three titles and then added a fourth title in five years in 1975.
By 1990, PHC and Somerset had the most wins – eight each – with PHC repeating their feat of four titles in five years between 1986 and ‘90 after Somerset claimed their eighth title in 1989.
Village’s best period in the competition came between 2001 and 2012 when they won seven times, including three straight from 2010 to 2012.
The Shield competition for the First Division teams, which runs in conjunction with the Friendship, will have one preliminary round match on February 2 when Hamilton Parish and BAA, currently the top two teams in the First Division promotion race, battle for a spot in the last eight.
The dates for the quarter-finals are February 23, March 2, March 9 and March 15.
Southampton Rangers were the last winners of the Friendship, beating Devonshire Cougars 1-0 in the New Year’s Day final in 2020, while Devonshire Colts, promoted that season, claimed the Shield after beating Flanagan’s Onions 4-1 in the final.