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Zebras have a chance to cut Town’s lead to two points

No mercy: Marco Warren, the PHC captain, goes in tough against a Somerset Eagles player yesterday at PHC Field (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

PHC will be looking to keep the Premier Division title race open when they meet Robin Hood tonight at Goose Gosling Field at 9pm in a make-up match.

The Zebras became the division’s leading scorers on the weekend when they hammered bottom side Somerset Eagles 12-0 on Sunday, to also record the season’s biggest victory.

However, the Zebras, who trail Town by five points in the league standings, must now go on a winning streak between now and the end of the season, if they are to take the title race down to the wire and set up a winner-takes-all scenario in their final match of the campaign against the Hornets on April 10 at Goose Gosling Field.

PHC can stay in contention by beating Hood, as a win would move them to within two points of Town in what is now a two-team title race.

PHC became the most successful team in the league when back-to-back titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 took them ahead of North Village and Somerset. Town are aiming for a ninth league title and fifth since 2009-10.

Devonshire Cougars, who recently drew 2-2 with Town, have slipped out of contention after another draw against St George’s on the weekend left them nine points behind the leaders with six games remaining. However, Cougars did do PHC a favour by denying Town another victory.

“We’re happy that we got a favour done for us by Cougars the other day, so now it is in our hands if we win all our games,” said Marco Warren, the PHC captain, following the win over Eagles.

“We have to start from each game and take each game one at a time. We have to take the momentum into the next game and go from there.”

If PHC win tonight to close the gap to two points, they will still be in contention for a twelfth league title, provided they then match Town’s results up to the final league weekend when the top two teams play each other.

Robin Hood, who are putting some distance between themselves and the bottom three teams, won’t be pushovers despite a 5-0 loss to PHC in their season-opener back in October. Hood responded to that loss by inflicting a 9-0 thrashing of Southampton Rangers in their next game, a result which stood as the season’s biggest, before PHC’s emphatic victory on Sunday.

It is no coincidence that the three teams that lost the most players during last summer’s transfer period ‒ Hood (13), Southampton Rangers (17) and X-Roads (16) ‒ have found themselves battling for survival along with Somerset Eagles, who suffered just six departures.

Hood have had the best response so far, putting their faith in some of their promising under-17 players and getting good results to put nine points between themselves and the relegation zone. They are also now ahead of Devonshire Colts on goal difference.

While the title race could go down to the wire, at least two of the relegation spots could be decided in the next three or four games depending on how results go.

In tonight’s other make-up match, St George’s and Somerset will make another attempt to play their match from the first half of the season, when they meet at Devonshire Rec at 8pm.

St George’s missed the chance to climb up to fourth in the table after drawing their last two matches against Devonshire Colts and Devonshire Cougars. They are in fifth place while Somerset are five points behind in sixth.

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Published February 09, 2022 at 7:38 am (Updated February 09, 2022 at 7:38 am)

Zebras have a chance to cut Town’s lead to two points

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