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Relegation battle takes spotlight this weekend

Captain Jamin Furbert (left) and his X-Roads team-mates must get a result against Somerset Trojans to guarntee their place in the Premier Division next season. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The first full league season in three years will come to an end this weekend with the relegation dogfight between X-Roads and Devonshire Colts taking full focus.

Tonight’s 8pm clash at Goose Gosling Field between top teams Dandy Town and PHC Zebras was expected to command the spotlight this weekend in what was shaping up for most of the season to be the title-deciding showdown.

However, PHC’s 2-2 draw with North Village and Town’s subsequent win over Devonshire Colts on Monday night, meant that the new champions have been determined with a game to go, taking some of the spark out of the contest at Goose Gosling Field.

Town coach Aaron Denkins departed the island on Tuesday for Dominican Republic with the women’s national team as assistant coach, confident in the knowledge that the title was already wrapped up. This was Denkins’s first season in the job, stepping up from assistant coach to replace Kwame Steede who rejoined Devonshire Cougars as their coach.

Town will enter the match with an unbeatable four-point lead over PHC.

At the other end of the table three teams will go down in order to return the division to 10 teams next season. Ironically, Boulevard were the last team relegated in 2020, when they were the only team to take the drop after the season finished with one round of games to go because of Covid-19.

Now Boulevard have confirmed their return to the top flight, along with Hamilton Parish, as Colts and X-Roads put it all on the line to avoid being the third team to drop into the First Division.

X-Roads, with a three-point lead over Colts following their midweek win over Robin Hood, need just a draw at home to Somerset Trojans at Garrison Field tomorrow, while Colts must beat Robin Hood at Police Field to have any chance of staying up. Colts go into the weekend with a much better goal difference than their relegation rivals and will be hoping for a favour from Trojans.

“There’s still work to be done, but a point will be enough,” Jamin Furbert, the X-Roads captain said of his team’s prospects following the Hood victory.

“If we keep working hard like we did tonight that will come.”

Hood, who pulled themselves clear of the relegation zone with some good results early in the new year, need at least a draw to claim the final Dudley Eve spot for next season.

Sunday’s other match will see Somerset Eagles hosting the other relegated side, Southampton Rangers, at White Hill Field in a bottom-of-the-table clash that will determine who finishes last.

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Published April 09, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated April 09, 2022 at 7:50 am)

Relegation battle takes spotlight this weekend

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