Devarr Boyles delighted with Town’s title double after challenging season
Dandy Town were undoubtedly the team of the season, overcoming challenges on and off the field in football’s first full season in three years.
Town, with Aaron Denkins in his first season as coach, never let up after a good start to the campaign, going on to win the league and FA Cup double after missing out on a first Triple Crown when Devonshire Cougars shocked them in the Friendship Trophy final last week.,
The Hornets bounced back from that loss with a hard-fought 3-2 win over PHC in the FA Cup final on the weekend, the fourth time that they have beaten the Zebras this season. It was Town’s sixth FA Cup success in their fifteenth appearance in the final.
Town, despite not being able to train or play at their home field at St John’s because of ongoing redevelopment work there, quickly established themselves as the team to beat. They won their first seven league matches before North Village handed them their only loss in the league on December 27 by a score of 2-0.
The Hornets then bounced back by winning 11 of their last 12 league matches to wrap up the title with a game to spare after PHC slipped up against Village (2-2) in their penultimate match.
Town finished with 55 points out of a maximum 60 from their 20 league matches, 18 wins, a draw and one loss.
“We are really excited about the players’ efforts, the back room staff’s efforts and the club and fans at large who played a part in us winning what we did this season,“ said Devarr Boyles, the club president and a former player and coach of the team.
“It was unfortunate that we didn’t do all three [trophies] because that was always the goal. The goal is to do as much as we can and this was the perfect season for us to do it. We just look forward to next season and hope things fall for us again.
“It was a very challenging season both on and off the field.”
Town, like many teams found themselves having to play a demanding schedule, particularly late in the season, sometimes involves three games in the space of six or seven days, as was the case recently when they played Devonshire Cougars in the FA Cup semi-finals on the Saturday, Cougars again in the Friendship Trophy final on the Wednesday and then PHC four days later in the FA Cup final.
They, however, battled on despite injuries, including one that sidelined captain Angelo Simmons for a few games, although he recovered in time to finish the season. Enrique Swan was one young player whom Boyles singled out for special mention.
“The person who came in to settle the team was Enrique, who made a big difference,” the president said of the 19-year-old. “He’s been an important ingredient and since he’s been in we’ve had a bit more balance in midfield.
“In the run-in he’s been fantastic, for a player his age to come in and make the senior team when the big games were on the line. He deserved to start in the matches and proved his worth.”
Boyles added: “Like all teams it’s been a long, exhausting season by the amount of games played in a short period.
“Years gone by the FA Cup was one weekend and the Friendship Trophy was the other weekend, so it gave you some recovery time. We played a league game on the Saturday, a semi-final on the Wednesday then on the Sunday again. But we weren’t the only club.”
Except for some postponements and reschedules this season went the distance with few interruptions, reaching an exciting conclusion, with Town winning the league by seven points over PHC after suffering just one loss in the league. It was a ninth league title for Town, including four won between 2010 and 2016.
PHC, despite being the league’s top scorers, finished without a trophy.
There was disappointment at the bottom of the Premier Division standings where Devonshire Colts, Southampton Rangers and Somerset Eagles were relegated as three teams went down in order to return the Premier Division to ten teams for next season.