PHC captain Marco Warren has revenge over North Village on his mind
Gaining a measure of revenge is firmly on the mind of PHC Zebras captain Marco Warren as he and his Zebras comrades prepare to do battle with familiar foes North Village for the right to hoist the Friendship Trophy on New Year’s Day.
Victory against the Warwick club’s rivals would go a way toward erasing recent memories of a pair of 1-0 defeats this season and Warren is not pleased at how Village put a damper on PHC’s league opener and their first outing under floodlights at their home venue in over two decades.
With the Pembroke club not due to have their own lights installed and ready to host night matches until next season, it will be a while before Warren is able to inflict similar damage, but victory on Sunday would suffice …at least for now.
“Absolutely, we did not like that and we’re waiting for them to get their lights hooked up, because it would be nice to get some revenge,” said Warren following Tuesday’s hard-fought Friendship Trophy semi-final triumph over Somerset, in which he scored the winning goal.
“Still, we have to keep taking each game one at at a time, understanding that they had our number then, but it’s our time now, so we’re going to definitely go at them.”
Providing added fuel to the quest is the fact that less than a week after the spoiled christening of the lights, Rams again found an avenue to deny Zebras’ progression beyond the quarter-finals of the Dudley Eve Trophy.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the Friendship Trophy tournament, none have a more glittering history than the men who don the black and white.
PHC have captured the title a record 12 times, but Village, with 11 such championships of their own, would appreciate little more than to secure a third victory for the season and draw level in trophy numbers but Warren is determined to prevent such a scenario taking place.
“I’m glad you mentioned that,” said the diminutive playmaker when reminded of the fact. “Now I have something else to play for and it should be a good battle, I can’t wait.”
One aspect that will have to improve if PHC are to extend their numerical title advantage is the side’s level of intensity early in matches, an area they have often struggled with this season and which was again on display against Somerset, causing them to fall a goal behind early.
Such exhibitions of lethargy was not lost on Warren, who noted the need to rectify the situation if Sunday’s goal of victory is to be met.
“Sometimes we have a habit of starting slow and getting into it, but that goal woke us up,” explained Warren. “It let us know that something was on the line. And when things are on the line and our backs are against the wall we’ve been good at responding this year and this was a testament to that.
“It was definitely a wake-up call and hopefully in the final we don’t start like that and are put behind the eight ball, because it’ not always that you’re able to come back like that against quality opposition.”
For coach Winston Trott, once a significant performer as a player and now the prime influencer on the sidelines, the lone desire is to win and to give fulfilment to the fact that he, his staff and players have had to deny themselves many of the trappings associated with the holiday season for the sake of the game.
“It’s just another game,” said Trott, his calm, dismissive demeanour thinly masking a determined, purposeful desire to have his men mount the podium at day’s end. “It’s who wants to win this the most, that’s it.
“You have to put the fight in. You have to make the sacrifice because your Christmas is ruined and now your New Year’s Eve is ruined, so you at least want to win and come away with the trophy.
“I’m used to playing over the holidays like this, but it’s just a matter of them understanding what they have to do.”
Asked about Village’s desire to even up the number of overall Friendship Trophy titles, Trott was similarly coy and revealed little of his plan to derail any such design on the part of his opponents.
Said Trott: “I’m sure that’s what they want to do, but for me it’s about getting the win. We just want to get that ‘W’, the history and all that stuff really doesn’t matter to me, I just need to win a trophy. If we can win the trophy we’ll be on our way, that’s what I think.
“They have a good team that is playing well, so it’s a matter of breaking down what they put out there.”