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PHC overcome lack of numbers to win Under-18 league

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Emulating their seniors: The PHC team that won the Appleby Under-18 League (Photograph supplied by PHC)

Roddy Lewis, the PHC under-18 coach, has applauded his players for showing great determination to win the Appleby Under-18 league.

The youth side emulated PHC’s senior team by bagging a league title and overcame obstacles along the way.

“Credit must go to the players as they worked hard for each other,’’ Lewis told The Royal Gazette.

“In a lot of the games we had only eleven players, with no subs on the bench, and those are the games where we actually did well.”

The league concluded in disappointing fashion as PHC, who headed into the final week with a one-point advantage over Bascome FC, were awarded three points without playing their final game after North Village were unable to field a team.

PHC under-18 assistant coach Kadeem Abraham, left, Thomisha Fubler, a parent representative and head coach Roddy Lewis (Photograph supplied by PHC)

In the end, PHC clinched the 12-team league by four points after Bascome, who had already won two cup competitions, lost to Somerset Trojans.

Lewis is delighted that PHC have won the title after years of struggle as they failed to raise enough numbers to fulfil fixtures.

“It was actually a good season for us as the under-18s and senior team at PHC this season due to a lot challenges that we did have,’’ Lewis said.

“For the under-18s, it’s been a such struggle for the age group over the last couple of years, with Covid-19 and so on.

“Just to get teams out and young men playing at that age group was actually a good thing.

“Last season we had to get a lot of guest players to come in to make sure we had a team to play.

“This season, we were fortunate to have enough players and we used a lot of our under-15 players to even step up. One of our under-15 players, Harlem Bean-Fox, was actually our leading goalscorer.”

Lewis has grown alongside his players as he has taken them through the age divisions and is delighted to have guided them to their first trophy.

“I’m quite happy for the young men because it’s the first trophy that they've actually won,’’ he said.

“This is my third attempt at coaching them as I’ve coached them at two previous age groups. It was quite surprising for them to win the league and they were quite happy with it.

“I think the last time our under-18s won the league was pre-Covid, so it’s been a couple of years.”

Reflecting on the season, Lewis, whose team suffered two defeats and drew one match, revealed his side did not get off to a good start before getting into their groove.

“We started off with a draw against North Village and then they picked up really good,’’ the coach said.

“The couple of teams that we played at the beginning of the season were tough matches and we were not quite sure as coaches how we were going to play.

“We had one or two games where we actually competed well, but it just didn't work out in our favour. That’s reflected in the two losses we had, even with the one draw.

“The rest of the matches, the goalscoring levels were high, and even our defensive record was impressive.”

Four players from the under-18 squad, captain Jayden Simons, Shavon Nisbett, Yeshai Burgess and Jayden Belboda Raveneau were also part of Quincy Hunt’s champion-winning senior team.

Nisbett, who is the only member of the team not eligible next season as a result of being overage, was one of the scorers when PHC defeated X-Roads 3-1 in the penultimate round of Premier Division fixtures.

“We had four of our players who got playing time in the senior team,’’ Lewis added.

“Shavon Nisbett was already part of the senior team and the other three were trying to push through up into the senior levels from the under-18s to gain some experience.”

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Published April 17, 2024 at 8:04 am (Updated April 17, 2024 at 8:04 am)

PHC overcome lack of numbers to win Under-18 league

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