NAPARIMA COLLEGE retained their Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division title yesterday, emphatically defeating Queen’s Royal College 4-0 to secure back to back successes.
At the re-scheduled game at the St Mary’s College ground, yesterday, ‘Naps’ took destiny into their own hands with three first half goals supplemented by a skilful Isa Bramble strike in the 80th minute that neutralised any threat of their closest pursuers and arch-rivals Presentation College San Fernando, who were away to St Anthony’s College at Westmoorings, and still technically in with a chance to wrest the title, depending on a permutation of results. The ‘Pres’ match ended in a goalless draw.
It was Naparima’s second straight season going without defeat as they finished one point better (36pts) than they earned in 2018.
The ‘Pres’ Lions had to settle for the bridesmaid spot (31 pts) a second successive season.
“Really good. You know the guys put out the work for the whole season and they were tremendous so this is just reward for all the work they did throughout the season,” Naps’ coach Angus Eve said.
SSFL president William Wallace presented the trophy to captain/goalkeeper Levi Fernandez, whose awaiting team cheered in unison as he lifted the silverware overhead. Eve, Naps’ goalkeeping coach Clayton Ince, and the rest of the technical staff also celebrated their second straight lien on the top national secondary schools title.
QRC coach Nigel Grovesnor was gracious in defeat. “We were always on the back foot (after conceding that first goal) and today we were coming up against a lion. We had nothing to lose but they had everything to win. And they came out hard and kudos; they really deserve it,” Grovesnor said.
Earlier, after the teams battled gallantly for the opening 15 minutes, midfielder Nathaniel Perouse found the opener with a left-footed drive from just outside the penalty area in the 17th minute.
It was the beginning of a five-minute, three-goal spurt that effectively settled the issue as a contest and took the pressure off the title-chasing lads from the South. Two minutes later, Decklan Marcelle connected with on-rushing central defender Shoaib Khan, who slotted home from an incisive pass into the 18-metre box.
Then, an Ezekiel Armstrong handled ball presented potent striker Seon Shippley with a penalty opportunity that he fired home in the 22nd.
QRC’s problems were intensified when they lost goalkeeper Jacques Poon-Lewis minutes after, red-carded for handling the ball outside his area. But a 10-man ‘Royalian’ outfit played with more purpose and held the score until Isa Bramble’s deft control and looping left-foot volley from a free-kick sealed the shutout.
Naparima College 4 (Nathaniel Perouse 17th, Shoaib Khan 20th, Seon Shippley pen. 22nd, Isa Bramble 80th) def QRC 0
St Anthony’s College 0 Presentation College 0