Lower league teams move up
Much focus has been placed on the Barbados Football Association’s Premier League this season, but the lower leagues have been nothing short of excitement.
As we take a look at the Division 3 competition, newcomers Chickmont have captured the Gordon Douglas Zone to gain promotion to Division 2 after their 14 matches. In their first season they have amassed a total of 28 points from eight wins, four draws and only two losses. Eastern, in one of their better seasons, managed second place with 25 points and will have to try again next year.
In the Victor “Gas” Clarke Zone, Barbados Fire Service lead Emmerton FC by three points with two rounds remaining. Fire Service are on 40 points from 13 wins and one draw and are yet to lose a game. They have been having a stellar season ahead of Emmerton who are on 37 points from 12 wins, one draw and one loss. Early front-runners Diamondshire have faded into a distant third place at the start of the second round. They are on 26 points.
In Division 2, northern youngers Whitehall Titans were able to hold off a strong challenge from neighbours Checker Hall and Greens United to clinch the Edwin Harding Zone for a berth in Division 1 next season.
This zone has seen several front-runners emerge throughout the competition with Greens looking like the most likely of the teams to advance. The Titans, however, held steady and with one round remaining, have an unassailable lead on 31 points from ten wins, one draw and two losses. Checker Hall and Greens are tied on 25 points both from eight wins, one draw and four loses.
Central League Spartans will join the Whitehall Titans in Division 1 next season after they recovered from a rocky start that saw them win one, draw one and lose one of their first three games of the campaign. After their only loss, they are yet to lose a game and have held off pressure from Caribbean United and Kickstart to claim the Lambert Thomas Zone. With one round to go, Spartans are four points ahead of Caribbean United on 24 points with Kickstart on 19 points.
The all-out battle for the third Division 1 spot next season was settled at the Wildey Astroturf on Tuesday when Ivy Rovers came up against fellow front-runner Pinelands. Pinelands came into the game trailing by two points and needed to win to overtake Ivy Rovers with one more round of games left.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw and with Ivy Rovers fixed against Maxwell for their last game. This meant that they would gain three free points since Maxwell had withdrawn from the competition during the season.
Ivy Rovers clinched the Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge Zone with 34 points from 11 wins, one draw and two loses. Pinelands and Benfica are on 29 from nine wins, two draws and two loses with one more round to play.
In Division 1, Barbados Soccer Academy are 12 points clear of Youth Milan and are poised to play Premier League next Season, having only been promoted to Division 1 in 2018. The Andrew Tudor coached side were on a ten-game winning streak, only to be held by Deacons on Wednesday night in a 0-0 draw.
They have lost a single match on their way to their 40 points. A draw in their next fixture will ensure that they cannot be caught and secure the Zone 2 Championship. Youth Milan on 28 points will have to see of a strong challenge from the Barbados Defence Force who are on 27 points if they are to secure one of two play-off spots.
In Zone 1, St Andrew Lions have overtaken Wotton in a late surge for a Premier League spot next season. Lions’ last loss was six matches ago and with four more rounds to go, Wotton will surely be piling on the pressure. They lead the pack on 28 points from eight wins, four draws and three losses while Wotton won six, drew seven and lost two on their way to 25 points. Potential Ballers are on a distant 20 points and can only hope to secure a play-off spot should Wotton foul up.