Scholars International are within touching distance of the cherished Premier League title after seeing off Roma United 2-0 on Sunday.
In-form striker Rolly Bodden grabbed both goals – the second a penalty near the end – to take Scholars to 40 points. Roma never made it easy for the champions elect at the TE McField Annex, partly because they are in sixth place, perilously close to the relegation zone and need at least one win from their remaining fixtures to breath easily.
Meanwhile, second placed Elite Sports Club hauled themselves back from two down at Bodden Town to win 3-2 in what must have been a thriller for all connected with the West Bay club.
Bodden Town have plummeted from two-time league champs to mid-table opponents this term but, with the quality of players they have, they should not be discounted to mount a serious challenge next season.
Elite have 32 points and must win their two remaining games handsomely to improve their goal difference sufficiently to overhaul Scholars. But if Scholars get at least a draw in their final match against Cayman Athletic at the Ed Bush field next week, they will win the title anyway.
Elite face Cayman Athletic and finally Sunset. If Elite fail to beat Athletic then Scholars will take the title.
Sunset started the campaign badly but are now one of the toughest sides to beat. It all bodes well for Scholars International.
Colin “Dougie” Rowe is technical director of Scholars. “Elite are still there and knocking on the door,” he said. “You never know what can happen because mathematically they still can come through.”
He added that although Scholars have “a ton load of goal difference” luck and unpredictable results are common.
Scholars will not settle for a draw against Cayman Athletic because they want the satisfaction of beating every team they have played. Before Sunday, Roma and Athletic were the only teams they had not defeated this season having played them twice before.
“It’s not about a draw against Cayman Athletic,” Rowe said. “We have to take the three points because we can’t have any team saying that we never beat them in the 2014-15 season.
“We’re going full force and the guys are in good spirits to do it.”
Scholars were lagging behind league leaders Elite in January which is when Rowe made some crucial decisions. He drafted in Bodden, introduced some youngsters to give fresh impetus and tweaked tactics to adjust for the departure of skipper Oneil Taylor, who returned to Jamaica.
Bodden has scored 13 times in eight games, according to Rowe. “Rolly is really contributing and he has an immaculate work ethic,” Rowe said. “He has a lot of discipline which is a great plus for the club.”
Rowe is pleased with the way the squad has responded to his tough training regimes. He also praised new skipper Tom Elliot who is not just a leader on the pitch, but also helps players with any personal and work issues. “Tom is always there for all the players. He can be pretty much aggressive, but at the end of the day it’s nothing personal because he is a winner.”
Rowe is also impressed with the development of another central defender, Bob Connor, whose game “has improved tremendously.”
He said Odaine Plinton has proved to be an invaluable player in a variety of positions and he is pleased to have goalkeeper Jermaine “Wacky” Brown back after a long injury break. Rowe is grateful to the contribution stand-in keeper Dereck Rivers made.