"This has been the most satisfying of our InterCol wins because we weren't expected to win."
That's how St Anthony's College coach Nigel Grovesnor summed up his feelings about his school's sixth lien on the National InterCol title, which they won Wednesday when they beat St Augustine Secondary 2-0 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.
"This one is special because we were not expected to win. Last year we lost ten players, but we were still able to be competitive make the semi-final of the national league and then win this."
Grovesnor is the architect behind St Anthony's dominance for the past 15 years, which has seen them win six crowns, a record only matched by Naparima College. Overall they have nine national titles, including three "Big Five" wins, a record bettered only by Signal Hill Secondary (ten), and matched by Naparima and St Augustine, and San Fernando Tech, who dominated in the 1970s and 1980s.
" Although the first one (InterCol title) we won in 1997 will always be the best, this victory was the most satisfying of all, because last year at least we had a quality team and a deep bench. This year we had a lot of players filling in. So it was hard and grueling but we stood our ground," Grovesnor said.
According to the longstanding St Anthony's coach, his school's ability to produce consistent results at this level is due to their foundation and transitional programme.
"When I started at the school here, I started from the ground level, placing a lot of emphasis from the under-14s come up, the youth programmes. Because of that foundation, we find that it is easy for the guys to come and fill in for experienced players who have to leave. That's what happened this year and that has been happening quite consistently since I have been here," he said.
Looking forward to next year's competition, despite the fact that he will be losing experienced players like captain Jamali Garcia and striker Adrian Millette next year, Grosvenor is confident of giving another year of rock solid performances in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) competition.
"I always go into each year with a certain amount of confidence," Grovesnor said, "Next year won't be any different. We are going to focus on our physical and mental preparation. For me, and this is how I like my team to look at it, every year presents a new challenge, and so we try to find new things to focus on so the guys don't get bored.
"So I am looking forward to next year . There is no guarantee we will win or be as successful as this year. But one thing is that we will certainly try to win," he concluded.