Queen’s Royal College were relegated from the Premier Division of the Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) yesterday, succumbing to a 4-0 defeat at home to St Anthony’s College.
The “Royalians” had never before been relegated from the top flight in the traditional sense, despite playing in the Championship Division in 2014, which was due to a change from the zonal format to the Premier Division.
On the final day of league competition, QRC needed a win against old rivals St Anthony’s College in order ensure their survival. Before a ball had been kicked on the day, they were level on 10 points with Pleasantville Secondary, while both Fatima College and St Benedict’s College were tied on nine points and could have moved out of the zone with a win and a QRC defeat.
In the end, goals from Che Benny, Derron John, Yevan Rajpaul and Tyrese Bailey put QRC under the sword in St Clair. Elsewhere, meanwhile, St Benedict’s College were on their way to pulling off their “great escape” at the Mahaica Oval, edging Trinity College Moka with a 1-0 result to move to 12 points and a stay in top flight football next season.
The match at St Clair was scrappy for most of the 90 minutes. However, it was the visitors who created a lot of the chances in the first half.
Jules Lee hit the crossbar with a fifth-minute free kick that left QRC custodian Kern Thomas rooted to the spot. The hard, dusty ground made passing football difficult for both teams, but the “Tigers” should have taken the lead when Benny’s inswinging cross almost found the head of John at the far post.
St Anthony’s had to thank Thomas for their opener in first-half stoppage time, as the QRC keeper was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the area, and Benny curled a left-footed gem into the top corner over the wall to send his team into a half-time lead.
It got worse shortly after the resumption, as John-Paul Rochford handled the ball in his own penalty area, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
John stepped up and dispatched to his favourite left-hand corner - scored two from the spot on the same side against Naparima College - and things were looking bleak for the “Royalians”, as news trickled in that St Benedict’s had taken the lead against Trinity College.
Haile Beckles almost tripled six minutes later, but his effort was cleared heroically on the line by T’Shad Selvon.
Rochford was put clean through in the 67th for QRC, but his shot was charged down and St Anthony’s Lee had his rebound saved by Oba Augustine.
The third nail in the coffin came from Rajpaul, who hit low and hard past Thomas in the 75th minute; then Bailey scored at the death, slotting low past the keeper with ease to seal their hosts’ fate.
The results yesterday meant that St Benedict’s College finished in 12th place, while QRC were in 13th, followed by Pleasantville and Fatima who ended 14th and 15th respectively.