A regional third division franchise is up for grabs this weekend as Saxon Rovers and Oasis FC battle it out in the RTD Playoffs taking place at Browns Farm in Phillipi on Saturday.
Rovers’ journey in the playoffs began last weekend with a loss to the Rygate LFA champions, Hazendal. The 1-0 loss was initially overturned due to tournament compliance rules but a disciplinary hearing, convened last Sunday morning, delivered an outcome which upheld the win for Hazendal.
But the Maitland outfit went on later to beat Hustlaz 9-0 and on Sunday they defeated Celtics – the group favourites – 4-2; with two of the goals coming late in the second half not long before the final whistle.
The quarter finals, which took place late Sunday afternoon, was thought to be a real test for Bradley Valentine’s side but the head coach led his team to a convincing 4-1 win over Group B winners, Quemic United FC, setting up a thrilling semi-final showdown against Group E winners, Oasis FC.
And while it might seem from the outside that Roman’s Rovers are cruising, it’s been a difficult ride. Hours after the final whistle in their league win over Rygersdal, a number of players handed in transfer requests as they sought to ply their trade elsewhere, leaving the squad unbalanced just two weeks before the playoffs.
But after finding a few experienced hats to fill the spots, including some who barely kicked a ball all season, this Rovers side has been unstoppable. Marcelino Lambert was phenomenal in the quarter final with the Rovers front three in excellent form.
The CTTLFA representatives now go into the semi-final full of pride and belief, knowing that a win – be it on penalties or in normal time – will achieve a fairy tale outcome delivered with a Regional Third Division franchise.