AFTER coming off the bench to score a screamer and give Harbour View a 1-0 first-leg win over Waterhouse in the semi-finals of the Jamaica Premier League (JPL), Nicholas Hamilton came off the bench to similar effect, coming up with a sublime finish to earn his team a 1-1 draw and 2-1 aggregate win to land a spot in the final for the first time since they last lifted the trophy in 2013.
Hamilton explained how he was able to score the goal after it appeared the chance was lost when he was crowded out by four defenders.
“The moment came when the wing back played it up to me and my first touch was like going inside and trying to get the shot off the left foot, but [when] one of the centre backs came close I decided to go back on the right. After I go on the right, my next touch set it up perfectly for a toe poke right through the defender’s legs and into the back of the net.”
The goal came in the 84th minute of the game and Harbour View were then able to see out the remaining minutes to get to the final.
Hamilton says he was designed for moments like those.
“Big players step up at big moments. I was having a poor season but all the players and coaches stick with me, and they know the quality that I have.
“They said ‘Once we make the play-offs you are going to be the man to come off the bench and do it.’ ”
Hamilton explained that ahead of the second leg he received many messages and phone calls urging him to get the team into the final.
“It’s been 2013 since we last won the league so this means a lot to not just the people in Harbour View. I have received a lot of text messages and calls from guys that used to play for the team, like Jermaine Hue and all of those players that are overseas now, and they are urging us to do it for the community — and that is what we came out and did,” he revealed.
Harbour View had been an ordinary team for most of the season and it took a team meeting, called by the experienced players, to turn things around, ultimately culminating in a spot in today’s final.
“Every team has their struggles but there a lot of senior players in the team, like myself, with overseas experience; Ajeanie Talbott [is] the same. Then you have guys who have won the premier league like Ryan Wellington, then you have Romaine Brackenridge and Colorado Murray, guys with experience, so we just come together as a unit, and we spoke to the younger guys, and we just tried to make everything work.
“There was a lot of bad blood that was in the team but we decided that we are going into the play-offs and everybody has to work for the team,” Hamilton explained.
The formula for winning the final is pretty straightforward as far as Hamilton is concerned.
“We just have to continue being the team that we are and just listen to the coach’s instructions, and that will get us a far way.
“We will recover and come for Sunday. It will be a big day, not just for us as players but it will be a big day for the club and the fans so we have to go out there, take it a step at a time, and try to get the victory for the team.”
Hamilton returned to the premier league after a spell overseas which included playing in the Canadian Premier League. He will be hunting his first JPL title.
— Dwayne Richards