Coach Thomas accepts Dunbeholden’s fate
Dunbeholden's quarter-final exit this time around, after the highs of last season, may be perceived from the outside as a setback. However, given a difficult preseason and the struggles to recapture that magic which led them to the final, head coach Harold Thomas judged the season to be acceptable.
Dunbeholden were beaten 4-1 on aggregate in their Jamaica Premier League quarter-final series with Mount Pleasant, emphasised with a 3-0 defeat in their second-leg semi-final on Monday.
The St Catherine-based Dunbeholden squeezed into the play-offs with a bit of fortune, but their punishing schedule, which included a deep Lynk Cup run, eventually affected their performance.
"We have been depleted and injured. We really don't have the quality of Mount Pleasant, and that was a given. We were able to do other things in the game but in the end, the mistakes caught up with us," Thomas said.
"We gave as good as well as we got, but it just wasn't to be this year. We have been depleted and tired and all of that, but it is for us to go and look at the season and plan and come again."
Dunbeholden got to the final last year in their first play-off appearance, but this year, they hurdled through several challenges, starting with an inadequate preseason and their coach being away to tend to personal matters.
They needed a combination of a late surge and a Waterhouse sanction to get through, and Thomas argued that based on the circumstances, back-to-back play-off appearances in their fifth year in the top flight was good.
"Our preseason was poor. We never got the level of conditioning we needed, and as the season progressed it became difficult to catch up, and the games came fast and furious. We tried what we could with limited resources, but no excuses," Thomas said.
"It is an accomplishment [to make the play-offs] because, in the final week of the season we were in eighth position. Thanks to some miraculous situation with Waterhouse, we elevated to sixth. For us, it is an acceptable season. It is not the season we wanted, but we have to be satisfied with it."
That satisfaction begins a season of recruitment and rebuilding in anticipation of their first appearance in the regional Concacaf Club Championships in three months.
"We have started to look at that already and have identified some talents, so we will try and get those transfers and start preparing for the next cycle," Thomas said.