BFA: Saturday afternoon games necessary

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A shortage of referees and floodlit grounds has prompted the Bermuda Football Association to schedule Premier Division and First Division matches for Saturday afternoons this season.

However, it is an imitative that Shannon Burgess, competition committee chairman and vice-president of the BFA, believes will be well received as it adds a new option to weekend matches.

With the floodlights at Devonshire Recreation Club still not repaired after being damaged by two hurricanes, night football is not anticipated there for the second straight season, leaving Goose Gosling Field and Somerset Cricket Club as the only options for night matches.

“Last year at the annual Congress meeting we discussed the challenges we were having with night venues and shortage of referees and the competitions committee came up with a plan to implement Saturday afternoon matches to alleviate the stresses on infrastructure and administration of matches,” Burgess told The Royal Gazette.

“It is something we looked to incorporate this year and perhaps we can have a few more matches in upcoming seasons.

“We have actually finalised the Masters schedule and have been able to work around that. We took that into consideration when we made that decision.”

The first Saturday afternoon matches will take place on October 7 when Ireland Rangers host St David’s in a First Division encounter at Malabar Field at 3pm, while Somerset Trojans play Dandy Town at Somerset Cricket Club, also at 3pm.

The next Saturday will pit Hamilton Parish against St George’s Colts at Wellington Oval, while North Village play Young Men’s Social Club at Bernard Park on Saturday, November 4.

“Most of the Premier Division matches are preceded by Masters games, so hopefully we can build a community feeling around that,” Burgess said.

“North Village and Young Men’s Social Club are scheduled as a double-header involving their Masters teams and then the Premier Division teams.

“A team will play one Saturday [afternoon] during the season, maybe two, but the only pushback we may see is from players who work on Saturdays. However, the schedule has been released far enough in advance for them to make consideration for that one Saturday.

“In years past, we’ve held some Dudley Eve [Trophy] matches on Saturday afternoons. Hopefully we’ll get buy-in.”

Burgess said the BFA was still in dialogue with Devonshire Recreation Club regarding its field.

In November last year Nadine Henry, the club’s president, spoke of the challenges they faced trying to get the floodlights repaired.

“If we don’t move down this path, we’re going to have serious challenges with trying to finish the season because of a shortage of officials and night venues,” Burgess said. “We’re still speaking with them and there are a few options on the table.”

Two matches are scheduled for this Saturday, with BAA taking on Hamilton Parish at 7pm and Flanagan’s Onions playing North Village at 9pm at Goose Gosling Field.

• First Division sides BAA, St David’s, Paget Lions and St George’s all made winning starts to their seasons last weekend.

BAA were the big winners, thrashing Ireland Rangers 5-0 at Goose Gosling Field as Josh Hartman and Laquan Thomas both netted twice and Willie Clemons the other.

Paget beat Hamilton Parish 4-0 at Southampton Oval, where Tahj Wade celebrated his debut for Paget after a summer transfer from Somerset Trojans by netting a hat-trick. DeMarlo Curtis scored the other Paget goal.

St David’s had a 3-0 win over Somerset Eagles at White Hill Field, where Mikkail Crockwell, Jamal Woodley and Diego McCallan netted for the visiting side.

St George’s had a 3-2 win over Wolves at Wellington Oval as Donavan Thompson scored twice and Jahron Dickinson the other while Vince Minors and Sergio Richardson replied for Wolves.

In the other match, Devonshire Colts and Southampton Rangers drew 2-2 at Police Field. Jahkeylo Burgess and Temiko Eve scored for Colts while Donte Brangman and a penalty from Akale Bean earned a share of the spoils for Rangers.

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Published Sep 27, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 26, 2017 at 10:40 pm)

BFA: Saturday afternoon games necessary

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