A little bit of history repeating
It is often said that history has a funny way of repeating itself.
This certainly appears to be the case when it comes to the Dudley Eve Trophy competition honouring the legacy of the late Bermuda Football Association founding member.
As it stands, the winner and runners-up from group B that will face either group A winners PHC Zebras or runners-up Somerset Trojans in the semi-finals of the competition have yet to be decided.
The BFA had planned a drawing of lots to determine which two teams advance from group B after Dandy Town, the defending champions, Devonshire Cougars and Robin Hood finished level on points with identical goal differences, as well as the same amount of goals scored and conceded.
But after meeting with representatives from the three clubs the BFA postponed the drawing of lots to allow all of the parties involved more time to “explore other alternatives”.
This is not the first time that the competition has encountered a gridlock, however, as both Somerset and PHC can attest.
The 1981-82 Dudley Eve final between the two clubs at the National Stadium ended deadlocked at 4-4 on aggregate after two legs and a penalty shoot-out that was abandoned because of poor lighting with the teams still tied.
The first leg ended 1-1 with Dwayne “Tricks” Richardson, the Somerset winger, grabbing an 84th-minute equaliser to cancel out Kevin Dill’s first-half strike that gave PHC the lead.
The second leg ended 3-3 with Somerset scoring through George Brangman, substitute Everette Wellman and an Anthony Burt own goal.
On target for PHC were Kenny Burt, who scored a brace, and substitute Mike James who grabbed a late equaliser after Wellman put Somerset back in front.
After extra time failed to separate the two sides, Andre Amory came close to winning it for Somerset when his penalty kick struck the woodwork.
With the light getting progressively worse, match officials decided to bring the penalty shoot-out to a close with the score at 4-4.
Initially, the BFA ordered both teams to play a second leg replay at BAA Field. However, the match never materialised as Somerset and PHC both objected to playing at BAA Field.
The two clubs then submitted a proposal to have the match played at the National Stadium which was rejected by the BFA.
“The BFA wanted us to play a third match at BAA Field but both clubs disagreed,” Ed “Beaver” Burrows, the former Zebras goalkeeper, said. “We both said if we are not playing up at National Stadium then we are not playing and just didn’t turn up.”
The BFA also rejected another proposal submitted by the clubs to have the match played at either side’s home venue and for them to pocket a larger share of gate receipts.
The dispute between the clubs and the BFA dragged on for weeks and eventually a Special Commission was set up to resolve matters.
Both teams and the BFA were found to be at fault for not following the procedure set out in the rules to determine the winner while the Commission also determined that the latter should not have required the clubs to take part in a replay.
Somerset and PHC were each fined $500 and found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute for not showing up for the BFA arranged second-leg replay and for attempting to make their own arrangements for a replay and distribution of the gate receipts.
After completing its review, the Commission’s findings revealed that the result of the Dudley Eve Trophy final should be determined in accordance with the rules by the tossing of a coin or the drawing of lots.
More than three months after the second leg ended in stalemate, then BFA president Gerard Bean tossed the coin at a brief ceremony at the National Stadium, Somerset’s Stevie Riley wrongly called tails and PHC captain Marischal “Mop” Astwood readily accepted the trophy, which was Zebras’ maiden Dudley Eve title.
“I remember Stevie called tails and the thing came up heads and we lost it that way,” Reggie Pearman, the former Somerset Cricket Club president, recalled.
Since then the competition’s format has been altered, and now features the top six teams from the previous campaign and not the top four at the halfway stage of the season, while the final is no longer played over two legs.