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Plaques containing Veteran all-star players donated to Bermuda Heritage Museum

Veteran All-Stars members presented the Bermudian Heritage Museum with two plaques containing 181 names of those honoured in the annual over-40s football match between St George's and Somerset. Left to right: Stephen Paynter, Larry Hunt, Joy Wilson Tucker of the Bermudian Heritage Museum, holding the RO Trophy that the teams played for, Myron Brangman and Allan Caisey pictured yesterday outside the Bermudian Heritage Museum in St George's. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Two plaques containing the names of all those honoured during the 25 years of the RO Smith Over 40s Veteran All-Stars Classic match were presented to the Bermudian Heritage Museum in St George’s.

The plaques bear a total of 181 names of people who have been honoured – players, referees, journalists and administrators – and will be displayed upstairs in the museum along with other memorabilia such as information on the history of Cup Match and how it began by the Friendly Societies 120 years ago.

The plaques were presented to Joy Wilson Tucker of the Bermudian Heritage Museum with the Veterans also making a donation of $300 to the Friendly Societies.

The annual All-Stars football matches were young in comparison to Cup Match, hosting its 25th match in 2019. No matches have been played over the last two years and is also not scheduled for this year as its future remains uncertain.

The match was the brainchild of Arthur “Bubba” Tucker in 1994, a St George’s born footballer who later lived in Somerset. A three-man committee of Myron “Goat” Brangman, Larry Hunt and Stephen Paynter organised the first match on March 25, 1995 at Garrison Field.

Somerset won that first match 4-3, a match featuring the likes of Dennis Wainwright, Albert Paynter, Neil Paynter Sr, Quinton Mallory, Russell Knights, Randy Richardson, Noel “Sub” Smith, Louis “Red” DeSilva, Charlie Fox, George “Saggus” Brangman and Heman Richardson for St George’s and Clyde “Tango” Burgess, Larry Hunt, George and Bernard Brangman, Richard “Dirt” Simmons and Gladstone Robinson for Somerset.

The trophy was donated by Rupert Smith and in 2002, the Veteran All-Stars Classic was renamed the RO Smith Veteran All-Stars Over 40s Classic in honour of Smith.

Over the 25 years, the annual match has been won 10 times by Somerset and nine times by St George’s, with four draws. Somerset were the last winners in 2019.

Brangman admits getting to 25 years was an achievement in itself, but the future of the match remains uncertain with the organisers getting older themselves and youngsters from the two communities showing limited interest in keeping it going.

‘Bubba’ Tucker is one of the former players who has since passed on, doing so in 2009 at the age of 61.

“When ‘Bubba’ started it we were only looking at doing it for about five years,“ Brangman explained. ”After he passed we brought in Allan Caisey and we continued.

“Ten years then became 15 years and then 20 and then 25, by which time we were exhausted after putting it on every year. We have reached the end for us, because when we started it we were honouring guys before us.

“That’s why we asked other guys to take it over, a couple of guys came up with ideas but it went flat. It is going to take a lot of work to keep it going.”

The rivalry between the two communities, which started with Cup Match, has been a strong one over the years, but friendships have outlasted the rivalry on the field.

“Because it was friends and family from both ends,” Brangman explained.

“One thing that made us feel good is Government honoured us unexpectedly after the 25th match, giving us a plaque.”

Hunt, the Somerset representative for the All-Stars match, says he is sorry to think that the annual match won’t continue.

“I’m still ready to go,” Hunt said.

“Charlie Marshall [the former referee], has been calling us asking when we are going to get this game going again. He is one of our big backers, he never missed a game.

“Somerset were the first winners and the last winners. It’s a great miss for the whole community. When we played the games it was like a family environment, we had food afterwards and sat around talking.

“It was just a great event. We definitely didn’t think it was going to go for 25 years, but the interest kept coming and coming. We wanted to honour as many former players as possible.

“We lost Myron Bean whose funeral is tomorrow, so we’ll pay a tribute to him tomorrow. He was one of our organisers, a guy who knew all the older players.”

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Published February 18, 2022 at 7:43 am (Updated February 18, 2022 at 7:43 am)

Plaques containing Veteran all-star players donated to Bermuda Heritage Museum

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