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Parish coach Sergio Goater welcomes format change to Dudley Eve Trophy

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Macquille Walker was the First Division MVP last season after leading Hamilton Parish to promotion as their top scorer (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Sergio Goater, the coach of promoted side Hamilton Parish, welcomes the change of format for the season-opening Dudley Eve Trophy, which will see the two promoted clubs pitting themselves against the top Premier Division teams in the season’s first competition.

Parish, who won the First Division last season, have survival as their top priority for the season but will also be hoping to make an impression in the cup competitions, starting with the Dudley Eve, which will kick off on Labour Day with a double-header at Bernard Park at 3pm and 5pm.

The first match of the season will be on Sunday evening at Goose Gosling Field (8pm) featuring the traditional season-opening Charity Cup between league champions Dandy Town against Devonshire Cougars, the Friendship Trophy winners.

On Monday at Bernard Park, the Dudley Eve group play will begin with Somerset Trojans taking on Boulevard in the opening match and PHC playing X-Roads, both in group B.

Competition continues on Tuesday at Devonshire Recreation Club where Robin Hood will play Hamilton Parish and North Village will meet St George’s at 7pm and 9pm.

The Bermuda Football Association confirmed recently that it will go ahead with delayed plans to change the Dudley Eve format to involve all ten teams.

Parish are in group C with Devonshire Cougars and Robin Hood, with Goater welcoming the chance to be involved in one of the top competitions so early in the season.

“I appreciate that we can start right in,” Goater said of the new look competition, which previously had only the top six clubs from the season before involved.

“It makes it a level playing field and at least we’re playing competitive matches. If we don’t go far in the competition, it’s not a major issue because obviously the league is the most important thing.

“At least it gives us a first-hand look at what we’re up against. I can’t wait.”

Aaron Nelson, the Robin Hood midfielder, has transferred to Hamilton Parish along with team-mate Kion Knights (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Parish have lost two players from last season, winger Tahjae Welch to Paget and centre half Jakio Williams to Boulevard. Some of the players they have added to their squad include Julian Rosser from league champions Dandy Town, Aaron Nelson and Kion Knights from Robin Hood, Matteo Turner from Somerset, Zuri Burgess from relegated Devonshire Colts and Menelik Rudo from Young Men’s Social Club.

“We picked up a centre half in Matteo and a wide player in Knights,” Goater said, referring to the loss of Welch and Williams, a defender and a winger.

“Things are looking good. Training is going well and the guys are doing a lot on their own, getting their fitness up, which is going to be needed in this division. We just had our first practice match.”

Parish’s second match in the group will be against Cougars next Tuesday. No doubt the Parish players are eagerly awaiting the new season, after missing out on promotion in 2021 when the season ended early because of the Covid pandemic.

Top scorers Macquille Walker and Jordan Outerbridge stayed loyal to the club last season and were rewarded with promotion, with Outerbridge’s goals also earning him a call-up to the national team last season.

Walker was voted the First Division’s most valuable player last season after finishing as his club’s top scorer while Goater won the First Division Coach of the Year award.

Walker has spent the summer playing cricket for Bailey’s Bay, making a name for himself as a seam bowler and is likely to also be involved in cricket this weekend with Bay having matches scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

• Vasco have withdrawn again from the BFA league because of a shortage of players.

Vasco, former multiple cup winners in their heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, including winning the Triple Crown in 1997-98, initially withdrew from the league in 2000 before returning for the 2018-19 season. They won three league, five FA Cups, two Friendship Trophy and three Martonmere Cup titles. They also won the Dudley Eve Trophy four times.

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Published September 01, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated September 02, 2022 at 7:46 am)

Parish coach Sergio Goater welcomes format change to Dudley Eve Trophy

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