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North Village celebrate rich history with 65th anniversary Legends Ball

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The first North Village team to win the Triple Crown in 1977-78. Back row: team manager Harold "Doc" Dowling, assistant coach Willie DeGraff, Ralph "Gumbo" Bean, Mel Bean, Wendell "Woolly" Baxter, Colin Paynter, big fan Earlston "Flappers" Smith, Parks Dill, Joe Trott, medic Eva Jean Smith, coach Larry Smith, assistant team manager Wendell Dill. Centre row: Cornell Castle, Arthur Bean, Reginald Wilson, Richard Calderon, Garrett "Punchy" Dill. Front row: Milgrove Romaine, Thornton "Cracks" Robinson, Bill Smith, Robert Calderon, Randy Bean.

What began as a shared vision between two friends to use sports as an outlet for young boys from the Glebe Road area has evolved into one of the most accomplished clubs on island.

In 1957, Nick Flood and talented footballer Llewellyn Wainwright planted the seeds for what eventually became the North Village Community Club.

“They wanted to find an outlet through sports for all the young boys living in the North Village community and hanging out playing football and cricket at Pig’s Field situated in the community right smack in the middle of Glebe Road,” Shervin Dill, the North Village president, said.

The pair tried unsuccessfully at first to enter a team in the former Bermuda Football League featuring all Black players as the island was segregated at the time.

The very first North Village teams, representing Uphill and Downhill, with club president Nick Flood on the extreme left

Undeterred, they kept trying and their perseverance ultimately paid off after eventually being accepted, and thus North Village was born.

“Through persistence they tried again and were finally allowed to enter a team when Mr Rueben Alias [Honorary Life BFA vice-president] found out we were going to have this outstanding ‘A’ team player Llewellyn Wainwright playing in the team,” Dill added.

Founders Flood and Wainwright would serve as the club’s first president and treasurer, with the latter doubling up as a player.

North Village’s first football captain Howard ‘Boxhead’ Romaine is among those being honoured during the club’s 65th Anniversary Legends Ball at Hamilton Princes tonight (Photograph Colin Thompson)

Village announced their arrival on the local football scene in triumphant fashion having beaten Paget Bombardiers 3-1 at White Hill Field on their league debut on October 7, 1957, playing under the captaincy of Howard ‘Boxhead’ Romaine.

Since then, the club has stacked up a remarkable 52 league and cup titles to cement their place among the island’s elite.

1966 North Village team, the first team to win the Friendship Trophy

One particular historic feat Village achieved that Dill cherishes dearly, was being the first winners of the Friendship Trophy competition held during the 1965-66 season after edging Wellington Rovers 1-0 in the final.

The competition came into existence as a result of the Belco Riots in 1965.

“A policeman’s son was injured in those riots pretty badly,” Dill said “Right thereafter he brought a trophy and donated it to the Bermuda Football Association at the time with a view it would go towards injured players and to commemorate friendship, so that such as the Belco Riots would never happen again.

“When we played for it in 1966 we were the first team to win it so that was a very significant achievement for that team.”

Village achieved another milestone after clinching a maiden league title during the 1973-74 season and cemented their place among the island’s elite after claiming the coveted triple crown comprised of the league, FA Cup and Friendship Trophy titles four seasons later.

“We have won many trophies since then and have a rich history being one of the most successful clubs in Bermuda for winning 52 trophies in all competitions,” Dill said.

1966 North Village team meet the Governor ahead of the FA Cup Final, which they lost to Casuals
Llewellyn Wainwright, one of the last surviving founding members of the club and its first treasurer, with Shervin Dill

Under the presidency of Harold ‘Doc’ Dowling, Village broadened their horizons by entering teams in the local softball, netball and cricket leagues.

“We branched out from being just a football club under our new president Harold ‘Doc’ Dowling,” Dill recalled. “We had softball, netball and cricket added to the programmes.

“We have also had major success in those sports and are proud to say that we are the only team in Bermuda to have entered a team in the netball league since its inception.”

North Village are celebrating their 65th anniversary this year and will mark the milestone by recognising the contributions of those who helped to establish the club during a gala banquet at the Hamilton Princess tonight.

“We are happy to reach this milestone and we are going to be celebrating with a Legends Ball in the Harbour View Ballroom at Hamilton Princess,” Dill said.

“We are taking the opportunity because after 65 years we feel it especially appropriate to recognise the contributions that so many of our forefathers have made, so we are actually starting from our first administrators.

“Mr Nick Flood was our first president so we are recognising him for getting us started and Mr Lewellyn Wainwright who was our first treasurer and an outstanding first team footballer as well and he is still with us. He will be 86 and is one of the few remaining administrators.”

Wainwright is among three surviving members of Village’s first football team which includes Wendell Hassell and captain Romaine.

“We will be honouring these people at the Ball certainly for getting us started and happy that they are still among us to smell the roses and appreciate the honour that we are going to be bestowing upon them,” Dill said.

“The theme is really to show our thanks and appreciation for all of the persons that have made a contribution throughout our journey of 65 years.

“We have such a rich history and rich success story as well that I think this is a real appropriate time to do so.”

Members of Village’s 1966 and 1978 football teams will also be recognised for their historic feats.

“There are plenty more like the 1966 team that was the first to win the Friendship Trophy in its inaugural year,” Dill added. “We were a proud bunch to win that trophy so we will be honouring our players from that category as well.

The 1972 North Village netball team

“We also have netball players that have been with us since netball’s inception and highlighting their contribution along with softball. Most of them were duel sports and last but not least the 77-78 triple crown champions.”

Also being honoured is club legend, Shaun Goater, who honed his skills at Village before going on to establish himself playing professionally in England.

The former striker represented several English clubs and is most recognised for his prolific stint with Manchester City, where he notched 84 goals in 184 appearances from 1998 to 2003.

“The highlight will certainly be Shaun Goater,” Dill said. “Most of the people that we are honouring are in the senior citizen bracket and Shaun is just a bit under that.

“But he certainly is our most accomplished success story in terms of coming through the ranks at North Village and what he achieved internationally.”

Going forward, Dill said the club is looking to recognise its 2005-06 triple crown winning team next year.

“Unfortunately we could not do everybody this year,” he said. “We have 45 recipients this year so that challenges us financially to be able to give away so much to so many at the Ball.

“But we have found a way to do it through donations and sponsorship.”

The event begins at 6.30pm and is open to the general public.

Nick Flood, right, the first president of North Village, and Eugene Pearman, the first coach
The very first North Village teams, representing Uphill and Downhill, with club president Nick Flood on the extreme right. On the extreme left is the first team manager, Mr DeGraff
The first North Village netball team to enter league play in 1972
Carol Bean, North Village and Bermuda netballer and softball player, and club president Shervin Dill
The first North Village netball team to enter league play in 1972

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Published October 22, 2022 at 6:34 am (Updated October 22, 2022 at 6:34 am)

North Village celebrate rich history with 65th anniversary Legends Ball

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