Somerset Trojans, Hamilton, Bermuda (Sunday, May 14, 1972) Hamilton National Stadium / Attendance: N/A.
According to Davie Robb's match reports, the time spent in Bermuda before the North American tour began was more of a holiday than anything else. Aberdeen used the time to get the players adjusted to the new time zone they had entered, as well as getting American visas finalised for recent signings Drew Jarvie and Barrie Mitchell. Bermuda's FA had previously called for a ban on international tours in the country, due to the expenses involved. However, a local firm was able to provide financial funding to back the Aberdeen tour. The Dons were invited to a variety of receptions during their stay in Bermuda, including one at a police station where they met a police sergeant who was originally from Stonehaven, another hosted by the Somerset cricket club, and one hosted by the Caledonian Society of Bermuda at the National Stadium where both games (against Somerset and then Devonshire) would be played. The team were well-received by the locals and the ex-pats who were living on the island. The first of the two matches had the Dons up against the four-time Bermudan champions Somerset Cricket Club Trojans. The Trojans last won the league in 1970. The big draw for this match was the appearance of Clyde Best, MBE, who left the country in 1968 to join West Ham United. He returned to Bermuda during the First Division's summer break and was approached by the Bermudan FA to play in the two games (both for his former team - Somerset - and, to the surprise of journalists, the Devonshire Colts as well). The hype surrounding Best's return increased interest, and attendance, for the games. Jet lag wasn't an issue for Aberdeen after having left Scotland two days earlier. In fact, the team started the preseason against Somerset better than they had finished the regular season. After failing to score in their last three regular season games, the Dons were 4-0 up at half time. The scoring blitz started with a Trojan defender putting the ball into his own goal. Next it was Barrie Mitchell scoring in his first match with his home town team after signing from Dunfermline. Tommie McMillan and Joe Harper would also score before half time. The second half was witness to some controversial refereeing: Aberdeen had three goals disallowed, and after the game Davie Robb claimed all three were perfectly legitimate goals. Robb also complained about Somerset's two goals. The referee had given two "soft" penalties which Somerset converted. Unfortunately, the fans got a little too rowdy in the 80th minute. After the home side pulled two goals back, the locals in attendance started throwing bottles onto the pitch, and the players took shelter on the opposite side of the field to protect themselves from the glass raining down upon them. The referee had no choice but to abandon the game, awarding Aberdeen the 4-2 victory. This came after a tough second half which should have seen the score more lopsided in Aberdeen's favour. This match also started a trend that would continue throughout the tour, as injuries began to plague the relatively small squad manager Jimmy Bonthrone brought across the Atlantic: George Buchan suffered a thigh injury and was replaced by Henning Boel, who would start the next game against the Devonshire Colts. The Somerset Trojans would go on to face Celtic, who frequently holidayed in Bermuda. The match was held in early June, with Celtic winning 2-0.
Author: George Pirie