Parkgate FC's double-winning season the best yet, says long-serving chairman

Parkgate FC stalwarts Albert Dudill and Bruce BickerdikeParkgate FC stalwarts Albert Dudill and Bruce Bickerdike
Parkgate FC stalwarts Albert Dudill and Bruce Bickerdike
​PARKGATE chairman Albert Dudill has saluted a double-winning effort that has eclipsed anything in his 50-plus years at the club.

The newly crowned NCEL Division One champions beat Emley to win the League Cup last week for the first time in their history.

The finale at the home of Scunthorpe United was their 57th match of the season that included a late energy-sapping run of 11 matches in 23 days.

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Gate still managed to reel off nine straight wins and put two pieces of silverware in their trophy cabinet.

Parkgate's league and cup trophiesParkgate's league and cup trophies
Parkgate's league and cup trophies

Albert said: “I’ll be honest. At the end of February when I looked at the number of matches we still had to play I thought we’d be lucky to finish in the top five. It was ridiculous.

“The lads took it one by one. They are working people at the end of the day and we had some long night trips that meant them getting in late and then up the next morning for work.

“The way they turned up for all the matches and conducted themselves has been remarkable really. It’s a credit to them and the manager.”

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The 3-0 win over Premier Division champions Emley was earned by a first-half strike from Brandon Whitfield and a second-half brace from Cian Guest in front of nearly 700 spectators.

Double winners Parkgate FC. Picture by Lee HopkinsonDouble winners Parkgate FC. Picture by Lee Hopkinson
Double winners Parkgate FC. Picture by Lee Hopkinson

It ended a fairytale campaign for the club and for Albert and secretary Bruce Bickerdike who have been involved at Parkgate for decades.

It was also reward for the loyalty Albert showed to manager Scott Mason when the team was struggling in the recent past.

Mason became the club’s third manager in 17 days when he took up the post in chaotic circumstances in August 2022 with only a few players. Gate fought a winter-long battle in the lower reaches, gradually piecing together a competitive team to provide a basis for this season’s dramatic turn-around. They finished only four points above the bottom two.

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“To think, we had no team to start that season. Just look where we’ve come from,” said Albert.

“The cup final was a great way to end and I was amazed how many spectators we had there.”

It was Parkgate's first appearance in a League Cup final since 2008, when they lost to Winterton Rangers, and the first NCEL Cup win by any Rotherham area team since Dinnington Town did it 14 years ago.

Added Albert: “I have to say it is the best season in our history when you consider we also got to the semi-final of the County Cup and won the league and also the League Cup against a side who will be playing in Step 4 next year.

"It’s also nice for Parkgate Sports and Social Club overall because it is in a wider area that hasn’t got a lot. It has brought the limelight on it.”

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