EVERGREEN player/manager Paul Rudkin was the toast of his Jubilee side on Sunday – after netting their winner at the age of 54.
It came in the final minute of a 4-3 thriller with Sutton St James.
But unfortunately for Rudkin he still has some way to go to break the record for the oldest goalscorer in Spalding and District Sunday League.
That honour remains with Dave Gregory, who was still banging in the goals as recently as October 2009, aged 58. He netted in league matches that season and scored in his final match for Holbeach St Johns in a Lincs Cup tie.
Gregory, now 60, said: “I know of Paul and it’s nice to hear that he’s still playing and scoring.
“I would think there’s a chance he might carry on playing till the age that I did (in the Sunday League) so there’s a possibility he might beat me.
“I’m still playing for the Peterborough United Veterans side.”
Sunday League chairman Peter Maltby also paid tribute to midfielder Rudkin, who has clocked up an incredible 775 appearances with Jubilee, the side which he helped his father found in 1977 and which Rudkin himself has run since a year later.
Maltby said: “Paul’s an absolute one-off – it’s fantastic what he’s done for the league as a player and with his secretarial contribution.”
Rudkin’s goal was a rare header – there are now just four of them on his CV.
It came from Simon Webb’s oustwinging corner which was headed back into the box by Simon Hall and Rudkin rose unchallenged to nod home.
Earlier, Leigh Boekestyn’s good work had set up Jake Grogan for Jubilee’s opener but St James levelled before the break.
Steve Coles restored the lead, only for a stunning Lee Marshall goal to make it 2-2.
Grogan nudged Jubilee ahead again but St James refused to lie down and equalised for a third time.
And that set the stage for Rudkin’s brilliant finale.
l Gregory, a former Peterborough United striker, played for Wrexham against Holbeach United when the Tigers made it to the first round proper of the FA Cup in 1982 – and later went on to play for the Carter’s Park side.