I am indebted to all the hard work from the late Tony Bath, President of Winchmore Hill Cricket Club, 1983-84, and his wife Jennifer who researched a great deal of the history of the Football Club for the Centenary of the Cricket Club in 1980. This work provided the skeleton, but a skeleton with plenty of meat, to which additional material has been added, plus the events of the two score years following the Cricket Clubâ€™s celebrations.
Additional material was found amongst papers from the home of Alan Bacon, when clearing out following his death, and from the home of Cyril Garbett who, fortunately, never threw anything away! These have provided a mine of information and reports from far distant General Meetings and Committee Minutes.
What is a Club? Historically, clubs occurred in all ancient states of which we have detailed knowledge. Once people started living together in larger groups, there was need for people with a common interest to be able to associate despite having no ties of kinship. Organizations of the sort have existed for many years, as evidenced by Ancient Greek clubs and associations in Ancient Rome.
It is uncertain whether the use of the word "club" originated in its meaning of a knot of people, or from the fact that the members â€œclubbedâ€ together to pay the expenses of their meetings. The oldest English clubs were merely informal periodic gatherings of friends for the purpose of dining or drinking together. Thomas Occleve (in the time of Henry IV) mentions such a club called La Court de Bone Compaignie (the Court of Good Company), of which he was a member. In 1659 John Aubrey wrote, â€œWe now use the word clubbe for a sodality [a society, association, or fraternity of any kind] in a tavern.â€
Of early clubs the most famous was the Bread Street or Friday Street Club, originated by Sir Walter Raleigh, and meeting at the Mermaid Tavern. William Shakespeare, John Selden, John Donne, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont were among the members. Another such club, supposedly founded by Ben Jonson, was that which met at the Devil Tavern near Temple Bar, also in London.
The word â€œclub,â€ in the sense of an association to promote good-fellowship and social intercourse, became common in England at the time of Tatler and The Spectator (1709â€“1712). With the introduction of coffee-drinking in the middle of the 17th century, clubs entered on a more permanent phase. The coffee houses of the later Stuart period are the real originals of the modern clubhouse. The clubs of the late 17th and early 18th century type resembled their Tudor forerunners in being oftenest associations solely for conviviality or literary coteries. But many were confessedly political, e.g. The Rota, or Coffee Club (1659), a debating society for the spread of republican ideas, broken up at the Restoration in 1660, the Calves Head Club (c.1693) and the Green Ribbon Club (1675). The characteristics of all these clubs were:
i) No permanent financial bond between the members, each manâ€™s liability ending for the time being when he had paid his â€œscoreâ€ after the meal.
ii) No permanent clubhouse, though each clique tended to make some special coffee house or tavern their headquarters.
These coffee-house clubs soon became hotbeds of political scandal-mongering and intriguing, and in 1675 King Charles II issued a proclamation which ran: â€œHis Majesty hath thought fit and necessary that coffee houses be (for the future) put down and suppressed,â€ because â€œin such houses divers false, malicious and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad to the Defamation of his Majestyâ€™s Government and to the Disturbance of Peace and Quiet of the Realm.â€ So unpopular was this proclamation that it was almost instantly found necessary to withdraw it, and by Anneâ€™s reign the coffee-house club was a feature of Englandâ€™s social life.
During the 18th and 19th Centuries, the idea of the club developed in two directions. One was of a permanent institution with a fixed clubhouse. The London coffeehouse clubs in increasing their members absorbed the whole accommodation of the coffeehouse or tavern where they held their meetings, and this became the clubhouse, often retaining the name of the original innkeeper, e.g. White's, Brooks's, Arthur's, and Boodle's. These still exist today as the famous gentlemen's clubs.
The peripatetic lifestyle of the 18th and 19th century middle classes also drove the development of more residential clubs, which had bedrooms and other facilities. Military and naval officers, lawyers, judges, members of Parliament and government officials tended to have an irregular presence in the major cities of the Empire, particularly London, spending perhaps a few months there before moving on for a prolonged period and then returning. Especially when this presence did not coincide with the Season, a permanent establishment in the city (i.e., a house owned or rented, with the requisite staff), or the opening of a townhouse (generally shuttered outside the season) was inconvenient or uneconomic, while hotels were rare and socially declasee. Clubbing with a number of like-minded friends to secure a large shared house with a manager was therefore a convenient solution.
The other sort of clubs meet occasionally or periodically and often have no clubhouse, but exist primarily for some specific object. Such are the many purely athletic, sports and pastimes clubs, the Alpine, chess, yacht and motor clubs. Also there are literary clubs, musical and art clubs, publishing clubs; and the name of â€œclubâ€ has been annexed by a large group of associations which fall between the club proper and mere friendly societies, of a purely periodic and temporary nature, such as slate, goose and Christmas clubs, which do not need to be registered under the Friendly Societies Act.
The institution of the gentleman's club has spread all over the English-speaking world. Many of those who energised the Scottish Enlightenment were members of the Poker Club in Edinburgh. In the United States clubs were first established after the War of Independence. One of the first was the Hoboken Turtle Club (1797), which still survived as of 1911.
The earliest clubs on the European continent were of a political nature. These in 1848 were repressed in Austria and Germany, and later clubs of Berlin and Vienna were mere replicas of their English prototypes. In France, where the term cercle is most usual, the first was Le Club Politique (1782), and during the French Revolution such associations proved important political forces. Of the purely social clubs in Paris the most notable were the Jockey-Club de Paris (1833) and the Cercle de la Rue Royale.
Types of clubs
These are activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of classes. Such clubs may fall outside the normal curriculum of school or university education or, as in the case of subject matter clubs (e.g. student chapters of professional societies), may supplement the curriculum through informal meetings and professional mentoring.
These organizations are partly social, partly professional in nature and provide professionals with opportunities for advanced education, presentations on current research, business contacts, public advocacy for the profession and other advantages. Examples of these groups include medical associations, scientific societies, and bar associations. Professional societies frequently have layers of organization, with regional, national and international levels. The local chapters generally meet more often and often include advanced students unable to attend national meetings.
A service club is a type of voluntary organization where members meet regularly for social outings and to perform charitable works either by direct hands-on efforts or by raising money for other organizations.
Some social clubs are organized around competitive games, such as chess and bridge. Other clubs are designed to encourage membership of certain social classes. Those made up of the elite are best known as gentlemen's clubs (not to be confused with strip clubs) and country clubs (though these also have an athletic function, see below). Less elitist, but still in some cases exclusive, are working men's clubs. Clubs restricted to either officers or enlisted men exist on military bases.
The modern gentlemen's club, sometimes proprietary, i.e. owned by an individual or private syndicate, but more frequently owned by the members who delegate to a committee the management of its affairs, first reached its highest development in London, where the district of St. James's has long been known as â€œClublandâ€. Current London clubs include Soho's Groucho Club, which opened in 1985 as "the antidote to the traditional club." In this spirit, the club was named for Groucho Marx because of his famous remark that he would not wish to join any club that would have him as a member.
Social activities clubs
Social activities clubs are a modern combination of several other types of clubs and reflect todayâ€™s more eclectic and varied society. These clubs are centered around the activities available to the club members in the city or area in which the club is located. Because the purpose of these clubs is split between general social interaction and taking part in the events themselves, clubs tend to have more single members than married ones; some clubs restrict their membership to one of the other, and some are for gays and lesbians.
Membership can be limited or open to the general public, as can the events. Most clubs have a limited membership based upon specific criteria, and limit the events to members to increase the security of the members, thus creating an increased sense of camaraderie and belonging. Social activities clubs can be for profit or not for profit, and some are a mix of the two (a for-profit club with a non-profit charitable arm, for instance). The Inter-Varsity Club (IVC) is the biggest British non-profit one.
Country clubs, athletic clubs, and sports clubs
There are two types of athletic and sports clubs, those organized for sporting participants (which include athletic clubs and country clubs), and those primarily for spectator fans of a team.
Athletic and country clubs offer one or more recreational sports facilities to their members. Such clubs may also offer social activities and facilities, and some members may join primarily to take advantage of the social opportunities. Country clubs offer a variety of recreational sports facilities to its members and are usually located in suburban or rural areas. Most country clubs have golf. Swimming pools, tennis courts, polo grounds and exercise facilities are also common. Country clubs usually provide dining facilities to their members and guests, and frequently host catered events like weddings. Similar clubs in urban areas are often called athletic clubs. These clubs often feature indoor sports, such as indoor tennis, squash, basketball, boxing, and exercise facilities.
Members of sports clubs that support a team can be sports amateurs -- groups who meet to practice a sport, as for example in most cycling clubs -- or professionals -- football clubs consist of well-paid team members and thousands of supporters. A sports club can thus comprise participants (not necessarily competitors) or spectator fans, or both.
Some organizations exist with a mismatch between name and function. The Jockey Club is not a club for jockeys, but rather exists to regulate the sport of horseracing; the Marylebone Cricket Club was until recently the regulatory body of cricket, and so on.
Sports club should not be confused with gyms and health clubs, which also can be for members only.
What is a Club then? It would appear that Winchmore Hill Football Club fits in to many of the aforementioned categories. We are social, we enjoy a drink, we play our sport and, of course, there is much debate in the bar following the match. Long may this continueâ€¦
[source â€“ Wikipedia]
Chapter One - The Beinning
Traditionally, we celebrate the founding of the Football Club in 1920, a self-managing Section of the Cricket Club. However, a Winchmore Hill Village Football Club was in fact formed in September 1898 under the Presidency of Mr. W.T. Paulin and had its ground in Middle Lane (Station Road). Although entirely a separate organisation, members of the Cricket Club played for them. To mention some - the Duck brothers, H.J. was the goalkeeper, Lowden and London. They seem to have had their financial difficulties and even lost their ground in 1903 'in consequence of building operations', but were able with the help of the President and Vice Presidents, to overcome their difficulties and secure a new pitch in Green Lanes near Green Dragon Lane. Here, they erected a fine pavilion for the 1903/04 Season. They played continuously until the 1913/14 Season, when they were in the Second Division of the North London League. It is assumed, in the absence of records that, in common with other Clubs, they ceased to exist at the outbreak of the Great War in 1914.
Towards the end of Season 1919/20 pre war cricket members, F.G. (Bill) Lavers and J. (Jim) Follett, returned to the Club and were able to interest enough prospective members to field a scratch side and in fact played seven games (the first of which was against Latymer Old Boys) on a wandering basis. It was with this background that a football general meeting was held on 16 May 1920 at St. Paul's Institute, when it was decided upon the constitution of the Winchmore Hill Football Club and to accept the Cricket Club's generous offer of a pitch at a rental of Â£15. This was situated at the top of the ground to the rear of the pavilion and was in fact the 1st XI pitch for the next 25 years.
In Season 1920/21 two elevens were run and the Club had 33 playing and 18 non-playing members. Friendly games, mainly in North London were arranged. The First XI played twenty-four matches, winning seventeen, drawing two and losing five; scoring 87 goals and conceding just 20. The Second XI played nineteen, winning eleven, drawing one and losing seven; scoring 65 goals against 42.
This excellent performance and a balance now of Â£13 after all expenses had been paid were due in particular to the efforts of Bill Lavers (Chairman and 1st XI Captain), Jim Follett (Treasurer), George Burgoyne (Secretary) and Peter Calkin (Committee).
For the following Season 1921/22, having become a self-managing Section of the Cricket Club, they applied for League status. An offer to participate in the Northern Suburban League was rejected but both teams entered the Middlesex County Amateur League and the 1st XI the County Amateur Charity Cup. The 2nd XI had a moderate Season but the 1st XI won both the League and the Cup. At the start of the Season the Club colours were fixed as white shirts, blue knickers and Club stockings. Changing arrangements were Spartan. The Cricket Club's second small pavilion was used by the Football Club whilst visiting teams were housed in round corrugated iron sheds. The rent for this season was Â£25, raised to Â£30 the following season at the time of the opening of the new pavilion.
Season 1922/23 saw the 1st XI entered in 'B' Division of the Southern Olympian League and the A.F.A. Senior Cup, whilst the 2nd XI remained in the County Amateur League and entered the A.F.A. Junior Cup. The loss of three or four of their best players, the stronger opposition and end of season slackness produced a poor result. The Club was faced with ten months' notice to quit from the Parent Club, but fortunately this was soon withdrawn, for in the next Season the 1st XI won 'B' Division of the Southern Olympian League and the 2nd XI also improved.
After a bad start, the 1st XI secured 19 points in 16 games in the Premier Division, S.O.L. in Season 1924/25.
After a moderate season in 1925/26 the Club revived under the Captaincy of Bill Gower, who was fortunate in the arrival of excellent players such as Laurie Punchard, Ted Boden and Frank Smith. In 1926/27 the 1st XI finished 3rd in the S.O.L. which included Lensbury, Catford Wanderers, London Welsh, Chingford and Watford Amateurs, and they won the Middlesex A.F.A. Senior Cup.
The 1st XI won the League in 1927/28 and were runners-up in 1928/29 during which year they were also runners-up in the Middlesex A.F.A. Senior Cup, losing to Broomfield 2 â€“ 4.
This run of success under Gower and Smith led to the election of the 1st and 2nd XIs to Division III Senior and Junior of the Southern Amateur League and to the formation of a 3rd XI which played on the second pitch (today's main pitch) that now became necessary.
Chapter Two - Into the Southern Amateur League
In 1928/29, their first season in the new competition, the 1st XI were runners-up and were promoted to Division II, while the 2nd XI were also promoted when they won Division III Junior Section in 1930/31.
The First XI finished their first season in the Second Division in 6th Place whilst the Reserves finished in 7th place. Ipswich Town were Champions of the Southern Amateur League.
With expanding membership, the 3rd XI entered Division III of the Nemean League in 1930, and a 4th XI was formed, entering Division V of the same League. The Club continued without further success in the same competitions for the next few seasons. The 1st XI competed in the A.F.A. Senior and Middlesex Senior Cups and the 2nd XI for the Junior Cups.
During these seasons much was done to improve the amenities of the Club. The bar being installed in the Pavilion brought to the Cricket Club profits which had previously gone to the 'Green Dragon' and 'Kings Head'. Baths were given by Stan Pryke and others.
The condition of the playing pitches was of constant concern. In 1930 the 1st XI pitch was made more level though the main hummock could not be removed and a drainage scheme was carried out in co-operation with the parent Club. In 1932 a corrugated iron stand was erected backing on to the New River.
Season 1936/37 saw the Club running five teams. Whereas the first four sides were in Leagues, the fifth eleven relied on friendlies. The Club entered the first three sides in their respective A.F.A. Senior, Junior and Minor Cups while the 1st and 2nd XIs also entered the Middlesex Senior and Junior Cups. A special feature was made toward Training for this season on the basis that:
'a side that trains is fit not fat,
it last the pace much longer,
lean and keen, it's quickly seen,
it goes from strong to stronger'
Various items of equipment were available such a skipping ropes and a medicine ball, whilst two white balls were available for kicking and heading with the aid of car headlights. This it was hoped that players would walk through a 90 minute game regretting the final whistle!
The results of matches in the 1937/38 Season were disappointing although the keenness of a few at training, and the size and youth of the playing membership, indicated that the Club was still very much alive. Rounding off this season, however, a successful and enjoyable first Easter Tour was arranged. Some 18 members taking part, playing three matches, against Christchurch, R.A.F. Calshot and Wimborne.
The last full season before the war, 1938/39, saw a noticeable improvement in play following the appointment of Mr. Len Thompson as coach. In their respective Divisions of the S.A.L., the 1st and 2nd XI results were much improved. The 3rd and 4th XIs continued in the Divisions of the Nemean League. A second successful Easter Tour was again played in the Bournemouth area.
Finally, it is necessary to refer to the 'Winchmore Hill Football Chat', a bulletin of 'Results, Reports, League Positions, Social and not too Personal News'. First published in October 1936 by George Deacock, with two and sometimes three issues a Season, it continued for 20 years taking in Cricket, Tennis and Forces News as well throughout the 1939-45 war years. In 1937 a history of the first 16 years of the Football Club appeared and, with subsequent editions, it has been possible to place this history on record. No doubt today's members will be interested in the following extract from the 'Chat' of February 1938:
Sausage and mash was inaugurated at 6pm on January 15th. For three weeks we have sold out the small number of 15 portions which is all that we can cook with the present limited utensils. With members' continued support we hope to convince the Cricket Club of the need for a Canteen Cooker.
The new bath geysers are working most satisfactorily. They enable the baths to be filled in half the time the old geysers took and they deliver water at a higher temperature. Hence the happy spectacle of members waggling well-boiled toes too hastily thrust into the cauldron.
Chapter Three - The War Years, 1939-1945
With the outbreak of the Second World War the Southern Amateur League, together with other competitions, was suspended for the duration. During these years friendly matches were played of which there are very little records.
In common with most Clubs, the war caused many changes in the personnel among officials and members, not the least being the evacuation of Mr. Fred Huson (Honorary Secretary). This office was taken over by Mr. O.C. Dupont during 1940. He had a fatherly interest in Cricket and Tennis, and continued until the Annual General Meeting of March 1947. The Chairmanship of the Club was undertaken by Mr. James North who retained this office until the Annual General Meeting of March 1946. To both these gentlemen the Club owes a deep debt of gratitude for their indefatigable efforts throughout the War and almost continuous presence on the Ground. Mention should also be made of the very able general administrative assistance given by Mr. J. Jupp, Mr. E.O. Welsford, Mr. F.G. Bowles and the financial adviser and auditor throughout the war years, Mr. H.R. Taylor.
A special word of thanks is due to Mr. George Deacock, who, a pre-war Life Member with close associations both in playing and administration of the Cricket and football Sections since 1922, continued to provide the Club with Printing and Stationery.
Within a year of the outbreak of hostilities, no less than 70 members from all Sections were serving in H.M. Forces. By 1942 it was 122 with 38 serving overseas and by 1944 the total had reached 190 which did not include those evacuated for official or business reasons. It is fitting to mention those who made the supreme sacrifice, whether on the battlefield or through any other cause is immaterial, because it was all in the one great cause.
Throughout the war, many Service and evacuated Members visited the Club and were not only welcomed with great pleasure, but were offered games in matches during their leave. The Ground and Pavilion became a meeting place for serving members to use as opportunity arose.
As to the Ground itself, improvements to it and the equipment were impossible to effect. In the autumn of 1940, the Ground like many other in North London did not escape damage, for no less than four large craters stopped all play for a period. Not one of these was on either of the cricket tables or tennis courts fortunately, but the debris caused considerable trouble in addition to the filling up of the craters. Some damage was sustained to the scorebox, Pavilion and fencing. The Groundsman, Mr. H. Cooper, became ill during the Winter of 1944/45 and was unable to continue, but not before, with little assistance, he had done yeoman service under the direction of Mr. F.H. Bowles. The best possible use was made of the existing equipment and the results achieved were most creditable. Temporary repairs to fencing were effected to prevent the Ground becoming a public park. In the end the work was eased by the acquisition in 1945 of a three-gang mower with a box tractor.
At a meeting in September 1939 to consider how best to combat the emergency into which they had been thrown it was resolved 'to endeavour to carry on as far as is humanly possible'. A quote from 'The Chat' of December 1939 reporting the meeting is significant. It was decided:
â€¢ Firstly â€“ to provide a game of Football for our lads who are serving King and Country, whenever they found themselves on leave.
â€¢ Secondly â€“ to attempt to fulfil our obligation to the Parent Club
â€¢ Thirdly â€“ to provide an opportunity for our many friends to witness a game, and share in the amenities of the Cub House, and
â€¢ Lastly â€“ to keep, if possible, in existence the structure o which to build a more flourishing Club when the present emergency is over, and happier time once more prevail.
The implementation of the first resolution was made possible by the co-operation of old friends, Southgate Wanderers, whose ground in Ladysmith Road, Enfield, had been commandeered and whose members joined in a body. As a result the Club was able to run two sides fairly comfortably for the duration. In Season 1941/42 some 57 matches were played and results were such that they would wish for nothing better in normal times. By the next Season only the young and old were available, but in fact 61 games were played.
Season 1944/45 however; saw an increase in membership and the running of a third eleven. For the second season running, the 1st XI won the Wood Green and Southgate Hospital Cup.
The Wood Green & Southgate Hospital Cup Final was reported in the Football Chat. "Our last game of the season was staged at Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground when we met Mayfield on the Broomfield pitch in the final of the Wood Green Cup. Jim Keenan was not available and so Geoffrey Birch moved into the centre forward berth and Frank Thompson was brought in at inside left. Our opponents were unfortunate in finding us right on top of our form and we eventually ran out easy winners, 9-0, Birch getting a hat-trick. Each member of our side played a strong constructive game and no one falls to be singled out for special mention except perhaps Noel Barber who netted the all important first goal be collecting a ball from a goalmouth melee and confidently slipping it into the corner of the net, well wide of a helpless goalkeeper, and who shortly after scored a really excellent goal with a hard left foot drive which again gave the keeper no chance. As may well be imagined, there were high jinks back at the Club that evening, at which we were very happy to have the Mayfield players, during which a modicum of gin was supped from the Cup and much beer from glasses.
We have thus had a most successful season on the field, but what is more, the eleven has been composed of a grand set of chaps who have not only blended thoroughly in the dressing room, which factor has to no small extent contributed to the playing success, but also (and this is most important!) in the bar."
In common with the Cricket Club, the footballers arranged Charity matches. These included successive games with Broomfield in aid of the crew of H.M.S. Ferndale and the Southgate P.O.W. Relatives Association Barclays Bank, Royal Netherlands Navy and a British Empire XI provided the opposition in aid of the above Association and the British Red Cross.
With the coming of V.E. Day the 'Chat' appropriately reported in May 1945 that the first three of their tasks set in 1939 had been accomplished. Six Seasons of war-time football had been played at Ford's Grove. There remained their final task to guide the Club through the transitional period and take their place among the leaders in A.F.A. Football. The resumption of the Southern Amateur League next Season was anticipated and it was hoped that many old players would rejoin and a steady stream of newcomers would continue.
In the summer of 1940, it was decided by Members and Friends to start a 'Club Comforts Fund' for those serving with H.M. Forces with the object of keeping them in touch with the Club and its activities. A special Committee was set up consisting of the Chairman of the parent Club, Mr. North, Mrs. Welsford, Mrs. Hancock and Mr. Jupp to undertake is administration. Funds were obtained through various channels, collecting boxes in the Pavilion, penny a week from Members, fortnightly whist drives, proceeds from horticultural and flower shows and donations. This enabled periodic parcels of cigarettes, woollen socks and gloves knitted by members, toilet requisites and greetings cards to be sent to all Members throughout the war years. A 'Bulletin' and 'The Chat' was also circulated. One particular item was a directory with addresses of all Members overseas. This gave rise to many opportunities for Members to get into touch with one another in distant parts, and often interesting meeting took place. At the end of five years it was gratifying to record the beginning of demobilisation though conscription continued, but the Fund functioned for some two years after the end of hostilities. Grateful thanks were recorded by returning members, not only for the 'goody' parcels but for the news from home. Much appreciation was expressed to the Committee for its work and in particular to Mrs. O. Hancock, the Honorary Secretary, for her untiring efforts in obtaining and circulating information and much desired creature comforts.
Finally, the Social side of the Club was continued with unabated enthusiasm in spite of blackout difficulties. It was a very rare occurrence that on a Saturday evening there was 'nothing doing'. Dances with a small band were held, Concerts and Groundsman's Day with side shows helped towards success in this direction. The bulk of this work throughout the war years was undertaken by the ladies of the Tennis Section who provided refreshments, coping admirably with food rationing.
To conclude on the war-time activities of the Club it must be said that it is impossible to mention everyone, but to all officers and Members of all Sections who gave their time and help in these difficult days, the Club is indeed grateful.
Chapter Four - The Purple Patch
With the advent of the first peace-time Season, 1946 found the Club poised and anxious to return to normality as soon as possible. The difficulties of those who had nobly kept things going during the War years were amply appreciated.
Membership had been a cause for concern but was on the increase and the return of many members was welcomed. The total income for the Club of just over Â£1000 showed a profit against expenditure. However, it was clear that greatly increased costs were going to have to be met.
The first essential to the success of the Club was recognised as the improvement and maintenance of the playing surfaces. The Pavilion interior and exterior required restoration and repairs were needed to the roof. This all entailed more labour at a higher rate of wages, and materials, though in short supply and available, at steadily increasing prices. With this background it is pleasing to record that the efforts of the groundstaff during successive Seasons achieved excellent results.
A factor which retained the atmosphere of war-time football was the protracted period of Demobilisation after the world technically became at peace in August 1945. Several old members returned, but by and large many members were still absent, and the great re-union anticipated seemed still far off. An effort was made to return to peace time conditions in re-starting the Southern Amateur League for the 1945-46 Season. Unfortunately only 14 Clubs were able to take part, making the Competition only a shadow of its former self, with two Sections of eight and six Clubs respectively. Winchmore Hill found themselves in the First Division for the first time. The football was not quite up to standard but good enough to give the Hill a fair showing with three full sides every week. The First XI finished in 6th place and were relegated. There are no records available for the Reserves and 3rd XIs.
There never was such a Season as 1946/47. Despite deplorable weather with continuous rain in the months of November and December to be followed by snow and ice, the Season was, in achievement, the Club's best on record.
Before the activities of the weather began, the 1st XI pitch was moved from the original top pitch to the position it roughly occupies today across the centre of the ground. The top pitch was to remain in use for the lower sides. The Hill's 1st and Reserve sides resumed their pre-war membership of Division II of their respective Leagues in the SAL while the 3rd XI competed in Division III of the Nemean League. A 4th XI played a programme of friendly matches.
Having set the scene therefore, it is pleasing to record that both 1st and 2nd XIs won their leagues, securing promotion to Division I SAL Senior and Reserve Sections for the first time in 27 years membership of the SAL. The 3rd XI finished fourth out of 10 clubs in their Division of the Nemean League and the 4th XI achieved moderate success in a programme of 17 friendly matches. Out of a possible 36 points the 1st XI obtained 32 and the 2nd XI 26 out of 32.
At the end of the 1947/48 Season, the 1st XI created a record by winning the League Championship at the first attempt. The Reserves also enjoyed a good season, finishing runners up to Alexandra Park, finishing just two points behind them. The Third XI were now playing in the Nemean League Minor Division One and the Fourth Team in Minor Division Two
In 1948 a Ground Development Committee produced a five year plan and recommendations for the development of the Club. It included the construction of a bowling green and the formation of a Bowls Section, the provision of additional tennis courts, a further football pitch, resiting of the car park, and the preparation of permanent practice wickets and structural alterations to the Pavilion.
Though funds have never been available to implement the bowling green proposal, a third football pitch was made available for the 1948/49 Season at the lower part of Ford's Grove side of the ground. In 1949 the old car park at the rear of the pavilion was turfed over to make it possible for the main football pitch to be brought nearer the pavilion, and a much improved car park was constructed at the Ford's Grove/Firs Lane corner of the ground. Six new shower baths were installed and the men's dressing accommodation enlarged.
The Club successfully defended their Champions Title in 1948/49 and the Reserves again finished runners up, this time to Catford Wanderers, being four points behind the winners.
The Third Team entered the SAL for the first time and played in the newly formed Third Team Section, finishing 5th in Division One. The SAL also introduced a Fourth Team Section, comprising of one division and with Winchmore Hill finishing in 8th place
In the 1949-50 season, the First XI finished as runners up to Catford Wanderers, ending the season five points behind the Champions. The Reserves finished 4th in a tight battle with only 7 points dividing the top seven places. The 3rd XI finished 3rd and the 4th XI 4th.
The need for a new constitution had been apparent for some time. With the growth of the Club, the reformation of the Women's Hockey Section, and the suggestion that the Football Club should cease to be a Self-Managing Section, the opportunity was taken to compile a completely new constitution, comprising Fundamental and General Rules and Rules for each Section.
At the Annual General Meeting of the parent Club held on 29 January 1950, the new Rules were approved and the Football Section became a Section of the parent Club with effect from 1 October 1950, thus enjoying equal status with the Cricket and other Sections.
During the immediate post-war years a Sub Committee consisting of representatives of Cricket, Tennis and Football, had been considering the form of a suitable and permanent War Memorial to the memory of Club Members who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
On the 14 October 1951, a Service of Remembrance, held in the Club Pavilion, was conducted by the Rev. B.E.T. Janz, M.A., a member of the Southgate Cricket club, at which a Roll of Honour was unveiled by Mr. J. North, Chairman of the Club from 1939-1946, who delivered a short address. The Service was attended by a large congregation of members, friends and relatives. The Roll of Honour hangs in the Pavilion Lounge. Subsequently, after members had constructed the Veranda on the Ford's Grove side of the Pavilion, it was decided that this should be regarded as the permanent Memorial, and a plaque was placed upon it to that effect.
In 1950/51 the First XI won the Championship for the third time in four Seasons, which was followed by further title wins in 1951/52, 1954/55 and 1955/56. Six times Champions in nine Seasons. With this success came representative recognition by selection of J. Pearl, A. Bailey, L. Lambert and C. Burrett for the A.F.A. with many more for the SAL. During these years, the Captaincy passed from Gus Gowers 1946/48, to Alec Lambert 1948/52, Charles Burrett 1952/54, Ian Bedford 1954 and because of illness to Ian, first to Charles Burrett and then to Howard Felton in 1955/56.
An extra 5th XI became the regular 6th XI in 1950/51, when the 5th XI entered the SAL. There were times in 1952/53 and 1953/54 when seven sides took the field, such was the strength of the membership. The depth of playing strength of the Cub at the end of the 1955/56 Season is reflected in the final League positions, for, in addition to 1st XI achievements, the Reserves were champions of their League in 1953/54 and were runners-up in 1955/56 when the 3rd and 5th XIs headed their Leagues.
AFA Senior Cup results saw the Club reach the semi-finals in 1948/49, 1950/51 and 1954/55 and the Final in three consecutive Seasons. In 1951/52 losing to Norsemen at Leyton Orient, in 1952/53 against HMS Daedalus with whom they drew 0-0 after extra time, at the ground of the now Football League Club, Wimbledon (now MK Dons), and shared the cup, and in 1953/54 losing to Southgate Olympic at Barnet. After all these years of endeavour it was not to be until the end of the 1959/60 Season that this Cup was eventually won outright (against Cuaco 1-0).
In 1957 a sub-committee of all Sections produced a Badge in the Club colours of silver, mauve and black. At the suggestion of Don Wragg, it incorporated Deer which links the Club with the Arms of its own Borough of Southgate (now incorporated in the London Borough of Enfield), as well as the great Cedar Tree overlooking the front of the Ground, and symbol of the New River suggestive of 'The Paulin Ground'. The Latin motto, 'Amicitia Per Ludos' which may be translated as 'Friendship through Sport' was added by Gus Gowers.
The Easter Tours, recommenced at the end of 1951/52 with a return to Wimborne for some years, but since then the Club has made itself known in the Midlands, East Anglia and the South Coast. Emphasis has always been to enjoy good company, much refreshment with not a little successful football.
Chapter Five - The Swinging Sixties
The years 1962/63 will long be remembered for their adverse weather conditions. The late frosts and a damp Summer of 1962 built up to a cold and snow laden Winter of early 1963, when from Boxing Day till early April, Winter sports were sadly curtailed. In fact the Club was closed altogether until Saturday 9 February.
With the loss of rent from the Collegiate School, which closed in 1964, attention was turned to other lettings, extending special efforts and social activities, not to mention the opening of the Bar on Sundays in summer and winter at midday and evening. The Brewers, at this time, being very helpful in providing new tables and chairs for members' comfort. By 1970 the Bar takings had exceeded the Â£7000 mark giving a net profit of just under Â£2000 for the year. Special efforts enabled a surplus of income over expenditure to be shown, and the Club finances in a generally healthy state with an Accumulated Fund of over Â£1000. During this time both ground and pavilion received attention as required and further drainage and extension to water supplies were carried out.
Apart from winning the AFA Senior Cup in 1959/60 the 1st and Reserve sides were relegated, and it was not until the late 60s that the Club fully recovered. In 1960/61, the Reserves, having been relegated at the end of the previous season, regained their Division 1 status by being promoted at the first attempt. However, the 1st XI were relegated in 1963/64 but three years later saw them back in the 1st Division for the 1967/68 Season which was Championship year indeed. They promptly won the Championship and were joined in success by the 3rd, 4th and 5th XIs who also won their Leagues, and for good measure by the 6th XI who were runners up in theirs. The reserves were again relegated at the end of 1966/67, but were back to the 1st Division in 1968/69.
The Golden Jubilee Season 1969/70 was one of which all could be justly proud. The 1st XI after an excellent start, dropped points in their later games and eventually finished in third place. The Reserves were champions for the second successive Season. The 3rd XI were runners-up, the 4th XI finished in third position in their League and were narrowly defeated in the semi-final of the Novets Cup, while the 5th XI were also third. The 6th XI having lost only one League game, were another side to be League Champions. The 7th XI upheld the Cub's record of high League positions, finishing third.
A Dinner was held at The Press Club when founder members, Messrs. F.G. Lavers, the Club's first Captain, W. Heald, H.H. Gower and J. Follett, the first Treasurer, honoured the Football Club with their presence. Some representative honours were gained during these years by the selection of G. Wilson, D. Carter, M. Fuzedale and P. Knight for the AFA who were also joined by several others in gaining places in the SAL League side.
Features worthy of note included a Junior Section for U16 and U18 for five years from 1958 to 1963. Training Courses at Winchmore Hill School and the snows of early 1963 when the League programme had to be cancelled. The report of 1963/64 recorded that 'the 5th XI under T. Watson were Champions of the League having been alternately cajoled and goaded to victory. Artistry, pattern weaving and guile had no place in this rugged often ruthless but highly successful campaign'. The 6th and 7th XIs entered the SAL in 1960/61 and 1967/68 respectively. Finally 1965/66 saw the commencement of Sunday League football and 1968/69 the start of the annual five-a-side competition.
Chapter Six - Consolidation
The 70s saw seven League sides fielded each week increased to eight from 1976/77. All began satisfactorily with creditable League positions, particularly in the case of the lower sides.
The AFA Minor Cup was won for the first time in 1970/71. However, the 1st XI had a mixed bag of results for the first five Seasons of the decade and respectability in a safe position or midway in the League was disappointing.
The Reserves lost their way and had a Season in the lower Division but came back to win the League and narrowly miss a League and Cup double in 1974/75. Likewise the other sides had indifferent Seasons which did not reflect a standard expected of a Club with such numerical support.
The second half of the decade saw the 1st XI maintain a mid-table or above position. The Reserves had another spell in the lower Division but soon returned. The lower elevens fortunes again fluctuated and a variety of adjectives were used to describe their results.
Much good fellowship and Club loyalty is abundant but success in a thriving Club is elusive. Efforts to improve the playing strength are being made and to encourage young players to join and remain with the Club, a Youth policy was implemented from Season 1977/78 with the introduction of two youth sides.
The Annual Club Supper at the end of each Season, sometimes referred to as the zenith or nadir, (whichever way you choose to look at it) has been held in the Pavilion since the War except for half a dozen years in the early 60s when the venues were Selbourne Hall and the 'Green Dragon'. Always well attended by past and present members and a goodly sprinkling of guests from other Clubs, and those who can remember them have happy memories of these occasions.
(Still composing more!)
Cuaco 0 Winchmore Hill 1
AFA Senior Cup Final
2 April 1960
at Westminster Bank FC, Norbury
Fourth AFA final in post-war seasons
Winchmore Hill went to the Westminster Bank ground at Norbury on Saturday, expecting a hard tussle for the AFA Senior Cup. They were not disappointed, and a large crowd saw a thrilling game which could have gone either way any time during the ninety minutes.
A single goal, scored by Carter in the second half, gave Hill victory for the first time in this competition although it was their fourth final since the war.
Cuaco were first to attack but as Hill warmed up both sides went close. Cuaco missed one clear chance while at the other end Hill nearly scored when the goalkeeper fumbled.
Second half play was also very even. Gibbs, in the Winchmore goal, made two remarkable recoveries and Carter and Rogers both missed fairly easy chances. Callwood hit the bar from Baileyâ€™s pass and it looked as if neither side would score.
With five minutes to go, Hardman put in a long shot and the Cuaco goalkeeper, apparently thinking it would pass outside, left it alone. It rebounded from the post and Carter was there to push it home to win the trophy for the Hill.
Winchmore Hill: Ken Gibbs, John Tait, Mike Fusedale, Howard Felton, Charlie Burrett, John Hardman, David Callwood, Jack Taylor, David Carter, Lionel Rogers, Arthur Bailey
Cuaco: M. Allingham, K. Moss, P. Robson, R. Spalding, J. Wheeler, Derek Crotty , D. McKinley, Charlie Crowhurst, C. Allum, Bert Cranch, J. Ewing.
(Derek Crotty, Cuaco, later joined Winchmore Hill and was captain of the League winning side in 1967-68)
Winchmore Hill 1 Bromleian Sports 0
Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup Final
at Old Owens FC
Saturday 5th April
Report from Neil Hurst
"Believe in yourself and in your plan.
Say not I cannot, but I can.
The prizes in life we fail to win,
only if we doubt the power within" (Anon)
The writing was on the wall for all to see in the dressing room on Saturday but words count for little unless you give them a meaning. After a gripping cup final that had everything good, bad, ugly and simply stunning, the 1st XI wrote themselves into the pages of history and now rightfully take their place on the club's legendary 'Wall of Fame'. After 43 years of hurt, Winchmore Hill are the kings of amateur football.
It has been a truly epic journey that has seen us overcome many obstacles. Thumping wins away at Old Vaughanians, Brentham and HAC before Christmas saw us reach previously unchartered territory and for those of you that believe in fate, cast your minds back to January 11th this year, a day when Hill, seemingly dead and buried, scored twice in the last five minutes at South Bank Cuaco to keep the cup dream alive. Further victories over Civil Service and Latymer Old Boys took us to the final, where Bromleian Sports stood between Hill and the Holy Grail of amateur football.
Everything about the day seemed right. Gone was the tension and heavy weight of expectation that had so severely hampered our Middlesex Cup final performance. In its place was an unashamed sense of pride, confidence and belief in one another that have been the features of our season. The cup wasn't half empty: it was half full.
Bromleians, who beat us twice last season, started with intent, combining tough tackling with assured, concise passing. Much of the opening fifteen minutes was played in Winchmore's final third, but, as so often has been the case this season, Wainwright, Chaters, Willis and Godsalve were proving to be impenetrable. Behind them Kieren Hutchings kept things simple, looking calm and unflustered.
Slowly, Hill began to impose themselves on the match, buoyed on by an army of travelling support. On the flanks Penfold and Hurst took the fight to Bromley while in the middle Gower and Gleave buzzed around, giving the opposition playmaker no time to settle. After great work from Jack Newton, Shane Foley came close to opening the scoring only to be denied by the 6ft 9in keeper and, moments later, Hurst's well struck free-kick was also kept out.
As the pressure rose the referee struggled to keep any fluency in the game as tackles began to damage and disrupt and with 35 minutes gone, the Bromleians skipper was dismissed for an ugly, knee-high tackle on Mark Gower. With the momentum now seemingly with the Hill and several players on yellow cards, Andy Russell introduced the pace duo of Michael Nathan and Dwayne Jackman in place of Newton and Gower allowing Foley to drop into midfield. This tactical switch paid immediate dividends when Foley broke the deadlock on the hour with a stunning strike from all of 25 yards to give Hill a priceless lead. It was a goal well worthy of the occasion and completely exorcised the ghosts of Foley's Middlesex Cup final penalty miss.
Spurred on by this moment of brilliance, Hill poured forwards in search of a clinching goal and thought they had it when Hurst sent Jackman clean through only for his astute finish to be ruled out by a late flag. Undeterred, Hill were now enjoying their best spell of the match and Hurst should have settled it only to blast wide after a typically swashbuckling run from the outstanding Penfold. In midfield, Gleave and Foley reigned supreme and Bromleians frustration eventually boiled over resulting in two further red cards to ruin their day. The opposition rallied for one final flourish but Hill's defence stood firm and with Hutchings making only one save all match the curtain finally came down on the final amid euphoric scenes of mass jubilation and relief.
The celebrations for players and supporters alike went on long into the night and President Bert Prosser came good on his word of unlimited champagne which meant the cup runneth over.
Quite simply it was a truly memorable day for everyone involved and one that will linger long in the memory (well the bits before 10pm anyway!). Andy Russell was later seen munching his way through a large doner kebab, which begs the question as to what page of his nutrition manual that is on. Still; its not every day you win the AFA Cup.
Al Davis, infamous owner of the Oakland Raiders is renowned for his catchphrase: "Just win Baby!â€ and on Saturday, after 43 years, Winchmore Hill did just that.
Old Owens 0 Winchmore Hill 1
Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup Final
Saturday 8 April
at Norsemen FC
"Today you must do more than is required of you. Never think that you have done enough or that your job is finished. There's always something that can be done - something that can help to ensure victory. You can't let others be responsible for getting you started. You must be a self-starter. You must possess that spark of individual initiative that sets the leader apart from the led. Self-motivation is the key to being one step ahead of everyone else and standing head and shoulders above the crowd. Never stop trying. Fill yourself with the warrior spirit - and send that warrior into action"
Winchmore Hill won the AFA Senior Cup for the third time and for the second time in just four seasons and in doing so immersed themselves into the rich tapestry of the club's proud history. To win this prestigious competition once was a major achievement for the team back in 2003. To win it again so soon afterwards confirms Winchmore Hill's status as one of the best teams in recent AFA history and certainly creates a long awaited second 'Purple Patch' for the football section at the Paulin Ground.
This wasn't a day for the feint hearted as a bumper crowd packed into Norsemen's Church Street ground in anticipation of a footballing feast between two AFA superpowers. Representative players were littered throughout both line ups as Old Owens, the form team of the SAL, took on a Hill side whose consistency had been conspicuous throughout the season. This was not to be the spectacle that many had anticipated though as strong winds and big occasion tension made for a closely fought game high on energy and low on individual brilliance.
Pete Gyles typified the unyielding resilience that oozes out of this Winchmore Hill side. Educated at Owens school, the son of the Football Chairman bit the hand that used to feed him with an all-action display at left back and was quite rightly named Man of the Match. At the other end of the pitch Jack Newton, making only his second first team start of the season combined his usual huff and puff with intelligent link play allowing Hill's star turns in midfield to impose themselves on the game.
Hill started the game the brighter with Chris Davison and Gyles combining well down the left to good effect. From one of several early set-pieces Hill were unlucky not to go ahead when Rod Beyer's effort was well saved by John Sullivan in the Owens goal. Undeterred, Winchmore continued to look for an early goal and Neil Hurst, Shane Foley and Ben Penfold all went close before Old Owens sprang into life and started to put pressure on the Hill backline. As has been proven throughout this season though, this was easier said than done. Andy Carter marshalled his back four superbly, with Barry Chaters making some beautifully timed challenges while Ben Willis was at his imperious best alongside him. Matthew Knights and Gyles, all tackles and tidy play, made this an awesome foursome.
At half time the scores remained level with Owens having the greater possession but Hill creating more chances. Both midfields had cancelled each other out and you felt that the first goal would be vital. Owens almost drew first blood early in the second period when Matt Arnold stole in at the far post from a corner but his header went past the post. Moments later Arnold was involved at the other end when his vital last ditch block denied Hurst after good work from Penfold and Knights down the right. The game continued to ebb and flow as both sets of fans roared their respective teams on but time and again defence overcame attack. Then Hill shifted through the gears with a sublime move down the inside left channel and again Hurst pulled the trigger only to be denied on this occasion by a wonderful tackle by Ian Salt. Compelling stuff.
Then with twenty-five minutes remaining came the moment of the match. The ball transferred quickly through the feet of first Gyles, then Foley and Davison before a sublime reverse pass from the mercurial Beyer sent Penfold through on goal. As keeper and defender tried in vain to stop him the Winchmore Hill wide man rounded Sullivan and slotted home from close range to send the Purple masses into hysteria. 1-0 to Winchmore Hill had an ominous ring to it. On came Tim Corrick for the admirable Newton as Hill looked to retain possession as well as their priceless lead.
Inevitably Old Owens threw caution to the wind but time and again were shepherded away from danger by Chaters, Willis and company. In the closing moments a corner was only half cleared and Arnold's wayward shot was headed goalwards by Jamie Bird but again it missed the upright. Moments later the curtain fell on this epic encounter, a tight game between two fine sides but with Hill's greater experience winning through in the end.
Andy Russell had masterminded yet another Hill success to add to his impressive portfolio. A plucky band of brothers who under his stewardship have overcome many obstacles along the way to reap the what they had sown. All that was left was for skipper Neil Hurst to have the pleasure of lifting the much vaunted AFA Senior Cup on the ground of their nearest rivals. Elation, emotion, relief and a sense of unbridled joy. It felt that good.
Old Owens 3 Winchmore Hill 2
Southern Amateur League
Senior Section Division One
Tuesday 9 May
Two goals in the final ten minutes denied Hill the league title and in doing so set up an incredible scenario on the last day of the season (Friday) whereby anyone of three teams can be crowned champions. A win for Winchmore Hill or Old Owens secures the championship. A draw would give West Wickham the prize on goal difference. Never before can there have been such an incredible end to a season. It is effectively a cup final involving three teams.
Tuesday nights encounter was played in the idyllic surroundings of Rowley Lane in Arkley on a superb pitch. Both sides had major players missing from their line ups in what was a huge game for both teams. Victory for Hill would have been enough for the title. A draw would have eliminated Owens and left Hill requiring a point. Owens simply had to win.
Inside thirty seconds the 'hosts' were in front when Hill conceded possession all to easily and Sam Sullivan stole in to give the O's a priceless lead. The poor start clearly rattled Hill who took a while to get going as Owens passed the ball well on as good as surface as you are likely to see at any level. Hill then burst into life when Neil Hurst skipped past three challenges only to see his curling shot creep over the bar. Buoyed on by this Hill started to impose themselves on the game with Ben Penfold and Matthew Knights linking up well down the right. Tackles flew in and the game reached boiling point on a number of occasions as you would expect with so much riding on the outcome of the match. Owens continued to move the ball around well but it was Hill who drew level just before half time when Ben Willis' towering header from Chris Davison's free-kick crept into the top corner.
The second half was played at a frenetic pace as initially Hill defended deep trying to hit Owens on the break. Chances were created at either end but could not be taken. Then, with twenty minutes remaining Hill went in front. Hurst found space on the inside left channel and let fly with an unstoppable left footed drive which crashed in off the far post to send the Hill masses into hysteria. Was that to be the clinching moment? With Owens at sixes and sevens Hill burst forwards again moments later and Rod Beyer's cross was met by the onrushing Penfold whose effort crept past the upright. Then with just ten minutes remaining Owens fashioned an equaliser when a break down the left gave Steve Forwell the chance to nod home and he made no mistake.
This set up an unbelievable final few minutes. Firstly Anthony Mann's header thudded against the bar, but from the rebound the swashbuckling Penfold picked up the ball and ran the length of pitch. With Hill overloading the penalty area the cross was crucially cut out by the Owens defender to save the day. More drama lay ahead though as with just four minutes remaining Forwell's free-kick was deflected into the net by a Hill defender. Agony for Hill. Ecstasy for Owens. There was still time for Beyer to shave the post with a late header but ultimately the final whistle went setting up a grandstand finish to the season on Friday evening.
Hill must rest and regroup from this setback. To come so close is obviously hugely disappointing for everyone involved but I have no doubt that this set of players, who never seem to want to do things the easy way, will rally for one final flourish to cap what has been an outstanding season. Come on the Hill.
Winchmore Hill 2 Old Owens 3
Southern Amateur League
Senior Section Division One
Friday 12 May
Winchmore Hill were denied the treble in the cruelest of fashions as two goals in injury time broke Purple hearts and sent the league title to Old Owens via West Wickham in amazing 180 seconds of football. If this report seems a little fragmented or disjointed it is simply due to the fact that I am still a little lost for words and more than a little devastated about the final moments of a truly incredible season.
Where do I start? Having come within ten minutes of clinching the title on Tuesday night and within four minutes of clinching a draw which would have eliminated Owens from the title race, what happened on Friday was just too much to take. The game began at a frantic pace in front of a large crowd of Hill, Owens, West Wickham and SAL footballing cognoscenti. Just ten minutes were on the clock when Hill lost Barry Chaters to a sickening head injury meaning a reshuffle with no like for like replacement available. On came Chris Davison into a five man midfield and he immediately lit up the game on twenty minutes with a stunning individual goal, jinking past two defenders before rifling home a low shot. Advantage Hill. Spurred on by this the hosts continued to threaten with Rod Beyer, Neil Hurst and Ben Penfold linking up well and when Beyer was fouled on the edge of the box after half an hour up stepped Shane Foley to curl in a delightful free-kick. Destination N21 for the title?
Unsurprisingly Owens roared back into the game and at times shifted the ball around in head-spinning fashion but the Hill rearguard stood firm with Andy Carter and Ben Willis marshalling the defence superbly. Then, just before half-time came a pivotal moment in the match when a clever Owens move opened Hill up on the inside left channel and the impressive Dave Breeze fired home to give his team a lifeline. 2-1 to Hill and forty-five minutes left to settle an entire season.
Much of the second half saw Owens dominate possession while Hill looked very dangerous on the break. Carter had to be at his best making a couple of vital saves to keep Hill in front while at the other end Hill went agonisingly close to adding a game-winning third goal with Penfold, Davison and Hurst all having half chances. Still Owens bore down on the Hill goal but time and again they were matched by the colossal Willis and company. Time continued to tick away as both sets of fans willed their respective teams on. Legs were weary. Then with ninety minutes up Owens forced a corner. Hill felt harshly done by as they felt Carter was impeded but the quality of the delivery could not be questioned as Steve Forwell rose at the far post to head home an equaliser. Heartbreak for Hill. Salvation for Owens. League title for West Wickham? For just sixty seconds
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