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Peterborough & District League 1930 - 1960

Going back 50 to 80 years tests the memory but I am recalling to the best of my knowledge details of footballers who played locally over that era. I apologise for any omissions as there will be many, I’m sure. Details are on a club basis.

During 1939-45 they enjoyed the benefit of many professional players being directed to work there making armaments, which of course made them one of the most formidable local teams, Peterborough United not playing after 1941.

Bill Hilliard, Jack Rose, Stan.Coupe, Jack  Fletcher, Gordon Woodhouse, Sam Rowbotham, Howitt Fielding, Tommy Hanley, Charlie McCartney, ?, ?

And in the 50’s
Bill Hilliard, McFall, Fowler; Jakes, Wilkinson, Newson; Brown, Taylor, Uff, Harris, Corbett.  Others during that period – Harry Allum and W.Rocker.

Formed during the war, the factory making aircraft parts, BTH never made the top local grade, although having some very good players. The ground, behind the factory, was first used by Celta Mills who were the winners of the Peterborough League Div.3(South) in 1931/2. Then followed Central Sugar Sports who also won that division in 1932/3 and whose goalkeeper was ex-Peterborough & Fletton and Luton Town custodian, Ted Whitehead. 

A young Laurie Sutton also played and he followed on with BTH – he later served the Peterborough League and Football Association until his death.

Players included:-  Noel Trethewey, Eddie McGuiness, Jack Vincent, Ken Titman, C. Parker, G.Barker,  Ernie Hornsby, Derek Farrow, Don Grant, Gordon Cameron, Len Coles; Laurie Sutton, Ben Shepperson, Vic Emery, Ian Gow, Peter Wells, Al Perna, Ron Grayson, Lloyd Smith.   

John Butt, Jim Cormie, Roy Flowers, Mike Stevenson, Phil Coleman, John Hurst.

Played at New Road, Woodston (between New Road and Brewster Avenue) during the war and included – Stan Pell, Willie Woods, Tom Woods, Arthur Barratt, Fred Brittain, Jack Polhill,Tom Hobbs. 

When after the factory moved to Shrewsbury Avenue, football was played behind the site, before the completion of the industrial estate.

Players involved were:- Jack Bland, R. Dunkley, Maurice Kilby,Tony Walker, Cecil Walker, Ron Wilkinson, Tom Wright.

London Brick Sports had just changed their name to Phorpres Sports – an adaptation of the processing of bricks – pressed four times.

In 1933 they played Kettering Town in the F.A.Cup 1st Qualifying Round and were beaten 4-2, the match was played at Buntings Lane off the Stanground /Farcet Road. This was the first F.A.Cup match I had seen. The following year, 1934, they were again to play Kettering in the 2nd Qualifying Round’ this time away, and lost 5-1 before a crowd of  1,762. In 1934/5 they won the 1st Division of The Peterborough League which was then the top league in local football.

The players involved included – Cyril Harbour, ‘Dubber Cox, Ike Clarke; Sandy Rippon, Len Burnham, Eric ‘Tubby’ Woods, Percy Moulds, Bert Browning, ‘Punner’ Morton, Johnny Burnham.

Following later were goalkeepers Spreckley, ‘Sonny’ Watson and Eddie McGuinness.  Dave Collins (Ex Airdrionians) and Posh, a centre forward, was given a job at LBC and played for one season.  

And then at the end of the war – Les Woods, Vic Brown, Ron Hurst, Paddy Braines, G.W. ‘Curly’ Rippon, Bob Roberts, Eric Broughton, Tommy Hakin, Peter Dobson, Horace Woods.

My service in the Army 1945-50, restricts my knowledge of that period, although members of the 1945 youth team became first team players during that time, that is where my memory takes over.

So players including that time to 1960 are as follows:-
Ron Abbott, W.’Bill’ Abbott, Bill Adams, Reg Anthony, Tony Anthony (Linesman), Alan Bains, Denis Blewitt, ‘Buster’ Brown, Maurice Clayton, Malcolm Bussey, Ted Cocker, Roy Crick, Ernie Cross, Ron Cuthbert, Ken Ding, Gordon Fincham, Jim Gear, Alan Gilbey, Tony Hagger, Peter Hardwick, Basil Hill, Tony Holyoake, Brian Jennings, David Jennings, Gordon Kingston, John Long, Terry Long, Keith Ludman, Peter Mallison, Peter Newell, ‘Nat’ Nicholls,  Cyril Parrott, ‘Jock’ Porter, Bryan Ringham, Doug Roberts, John Rose, John Smith, Malcolm Smith, Peter Sutton, Don Tokins, Derek Walton,Cecil Walker, Tony Walker, Alec Worraker, Peter Wright

Not quite the force of the 21st century teams but the reserves won Peterborough League Div2 in 1949/50 and the first team won the same league in 1957/8.

First team players at that time were – Bob Bell, Bert Dorling, Joe Martin, N.’Drummer’Perkins, Joe Shakespeare, Jim Swain, Mark Wildman, George Woods, Ray Wright.

Early members of the Peterborough League, they did not achieve any honours, although the reserves won Div3(South) in 1948/9 with 2 points short of the maximum –some record. The only name I can remember from pre-war is Peppercorn.  Some players were selected for Hunts County.

1st team players included G.Henderson, P.Gammons, ? Darnell, Alan Bassendale, Bev Bradford, Maurice Wilson, ‘Jock’ Denny; Don Butler, ‘Lish’ Taylor,Cliff Wilson,Rex Buddle, Frank Brand, D.Coward.

Although they won the Peterborough League Div1 in 1926/7, in the early 30’s they were in the Northants League. In 1932/3 they were beaten at home 8-1 by Kettering Town. The league later became United Counties League and Westwood continued there until 1937. Then in 1938/9 they were champions of Peterborough League Div1 again. In 1946/7 they were beaten by Peterborough United 3-0 in the 2nd Qualifying round of the F.A.Cup before over 4000 people. They reached the Final of the Northants Senior Cup – and were defeated by Kettering Town 7-1, the crowd being 1853.

A few players names come to mind –Allpress, Norrington, Whybray, ‘Sos’ Mellows, Gerry Woodhouse, and then followed – Ivor(Mick) Bean, Les Bennett,  Bob Browning, Bernard Coltman, Ron Coltman, Brian Crack, Jim Farrow, Jack Larman, Tony Malton, Dean Molyneux, Murdoch McCulloch, Derek Parrott, Joe Stocks, Tom Wilsoncroft.  

In 1939 Whittlesey School played their home matches at King’s Dyke, just on the South and Whittlesey side of the level crossing. The ground belonged to the brick company and was also used by King’s Dyke seniors. Visiting boys were amazed at the different dialect of the Whittlesey boys who would say ‘loit’, ‘boik’ and ‘foit’ as we said ‘light, ‘bike’ and ‘fight’. So strange the change over about 5 miles. 

Ron Ashman, and John Whitehead were King’s Dyke boys attending Whittlesey School at the time. The names of Drew and Stapleton come to mind.

In the early days of the war the only team I remember was Whittlesey St.Andrews, I believe they played somewhere near the church on Station Road and included ‘Rocker’ Thompson, George Bastow and his brother, also W.Lutkin, Jack Barnes, Les Barnes and ? Hart.

In the 1953 Whittlesey United won the Peterborough League Div1 and the following team celebrated this with a match against a selected League X1, at Stonald Road :-  :- Taylor, Elliot, Curtis; Foster, Warnes, Bastow; Boughton, Connell, Starkey, Bailey, Reed. Trevor Bass has been associated with King’s Dyke and Whittlesey for most of his life.  Promoted to the Premier Division 1953/4 Whittlesey finished a creditable 6th in the table with the astonishing goal statistics – FOR 101  AGAINST 112. in 30 games.

In the 1930’s, Yaxley was the place all teams feared and the hostility of the spectators and the ferocity of the players ensured an unforgettable time for visitors.

Referees were known to make their escape on their bikes with their trousers and braces  hanging over their shoulders. This type of situation resulted in Yaxley being banned by the Hunts F.A. -  for a year or two, I believe. The team have played under the name of Yaxley Rovers, Yaxley British Legion and Yaxley Athletic over the years.

Early in the war Yaxley played a few friendly games and included:- Mick Bellamy, Bert Nicholls, Stan Jaggard, Sid Mitcham, Don Mitcham, Hubert Mitcham, Don German, Stan Lofts, Jack Perkins, Ray Perkins..

Later years saw Mick Abbott, Stan Beeby, Ken Burt, Harry Braithwaite, John Butt, Den Dewey, Alan Gilbey, Don Maycock, J. Milner, Trevor Mossendew, Monty Spriggs, Billy Stiff.   

The home ground from 1950-1954 was at Green Lane and then moved to Middleton’s Road. Changing rooms were at the King William 4th until 1956 and then moved to The Recruiting Sergeant.

Yaxley Athletic won the Peterborough League Div2 in 1950/51.

Referees generally had great respect from the players and those I can recall are:-

Bruce Buckle, Vic Brown, Joe Cope, Arthur Ellison, George Fincham, Geoff Haw, Norman Hibbins, Harry Iliffe,  George Kilby, R. Kendall, Ralph Leigh,  P. Manuell. Ron McCarthy, Len Mills, Ted Pond, Jack Rouse, Derek Rudd, Arthur Strickland, Ron Scoffins, Ron Smith, Ted Tasker, Maurice Walker, Ken Winfield.

There are many who have given their time to provide pleasure for hundreds of footballers without the recognition they deserve, the Peterborough & District Football League and Association Officers. Those known to me over the years were:- Frank Airy, Arthur Ellison, Cecil Forth, Walter Head, Ralph Leigh, Ted Poole, Gerry Regan, Arthur  Spires, Laurie Sutton, Paul Mowforth.

And not to be forgotten are all those Club Secretaries, Tea Ladies, Kit Washers and Groundsmen who gave their time so willingly..

Teams in the Peterborough Football League 1950/60 Premier League

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