The Vicar and the Brewer. 1887-88

The new committee wasted no time at all in getting down to business on the field. As per usual the rugby boys taking precedent and they opened up with a victory against Batcombe Rectory on the West Hendford pitch. It wasn't long though before the association football team were in action.

Now, time for a little contraversy!

Growing up, I was always led to believe that Yeovil's first ever game, that is if you don't include the Dorset County school matches at Ram Park in 1880, was against Kingston School on the 5th October 1889. However, reports in the local press at that time show that in the winter months of 1888-89, fully a year before , Yeovil football club were playing regular association games.

So, with this in mind for me, I think it's false to say  Kingston School is historically Yeovil's first ever match. Under the new incumbents, led by President Dr. Colmer Yeovil played on the 3rd November 1888. A match at home to Crewkerne Grammer school. Yeovil on the end of a 5-2 defeat.

Dr. Plotemy Colmer

The team for this eventful match was as follows:

Sprinks, Footner, Hotham, Jones, Thring (changed for Dr Marsh at half time) , Bond, Bishop, Watts Goodford, Hicks Brutton.

Who were these men though?

Starting the match was Dr Charles Marsh, a prominent surgeon of the town. He held a long connection with the club. In 1907, when Yeovil dropped the 'Casuals' from its name, Dr Marsh became the club President. At the age of eighty-four he passed away in 1940 in Yeovil, leaving £28,000, estimated at £5.5 million by todays standards.

Dr. Charles Marsh

In goal we had William Sprinks, a Mancunian by birth who married Bessie Glover, a local girl. In Summer he played cricket for the Western Chronicle cricket team. On occasion he would play in midfield or upfront.

Robert Tring, son of the owner of Tring and Luffman Glove factory located at what is now Waterloo place in. Yeovil. It may have been an advantage for him to gain a place in the team as his Father, William Tring owned the field at West Hendford, which in these years was the home ground.

William Bond a man who would for many of the next years be a leading light in the club

On the right wing was Robert Brutton, Son of brewer Joseph Brutton, it's a name that any older Glovers fan that attended matches  at the old Huish will easily  remember - The Brutton's End. It could have quite as easily been named in memory to Robert who unfortunately died in 1916 in India in the First World War.

Robert Brutton

The star of the show though was Rev. Frederick William Hotham. Vicar to the parish of Cricket Malherbe near Ilminster. An MA graduate of Oxford University described as:

"... a man distinguished in many ways from his intellect to his powers as an all round athlete" 

His sporting talents knew no bounds, he was a distinguished player of his college rugby team, held in reserve for the Varsity boat race, and played cricket for the Marleybone Cricket Club (MCC).

His name would be a regular one in the next few years in the name of Yeovil football club, eventually captaining the side. Incredibly he was fourty-four years old at the time of this match.

The Rev F.W Hotham passed away in June 1908 aged just sixty-four years old. Cause of death - a weak heart!

So, the first match had been played, would the committee rest on its laurels and regularly play matches or would it fade away as in previous years?

Happy days!


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