Cup fever, the sad ref and bloody Blandford - 1909-10


Yeovil football club 1909-10

Eighty crowded into ex-President Maynard's Borough Restaurant for the now annual Dinner and Dance, the usual endless toast were given and songs sung. After the previous season they club had alot to celebrate. Special guest this time being Mr Frowde from the Dorset FA a man who had played against the club even before the Casuals were formed, which he reminded everyone in his speech. 

A presentation was given to honoury treasurer Mr Ernest Davis for many years an important and much loved figure in the club, being one of the founding members. Mr. Davis, a teetotal strong member of the church, was  a man who could best be described  as 'busy'. A member of the town council, committee member of the Cricket club, gymnatics club, swimming club and horticultural society and ran the Boys Brigade. He also represented the town at water polo and was a qualified referee who a few months later ran the line in the FA Cup tie between Plymouth Argyle and Tottenham Hotspur.

Mr Ernest Davis 1910
The ropes around the ground were also being replaced, this time by corrogated iron fencing all around the edge of the pitch. 

After the football club had beaten the cricket club, by 50 runs, William Barnes top scoring with 54, the AGM at Victoria Hall was so packed with players, members and fans thst it was voiced next season trying to obtain the Town Hall. 

As one would expect it was back slapping all around, it was all change again at the top as the President Mr Newton resigned and Mr Blake, owner of a Glove factory in the town taking office . He, like Ernest Davis was one of the founding members and now found himself in the hot seat, although it seems the Presidency was mostly ceremonial and for prestige. 

With the success, brought higher gates, none of the league matches the previous season had gates of under 1000. Which reflected in the now handsome sum of £66 sitting in the bank. 

Strangely, when the captaincy choice aroused, Johnny Hayward's name was put forward and seconded. Strange in the fact that Bert Maughan captain the previous two seasons had been popular with the players and highly succesful. Hayward accepted, speaking to those gathered. 

" I thank you for this unexpected honour and would do my best for the club and hoped we all pulled together. I hope to bring another cup to go with the ones we have and I propose Herb Seymour to be vice-captain" 

Something didn't fit right with Hayward though, a day after the meeting he decided against being captain, stating work commitments in the glove factory wouldn't permit it. Although, one has to remember Hayward was still only 21 years old, maybe the responsibility on his young shoulders would be a heavy burden. A hastily arranged meeting of players and committee voted Bert Maughan back in as captain. 

Fred 'Johnny' Hayward in 1909

Elsewhere ambitious Petters United were advertising for a permanent ground, to end their nomadic ground rambling. 

A trial match was organised at Pen Mill grandly called Yeovil v The Next eleven, one wonders if a match labelled Yeovil v Yeovil reserves would attract many hence the rather grand name. A good crowed did turn out to see basically a first v second match, with the first winning 4-0.

For the first time in years, Upton Park were not opening the season friendlies. This honour went to Salisbury  reserves who had renamed as Salisbury Amateurs and had joined the Wiltshire league. 500 lined the ropes or paid their extra 2d to sit in the Grandstand on a wet day. They were treated to an exciting game with the scores at 3-3, Yeovil scoring late to win. 

The crowds were still entering Pen Mill when the first game of the season kicked off. With some teams pulling out the Dorset League would just be formatted into one. The opponents today, none other than Branksome Gas, who needed no introduction after the previous season. In fact, Branksome played with almost the identical eleven they'd used in the final.Yeovil were far from full strength with absences in the side. One player still ever present was Captain Bert Maughan, and it was he with a penalty after a handball  earnt Yeovil a 1-1 draw. 

The opening team for the 1909-10 season being 

Cook, H.Seymour, Peaty, Bowerman. Miles, Maughan, Taylor, Lodge, Hayward, Larcombe, Rickets. 

Stanley Bowerman up from the reserves where he would become an ever preset throughout the season. Sadly himself and Charlie Larcombe both in the side would give their souls to their country in the Great War. Rickets and Miles makeshift replacements in the side again from the reserves. 

A week later, a full strength side travelled to The Recreation ground, Weymouth, to play the Royal Garrison, a spirited display saw the Glovers head home in a good mood after a fine 2-1 win. The Garrison side were far from happy with the quality of refereeing from Mr King from Portland and threw epithets at him at the end! 

Bradford-on-Avon had never been a happy hunting ground for Yeovil since their Wiltshire League days , and the opening game of the Somerset League, where Bradford were now plying their trade, added to the list of defeats, a makeshift side losing 4-2 in front of a very sparse crowd. 

The English Cup had initially given the Glovers their usual horrendous draw, this time Whiteheads Weymoutb away. However, Whiteheads had been caught up in the Weymouth FC investigation that started in January after they'd played an unregistered player at Yeovil. In short Weymouth had been been paying players thrugh admission fees  from a secret entrance, assisted by creative accountancy by an unscrupulous treasurer. Pseudo professionalism as the South West press described it.

Weymouth, knowing the game was up decided not to enter the Dorset league this season but  focus solely on the Western league. They were heavily fined,  had most of their players suspended  and officials banned from any involvement in football activity. Whiteheads, charged with similar offences just pulled the plug completely and disbanded. Yeovil had the English Cup match handed to them. 

The Dorset Junior Cup winners, Shaftesbury paid a visit to Pen Mill for a friendly, fresh from beating Longfleet St Mary in the English cup. The usual fine turnout watched The Rockies struggle with Yeovil's quick play. The Glovers playing a full side except a trialist called Thorne previously with Frome and Andover, brushed away their opponents easily 3-0

Shaftesbury FC circa 1910

A rarity happened a week later, a home match in the English Cup, a competition. The Glovers had previously had little success in. Bournemouth rolled up at Pen Mill  with only nine men, with two on their way after their car had broken down. Still unbeaten in the season and with Hampshire County player, Smith amongst their ranks, they were full of confidence. A crowd 1300 plus turned up. Before the two waylaid Bournemouth players, Hayter and Griffiths had arrived, they were already three goals behind. Both Hayward and Charlie Larcombe were on fire against the red shirted Bournemouth side, both scoring twice in a fine if unexpected 5-0 victory. For the record, Bournemouth are still going playing under the name Bournemouth Poppies these days.

Exeter City sent their reserves for a friendly seven days later, Yeovil using the opportunity to give a trial to  Turner from Dorking. In hurricane type conditions still 500, mostly sat in the stand, turned up to watch the Glovers earn an easy 3-0. Yeovil's nemises, Street FC visited Pen Mill for the Glovers's first home match in the Somerset league. Many Street fans had for some reason decided to cycle all the way to watch the 'bootmakers'. They were rewarded, with the scores at 1-1 with minutes to go, Boon scored for Street to ensure their cycle back was a happy one! 

For the first time in the club's history, the town was gripped with cup fever with regards the English cup, later to be the FA Cup. Over the years it would be repeated often. The Glovers found themselves in unchartered territory in the 3rd qualifying round, a trip to Poole FC being their barrier to advance further. 

As per normal, Yeovil fans travelled in numbers, this time 300 taking advantage of a football special. The Yeovil contingent making most of the noise in the Serte Enclosure. A full strength Glovers side defended like trojans and in attack were lethal, by half time they were 3-1 up silencing the bells of the Poole supporters. A stubborn and well drilled team held that the score until fifteen minutes before the end when Charlie Larcombs put the result beyond doubt with a fine finish. The cup run continued! 

A trip to Blandford United caused great excitement, the locals coming out in numbers. The topic of conversation was just how many Yeovil would win by. Turner the trialist from Dorking started up front, and it's safe to say didn't have the debut he'd like as he missed chance after chance. Hayward not his usual self either . Blandford, who had played tactics similar to Rugby, shocked everyone and sent flat caps thrown into the air. The goal spurred the Glovers and finally late in the game Lodge scored to save the blushes of the team. 

London would be visited for the first time by a Yeovil team in the 4th qualifying round of the English Cup. Waiting for them were the Amateur Cup winners, presently top of the Isthmian League and considered the best Amateur team in the country - Clapton FC at their famous Old Spotted Dog ground. 

The London Press built up the Somerset boys, and labelled them as one of the strongest amateur teams in the South, although the quote came from someone in the Yeovil camp. The usual train packed with fans pulled out of Pen Mill at 10.05am, the team again having the dining areas to themselves. 

All arived in time at Waterloo and made their way to Clapton via Liverpool Street. Clapton who event though minus their two best players, Olfey, on international duty with the English amateur team and goalkeeper Ronaldson, were just too good. Yeovil huffed and puffed by the speed and clinical finishing proving to be too much, as the red shirted Londoners ran out 6-1 winners. The cup run was over. The London Press later opinionated that the lack of service to wingers Clarke and Harbour being the Glovers downfall. 

Clapton FC circa 1910

Mr Battrick the referee from Parkstone turned up at Pen Mill, a respected referee and ex County cricketer, all seemed well. Boscombe FC on the other hand, appearing for the first time in Yeovil were late, the crowd were becoming restless. Mr Battrick showed no concern. Finally the Boscombe boys showed up, no doubt full of apologies and hurriedly changed to take the field. Mr Battrick, didn't seem to keen on starting the match though. "come on ref get it going" shouted someone in the crowd. The ref visibly upset complained. Eventually he did get it going, however his behavior became bizarre, wandering around and not paying much attention to the match, again being verbally shouted at by the fans. The two captains now understanding something was not right stopped the match, just as Mr Battrick was storming off back to the hotel. No amount of persuasion or consoling could make Mr. Battrick restart the game. A friendly was quickly arranged with nobody really interested referred by Mr Stoodley. For the record, Yeovil winning 5-0.

After speaking to both teams and witnesses, Dorset FA President Mr Frowde informed all that the unfortunate Mr Battrick had what we would describe today as a nervous breakdown, he was now a patient at the local asylum after attacking a policemen in Bournemouth. 

With only eight players on the pitch against the eleven of Bournemouth Wanderers, it would seem that it was going to be a long and arduous afternoon for the Glovers when Mr Humby of Southampton blew to kick off. However after 20 minutes they found themselves incredibly 1-0 up, The Wanderers equalised just as the three abscentees, Harbour, Maughan and Larcombe turned up by motor car. Their presence helping in a 4-2 victory.

 A week later another visit to the area saw a repeat of the English Cup won over Poole, this time without Hayward who was indisposed. Cheney, once of Yeovil YMCA, taking his place admirably. The Glovers winning 3-1. Alas, the match had kicked off late with the late arrival of four Yeovil players, the result was the referee called a halt to the game three minutes before proper time due to the light. The Dorset FA ordered the match to be replayed. Which they duly did in April, the Glovers winning this time 4-3 assisted by a couple from Hayward. 

Another debutant, L. Holwill, from Yeovil Baptist, was in the team a week later as the Glovers made their way to those old foes, Longfleet St Mary, returning better than previously after a brace from Hayward gave them a 2-0 victory. 

Christmas came with surprisingly,  no prestigious money making fixtures over the festive season. The Boxing day match being a league fixture against Longfleet St Mary, who turned up with only nine players, Hayward made it 5 goals against them in a week as the Glovers romped home 9-1 with 1000 plus spectators watching on. 

The following day, a match highlighted the depth of the Gloving industry in the town, the first and reserve teams were separated into two teams, those working in the Gloving Industry and those who weren't. In a match labelled Yeovil v The Glovers, a fair sized crowd turned up, paid their admission fee and saw the non-Glovers win 7-1.

Sir Edward Strachey, 1st Baron Strachie, Liberal MP attended the Yeovil v Poole match on New year's day, which could only mean one thing, an election was on the horizon. The match had been earmarked as the annual 'Hospital fund' match and to add more evidence that the Club took social causes seriously, 500 school children were given free admission. A throughly good performance saw the Glovers run out 4-1 winners, Cheney and Larcombe scoring two a piece. 

To say Minehead FC from the West Somerset league were excited to be hosting Yeovil in the Somerset senior Cup would be putting it mildly "the match of the season at Minehead" being advertised. 

A fair size crowd in the rain and drizzle watched a make shift Yeovil side carve out a 1-1 draw and a reply a week later at Pen Mill. Confirmation of elections coming up were shown a week later in the replay when The Right honourable Aubrey Herbert (DL) turned up to watch. Nobody raised an applause and hardly anyone knew he was there and he slopped off before the end. As for the match, this time with a full side out the Glovers romped home 3-0 in front of a large crowd. 

Something mysterious was happening surrounding Fred "Johnny" Hayward he failed to turn out on the 2-1 home win against Street, the first win of the season in the Somerset league. It had been known for some time Exeter had been keeping tabs on the young talented striker. A few days later, the Exeter press, excitedly announced that Hayward had signed Southern league forms at St James Park and was making his debut a couple of days later against St Lukes College. 

A few days later again, the Exeter press again confirmed Hayward's signature but explained his abscense from games as Hayward suffering from influenza. Which may have been the truth through most of February he also wasn't in the Yeovil side. 

Yeovil, without Hayward, who's abscence was put down to illness, travelled to Clevedon in the second round of the Somerset Cup. The pitch described as the worst in Somerset resembled a ploughed field, large puddles of mud with sawdust on top made football almost impossible. Yeovil fought hard in the mud and sawdust, despite leading twice they went down 3-2. Cup glory would have to wait another year.

In weather that you wouldn't leave your house for, Yeovil travelled to Street, hurricane force winds with heavy driving rain throughout the whole of the 90 minutes, made football impossible. The awful Somerset league form continued as again without Hayward the Glovers returned on the back of a 4-0 defeat.  The next day the full extent of the hurricane conditions were exhibited at Pen Mill. The roof of the Grandstand was now laying in a field along the side of Camborne Grove and the new corrugated fencing had all been blown over.

With a backlog of fixtures looking likely the club made the decision to play some midweek games on a Thursday afternoon - half day closing. The first of these matches being against thr Royal Garrison. The fans that gathered must have been more than happy to see Hayward, Exeter City and influenza,now seemed past him,as he lined up. He was back to his usual best as he netted twice in a 3-1 win. 

Blandford turned up at Pen Mill still happy with their 1-1 against the Glovers earlier in the season, using their rather strange Rugby like attacking and rushing tactics. This time Yeovil were more prepared and were up for it, not taking the Dorset side lightly, which they had done before. Hayward again playing this time along with Searly from the Yeovil Thursday team. This time around the Glovers speed, skill and passing was too much for Blandford. With the Glovers 3-0 up Nesbitt in the Blandford defence was sent from the field after punching young Charlie Larcombe, the match ending in a farce as the Blandford players saught retribution on the Yeovil players at every opportunity. Final score 4-0. Young Sesrly scoring on his debut and picking up the plaudits. A rare Somerset league win followed. against Bradford-on-Avon, 4-0 with young Cheney enhancing his reputation with a hat trick. 

The two victories set up nicely an away trip to top of the league and with a 100% record Boscombe with the Glovers just two points behind. Over 200 Yeovilians took advantage of the special train, which would not be returning until 11.00pm, giving fans a chance of sightseeing after the match. Boscombe, who as we know today as AFC Bournemouth, played on a pitch at Kings Park, and was considered the best 'enclosure' in the league. The match was one of the best of the season, played in a sportsmanlike manner in front of 2000, Yeovil with goals from Charlie Larcombe and Bill Seymour saw the Glovers 2-1 up, Boscombe equalising late in the game. Yeovil by many considered to be the best of the two sides on the day. 

Boscombe FC early 1900's

The return match, replayed after the unfortunate referee Battrick incident, came a couple of weeks later on Easter Monday. With the Glovers losing 2-1 at Branksome Gas just two days before, a victory for Yeovil was a must to keep their slim Dorset league hopes alive. A large travelling support from Bournemouth swelled the gate to 2000 at Pen Mill. Again a hard fought match saw young Cheney head the Glovers in front in the first half at the Camborne Road end. Despite an open and fast flowing game that was how it stayed, meaning the Glovers inflicting Boscombe's first defeat of the season, and their last. 

With the Somerset league hopes well and truly out of reach and wanting to save the legs of some of the first team the club seems to have decided to use the remaining games to give some of the Junior players a chance to test them in Senior football. Yarham for example was from the St Michael's FC based not far from Pen Mill. He had a dream debut against Wells City scoring twice in a 3-0 win. It would be his one and only match.  The Somerset league season finished with three straight defeats, nobody cared, each team sheet being half filled with reserve or junior players, sometimes not even filling a full eleven. 

Bournemouth Wanderers came to Pen Mill, by now Boscombe had been crowned champions. A Glovers victory would guarantee them Runners-up and the ever important medals. After the pitiful performances in the last three games and knowing the championship had fallen by the way side, a smallish crowd turned up. Hayward scoring a hattrick in a 4-1 victory. A Thursday afternoon 4-1 victory against Portland at Pen Mill ended the season, just a handful bothered to see Stan Bowerman scoring a fine hattrick. 

Elsewhere, Petters had regained the Yeovil and District league again. Having decided that they would open up the side to anyone in the area and not those connected with the Petters factory, they were now talking of entering senior football, alongside Yeovil. The rivalry was hotting up. 

Yeovil and District league winners medal presented to Hutchins of Petters in 1910.

Happy days.. 



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