Day trips, train passengers and Band instruments - 1912-13

The Yeovil players, first team and reserves had chosen a novel way to celebrate the major success of the previous season. A day out by charabanc at Cheddar Gorge. Leaving the Borough at 1.30 and arriving back at 10.45 after a tour around the caves, cream teas at the Cliff Hotel and a stop off at Glastonbury on the way back.

One player from the previous season who wouldn't be there was Walter Pennell, a player who had played 36 matches for the Glovers  over the last two seasons scoring 21 times. Journalist Walter from the Western Gazette was off to China to take up a position with the China Morning Post. In 1941 after the Japanese invaded Hong Kong Walter was imprisoned in the infamous Shamshuipo prison camp, not many survived. Walter did though, after the war  spending the rest of his life in China becoming The Times Hong Kong Correspondent and even writing a book in his old age " A life with the Chinese '. Walter lived well into his 90's and died in Spain. 

The sign of a good season was a Dinner and Dance at the Borough Restaurant, a chance to show off the cups, and indulge in a bit of mutual appreciation. Special guest this time Mr. Lewis, President of the Somerset FA, who expressed everytime he came to Yeovil FC he sensed he was amongst friends. 

A new jeweller and watch maker called Clement White had arrived in the town the year before and set up shop in the High Street. Obviously he set about getting on the good side of the town and in an obvious publicity objective said he would donate a silver medal to the Yeovil player who scored the most in the season.  It obviously worked over 100 years later Clement White is still there! 

At the AGM, the biggest item was the increase in profit now standing at a handsome £100. It would have been more howwever the club had donated nearly £50 pounds to local charities, including the Hospital and the nurses association. As the previous season was such a success it was a case of ' of it ain't broke don't fix it' as all positions were re-elected, including the President Mr Farr, who had become much loved by all. A schools football championship was voiced and if someone could come up with a cup, nobody saw why it couldn't be done. 

Up the road at Brickyard Lane, a ten minute walk from Pen Mill, Petters United had been busy. Not being downhearted with ending up bottom of the Somerset Senior league the year before, this year they wanted to add the Dorset league also. They were declined. The Wiltshire League were more than happy to accept them though. In August a local correspondent visited the ground taking shape, it was a hive of activity. The pitch, 115 yards by 80, was being marked out, the goals were being erected, a group of men were erecting a grandstand. The problem of both teams having matches at home had been queuried, Mr Hare and Mr Sercombe had already met and as best as possible arranged fixtures so that when one team was home the other was away. 

The Yeovil Town Band decided to get some practice in when the first and reserve teams had a 10 a side practice match before the season started. 300 souls also deciding it would be an attraction worth paying money to see.. Two people weren't there for a very good reason. Johnny Hayward and Harry Harbour, Johnny was marrying Harry's sister, Mabel and then off to Western Super Mare for the honeymoon. For the record the first team won 4-1. 

The pre-season opener was unusually an away one this time at Exeter City reserves, a substandard side who 'played so well in the first half they forced two corners' as the press cheekily wrote, Yeovil losing 4-1 with Glanville up from the reserves scoring. 

Dorchester Town became the first official opposition, when they visited Pen Mill to contest the Glovers in the Dorset League. On a sunny September, Yeovil starting where the left off the previous season, winning 4-1, with keeper Walter Sweet pulling off some miraculous saves. The opening side for the 1912-13 season being :

Sweet, Maidment, Peaty, Taylor, W. Seymour, Wise, Clarke, Hurston, Glanville, Johnson, Harbour 

Wise and Glanville coming up from the reserves. Thurston came from the Minehead area and made a couple of appearances in the season. 

Programme for Yeovil v Dorchester 1912

The passengers on the Templecombe to Blandford train one Saturday afternoon in September 1912 must have had to rub their eyes in disbelieve. The sight of eleven players from Yeovil all dressed in football kit, moaning about rail connections. The Glovers had missed their connection and were now running late, they changed on the train. When getting to Blandford they caught the bus, still in kit. They arrived at 4.45, the match should have kicked off at 3.30. It was straight down to work for the lads. At half time and the score still at 0-0 it was an immediate change around in the twilight. Three goals in a five minute spell was enough for the Glovers to beat the reigning champions. 

The English Cup came around again and for once it was a home match, Clevedon FC. A crowd of 1500 packed the grandstand and lined the ropes. Clevedon described as a team light in build against the Glover, however it was Clevedon who had the best of the first half. Walter Sweet in goal in tremendous form keeping the score 0-0. The half time lemon seemed to put some juice back into Yeovil's game, it was one way traffic and goals from Clarke and Charlie Larcombe put Yeovil into the next round to face either Street or Weston Super Mare away. 

Petters United new ground must have been a pretty little place. No concrete, a  field with, surrounded by trees, roped off and with a new wooden grandstand, down the side. Yeovil paid a visit in the Somerset Charity cup and the grandstand would be used for the first time, it was well patronised with the crowd being put at 1300, mostly Yeovil fans, at Brickyard Lane. Johnny Hayward making his first appearance of the season. The pitch like Pen Mill was slopped from one goal to the other and it was Yeovil playing up the slope in the first half. The atmosphere in the crowd was described as friendly, except the odd occasion. As had happened in the previous season, Yeovil were far more experienced, it showed as they won comfortably 2-0 with goals from Charlie Larcombe, who lived just a stones throw from the ground and Clarke. It must have been an interesting experience for players from both sides. All lived and most grew up in the town. Some, on opposing teams now had played alongside each other previously, some even friends. I dare say the players all went for a pint afterwards in one of the pubs around. Idealic! 

Street had surprisingly beaten Weston Super Mare, 2-1 after a replay and it was to them Yeovil travelled for the 2nd round of the English Cup. The Yeovil fans expressing they'd prefer to play Weston. Many Yeovil fans travelling to The Cobblers by brake, a primitive motor bus and some by cycling all the way. They weren't impressed with what they found, the pitch was in an awful state with one goal with so much straw around it, grass could not be seen. Charlie Larcombe was out with a sore throat and Clarke with a twisted ankle. So a make shift front line with Seymour and Hayward up front, should have been enough. A record crowd at Street watch the home side use kick and primitive rush tactics against the Glovers more used to scientific football. The primitive form won with a goal in each half.  With 'Well wisher' the Yeovil writer suggesting that it was a blessing in disguise as they could concentrate on the league.

The first Somerset league match of the season saw a  trip to Warminster a week later in front of a small group of Yeovil fans who attended and make some noise. Warminster back on the Wiltshire league days was never a happy hunting ground for the Glovers. However a near full side saw an exciting game with Hayward scoring his first goal of the season on a 4-3 victory. 

The Yeovil and District junior league were struggling for funds, to assist them the Glovers Committee decided to allow them to play a six-a-side competition to be played on the hallowed Pen Mill pitch. However, with Frome visiting Petters United  on the same day, the attendance to watch were not so good. Causing questions to be asked why Petters didn't cancel the match or play at Frome,  £3. 5sh being raised for the junior league. 

Petters United had had a average start to the season, Won, drawn and lost in their first three matches. Matches at home in front of a couple of hundred. Their loyal band of fans, were confident though of beating the Glovers for the first time when they visited Pen Mill. They were in for a shock within the first ten minutes it was 3-0 to the Green and Whites. Moments after going three down Gray the keeper fought for a ball whilst the four Yeovil forwards pounced on him like hyenas to rush the ball (and him) into the Hotel End goal with verocious kicking. Gray unable to continue after the assault was taken bloodied from the field. Ricketts replacing him. Ricketts being the player the Glovers had played illegally against Poole the season before costing them points and ultimately the Dorset title. Ricketts it turned out was a better keeper than Gray , keeping the score down to only 5-0 at the end. Hayward with a brace contributing. 

Petters United outside the Pen Mill circa 1911

The Yeovil Town Band had a problem, their instruments were old and needing replacing badly. The Glovers, always suckers for a good cause decided to donate half of their gate receipts against for the home match against Blandford. The North Dorset side turned up with only ten men and a near identical kit, meaning Yeovil playing in blue. With Yeovil 2-1 up with and ten minutes to go, the missing Blandford player finally arrived, with enough time to get changed he slotted in at right back - in his suit and shoes, causing amusement all around. The band had new instruments within the week! 

Weymouth had put their shame of psuedo-professionalism behind them, now plying their trade in the professional Western League, they had been forgiven by the Dorset FA and allowed back into the fold. The rules even being changed were semi-professional players could turn out in Dorset League games. However still seem as not gentlemanly by most. It was to the Recreation ground that Yeovil next travelled or 'The Naples of England' as the press called it. With Hayward and Seymour away on county duty against Devon, it was some shock when they saw Weymouth line up with their full Western League team, professionals and all. Yeovil were no match, returning back to Pen Mill embarrassingly beaten 7-1. 

Weymouth FC 1913

A response was called for after the Weymouth debacle and a response was had. Firstly the Somerset Charity cup Semi-final saw revenge on Street FC, for the cup defeat earlier in the season Charlie Larcombe scoring a brace in a fine 4-0 win, putting the Glovers into the final against Peasedown St John a month later. Next to arrive was the Royal Garrison from Weymouth, always one of the hardest sides to compete against. Yeovil at full strength were on fire with Harry Bowen scoring a fine hat trick. The Yeovil supporters behind the Camborne End goal getting a severe warning about their behaviour after a penalty appeal was turned down. Just before the end Charlie Larcombe in front of tried a shot that sailed over the bar, out of the ground and ended up in a garden at Camborne Grove, causing the whole ground, players including Larcombe and all to break out in howls of laughter. 

Harry Bowen in 1913

The up and down form continued, a week later at Bournemouth Wanderers the Glovers  found themselves 4-0 down at half time, and accordingly had played reasonably well! A come back of sorts in the second half saw the final score end at 5-3 to the Wanderers. A week later at the old enemy, Frome, the locals and reporters complained at Yeovil's dirty tactics that saw Seale the Frome defender kicked in the face and had to be retired. It didn't go down well, Yeovil coming from behind at half time to win 3-2.

Bradford-on-Avon made their second trip to Yeovil in a week just before Christmas, the week before they had returned with a victory at Petters United. Today they made the trip to Pen Mill, hoping to repeat it. Hayward though was in top form and unstoppable. He'd scored four before half time and then completed his double Hat trick, one a penalty. before the end and then nonchently retired to the defence. The Glovers giving the faithful an early Christmas present in a 7-0 victory. A few days later on Boxing day the Glovers went two better, Portland being the Christmas sacrifice, 9-0 to Yeovil, Charlie Larcombe with a hat trick. 

1912 ended with a Cup final, the Somerset Charity Cup had not quite caught the imagination of all in Somerset, but silverware was silverware. The GWR train arrived at Frome station with 300 supporters to see their heroes take on Peasedown St John, a miners side who had risen quickly and were now contesting in the Wiltshire and Somerset leagues. The miners arrived by charabanc with 60 fans. They were the ones celebrating when after just three minutes they took the lead from a penalty. It was the only thing they'd celebrated, before half time Hayward had equalised and the second half it was the great man himself scoring two more to ensure the cup was coming back to Yeovil. The usual crowd amassed in front of the grandstand to see the Mr H Barker-hahlo, present the trophy to Bill Seymour. The usual celebrations started, none more so than at Pen Mill where a large crowd had gathered to get updated by telegram. In arrival back home from the station to the Borough, crowds had gathered to celebrate. Most calling for a speech from Johnny Hayward the fans hero, Johnny who seemed to be of a shy nature declined. It was only the Somerset Charity Cup but for the Yeovilians it meant much more, it signalled the pride they had in their little town and the football club they adored.

1913 came, the opening match being away to bottom of the league Bradford-on-Avon. The match described as thus in the Bradford press:

'it was a dismal contest on a dismal day before a dismal crowd on a dismal ground, in fact everything and everybody was dismal' 

Nevertheless, a 3-0 win with two from Harry Bowen, was good enough. To add to Bradford's dismal day, they missed a penalty. 

The entrance to the Pen Mill ground, by the side of the hotel, came in for criticism, before the Weymouth match and after heavy rain, the large crowd had to endure walking in ankle deep mud. Comments that a club making a £100 profit should see fit to at least put done ashes.  Most people had come to see retribution. The 7-1 hammering at the Recreation ground still hurting. This time a full strength Glovers, with Hayward and Seymour, well and truly put the terra-cottas to the sword. Hayward on fire as usual, scoring two in a fine 5-0 win, every goal celebrated loudly. 

With Hayward, Bill Seymour on County duty, fans questioned why the club chosen to play the game against their old rivals, away to Street FC. Especially when Charlie Larcombe was also called up as reserve. However, the club believed they fixture congestion would be too much decided to play. The Yeovil players forgoing the train this time and traveling by motor. With four reserves, the Glovers put up a good fight, however going down 3-1, their first Somerset league defeat of the season, however still staying top. 

When Trowbridge visited, the news had come in that Welton Rovers had wrapped up the Somerset League (B) thus meaning if Yeovil clinched the Somerset League (A) it would be Welton they would contest the final with to be crowned Somerset champions. Trowbridge had been beaten already in Yeovil by Petters who were having a moderately better season than before and lay halfway in the league. Trowbridge pulled a near full strength squad to Pen Mill, mainly still looking for revenge of the defeat at the Flower Show ground a year before. However, Yeovil even without Charlie Larcombe were in electric form. Hayward scoring another hat trick in a fine 4-1 win. His last being voiced as the greatest goal ever seen at Pen Mill.

After a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Portland, the Dorset league was slipping away, Yeovil travelling with four reserve players. This was followed up with a home game against Warminster in the Somerset League, Charlie Larcombe making a comeback from injury was loudly cheered by the crowd, however it was his brother Reg Larcombe who ends up with the plaudits, scoring a hat trick on a 7-1 win. The Warminster goal just before the end being cheered by all. 

Three games on the bounce in the Wiltshire league followed, earning three points from six, the win coming against Bournemouth Wanderers at Pen Mill in a tight game Yeovil edged it 2-1.

Frome came to Pen Mill knowing a Yeovil win would nearly hand Yeovil the title, a large crowd had gathered despite the horrendous weather and entrance which was now being described as like entering a small farm. Frome were heavy handed, and with a referee quite prepared to let them continue, the crowd became incensed. Hayward with his usual thunderstrikes scored twice in a 3-1 win, giving the Glovers the needing of just one more point with still two games to play. Welton Rovers awaited in the final .

The whole of Yeovil was talking g about the next match, with Yeovil needing just one more point what better place to get it than against their town rivals, Petters United, who they visited next at Brickyard Lane. 1200 crammed into the ground on a beautiful April afternoon, most of them Glovers fans. Yeovil dominated throughout, however midway through the first half Walter Sweet in goal after a clash Petters's Garrett kicked the player. The ref immediately sending Sweet from the field. Old Glovers's captain Bert Maughan taking over on goal. From that moment on Maughan touched the ball once as Yeovil swept their rivals away 4-0, the usual hat trick from Hayward. His last described as picking the ball up on the half way line, ran towards goal with six Petters players in his heal, then within distance shooting with such power Gray in the Petters goal never saw it. Yeovil even missed a penalty, from Seymour which caused great laughter from the Petters's fans. However Yeovil got the point they needed and now would contest Welton Rovers in the final at Frome. 

After a 3-1 defeat at Poole, the Yeovil players were criticised of not really caring, and going through the motions. The central reason for this was the final in just five days time with Welton. 

A sunny but windy day in Frome was to see the Glovers take on what in effect was their biggest game in their history. With the Somerset leagues split into two, it was not a simple case of winning your league you then had to play the winners of the other league to be crowd 'Kings of Somerset'. 100's travelled up on the train and vastly outnumbered their opponents fans. Yeovil had quickly grown into the best supported team in the county. 

Welton were a fine side, Wiltshire league champions the previous season they had walked their version of the Somerset league, if Yeovil were to win they would have to fight for it. Fight they did, after Charlie Larcombe had given them the lead in the first half it was backs to the wall for most of the game. However, still after having the odd chance to increase their league. The league officials placed the Cup on the table in front of the stand with ten minutes to go, it was a sign to the Yeovil players to dig deep for victory. Now playing all in defence to keep the miners out, the fans in the stand screaming for the referee to stop the torture. And blow the final whistle. He did! Yeovil football club were the champions of Somerset for the second year running. As always fans celebrated long and hard into the night. 

Yeovil FC 1912-13

The season was wrapped up with two victories over Longfleet St Mary, 3-1 and 5-1. Hayward scoring six of the goals over the two games. Bringing his tally for the season an incredible 36 goals from just 26 appearances. What a player! 

On the way back from Longfleet the team stopped off in Templecombe and retired to the Railway Hotel. They presented their President, Mr Farr with a silver topped walking stick and pipe as a gesture of of thanks for what he had contributed to the club. Mr Farr hadn't even started! 

Happy days



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