Part Twelve – January 1920 and the Aylesbury rivalry continues with a local derby in the Amateur Cup
Having knocked Aylesbury United out of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup, and enjoyed a successful Christmas programme against Wycombe Wanderers, Chesham United moved into the year 1920 in good spirits. Their first encounter was to be another clash with the Ducks as Aylesbury visited the Cricket Meadow on 3rd January in the first round proper of the Amateur Cup.
On a damp, cold day the ground was slippery but, “Fortunately the rain did not last sufficiently long to spoil the crowd, and the people clustered thickly, and some Aylesbury enthusiasts were amongst the 1,200 that lined the ropes and filled the small stand.” In fact, club records show gate receipts of £50, 3 shillings and 8½ old pence which would suggest a crowd of over 1,500. The Examiner writes, without any further explanation, that the usual Chesham goalkeeper, “Webb, it is interesting to note, went off the club over the weekend . . . For the first round of the competition proper and for the first match of that fateful year, 1920, Chesham had a re-shuffled team and a deputy for Webb in the person of R F Beckley.” The full line up was: Beckley; Brandon and Pearson; Sawyer, Gomm and Moulder; Wright, Carter, Stillman, Barnes and Vine.
Aylesbury’s captain, Horne, won the toss and, “set his side to work up the slope with the wind behind them.” In the opening period, Todd in the visitors’ goal, “did not have a great deal to do, mis-shots and good defence by the backs keeping him clear, but Beckley had even less to do . . . The home crowd became impatient for goals: they appreciated the dainty footwork, but they wanted blood.” It all sounds a bit of a familiar tale of a Meadow crowd watching Chesham sides over the years. After 24 minutes, “Stillman drew the defence and passed to the inch: Barnes showed skill in feinting and worked right into the goal, and with Todd anticipating a smasher the ball was hooked quietly into the net at Todd’s left.” This success then prompted “a miniature bombardment” from Chesham but at half-time the score remained Chesham 1-0 Aylesbury.
The second half began brightly for the home side and, “It was noticeable how futile the efforts of the Aylesbury forwards to break away were.” Carter hit the bar only for Wright to put the rebound wide, “with the best of chances,” before Chesham’s second goal finally came ten minutes from time. “Todd had just distinguished himself with a great save, when Vine dropped in a patent centre and Carter met the leather with his head and found the mark.” Final score Chesham United 2-0 Aylesbury United.
Summing up the first round match the Examiner noted that, “Chesham is the sole surviving representative of the brave county of Bucks in the Amateur Cup.” Wycombe Wanderers had travelled to Tufnell Park where a 6,000 strong crowd saw them beaten 6-2. The result of the round was probably Dulwich Hamlet beating Wimbledon 9-2 even though the Dons scored first. With the first team in cup action, Chesham’s Spartan League fixture with London Polytechnic in Chiswick was fulfilled by the ‘A’ side who came away with a narrow 4-3 defeat. Chesham’s scorers were Pipkin, Langley and Wheeler, the latter also striking the foot of the post from a penalty to miss out on a draw. In the Bucks Charity Cup Chesham United Reserves lost 2-1 at Wendover.
The following Monday the draw for the second round proper of the Amateur Cup was made at the FA offices and Chesham were drawn away to face Bromley at 2.30pm on January 17th. This was reported as, “Chesham’s ill-luck in cup-tie draws seems to pursue them to the bitter end. Bromley away with a Kent referee is rather warm.” Bromley had won through their own first round tie by beating Catford Southend 3-1 away from home.
On Saturday 10th January 1920 Chesham played two fixtures in the Great Western Suburban League. The first team travelled to face Reading United and it proved a contentious affair. The weather was dreadful causing the Examiner’s correspondent to write: “The footballer doesn’t expect a parlour game played by a cosy fire. But there are limits . . . that limit was reached on Saturday . . . A protest was made without avail, and twenty minutes before time some of the players abandoned the contest.” At the time Chesham were losing 6-0! Meanwhile, at the Cricket Meadow, the ‘A’ side were beating 1st Scots Guards by 2-1 – Filby scored after 12 minutes to give a half-time lead, Pearson’s penalty doubled the advantage before Guards got a late goal back. The gate receipts were £22 / 11 / 6½ suggesting a crowd of just under 700.
The following Saturday the cup side travelled to Bromley looking to continue their run. However, “after a series of games in the Amateur Cup Competition which they can look back on with pride, (they) bade ‘Good-bye’ to the competition.” The London Daily News gave credit to United; “Chesham United played fine, fast football against Bromley while their opponents were only a goal ahead, but from the time Metcalfe increased the lead, about a quarter of an hour after the change of ends, their play steadily deteriorated, and at the end they were well beaten . . . Nearly 2,000 people watched the game, the receipts amounting to £60.” The final score was Bromley 5-0 Chesham United and, after paying expenses, Chesham’s share of this gate was £22 / 11 / 9.
On the same day, in the Spartan League, Chesham once again faced Aylesbury United, this time fielding an ‘A’ side at the Cricket Meadow. The visitors took the lead ten minutes before the break but, “upon the stroke of half-time – the whistle blew directly the goal had been scored – Wheeler beat Todd with a nicely judged low shot which carried the ball just inside the post.” As the second half got underway, “Chesham went straight down the slope, Gomm touched the ball on to Wright’s toe; and Wright netted with a terrific drive – so hard and fast . . . it is doubtful Todd saw the ball.” With 15 minutes left a Wheeler shot seemed to have beaten the Aylesbury keeper when, “Wright made doubly sure by heading the ball past the goalie.” Final score Chesham United 3-1 Aylesbury United. With the first team playing a vital cup-tie on the same day it is remarkable that this game produced gate receipts of £44 / 0 / 9 equating to a crowd of around 1,300.
The matches against Aylesbury continued thick and fast and there was only a week to wait for the next one. On Saturday 23rd January Chesham travelled to face them for the fourth time in little over a month in another Spartan League encounter. This proved to be, “the poorest game of the series between Chesham and the County Towners . . . It was the smallest gate of the series, but £26 is not to be grumbled at, and it will help to swell the balance that Aylesbury have built up in a record financial half season.” The home side took the lead before Carter equalised to earn Chesham a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile, in another Spartan League fixture played on the same day, the ‘A’ side entertained 2nd Coldstream Guards and attracted just as large a crowd (receipts £26 / 3 / 2½ or around 800 people) as that at Aylesbury. Goals by Wright in the first half and Hayes in the second secured a comfortable 2-0 win
The final matches of January 1920 were played on Saturday 30th when a crowd of just over 1,000 paying £33 / 16 / 5 saw Sutton Court win 2-1 at the Cricket Meadow whilst in the Suburban League the ‘A’ side came back from Newbury with a 0-0 draw.
Headlined “One Quack” the Examiner editorial reflected on the series of games against Aylesbury: “Presumably we have met the Ducks for the last time (this season) . . . The Aylesbury bird has only had one quack at our expense and that was on Saturday when she claimed a solitary Spartan point . . . Chesham ruffled her feathers a little, but the encounters were not ill-tempered ones, although Chesham administered two cup defeats and one league defeat. Here’s to the next merry meeting!”
League tables to 31st January 1920
|Great Eastern Railway||9||6||2||1||32||11||13|
|St Albans City||10||5||5||0||23||46||10|
|Great Western Railway||9||2||7||0||13||40||4|
|2nd Coldstream Guards||10||1||9||0||8||52||2|
|Great Western Suburban League||P||W||L||D||F||A||Pts|
|Windsor & Eton||13||7||4||2||30||20||16|
|1ST Scots Guards||10||2||7||1||14||46||5|
|Aylesbury & District League||P||W||L||D||F||A||Pts|
|Chesham United Reserves||9||6||2||1||20||12||13|
|'C' Section RAF||10||3||6||1||12||20||7|
|Thame T & C||9||3||6||0||15||25||6|
|Aylesbury United Reserves||7||2||5||0||14||19||4|
|'D' Section RAF||3||0||3||0||2||17||0|