THE 1889 JERSEY CUP FINAL

29 March, 1889 at Bicester Ground

Middleton Stoney (1) 3 -  Brackley Reading Room (0) 1

Referee: C. Shillingford Linesmen: W Smith A Tanner

Middleton Stoney: J Wordsworth A Varney H Pitts R Renn (c) H Upcher T Emberlin W Puffitt A Higgins J Green H Little J Oakes

Middleton Stoney Scorers: A Higgins 1 J Oakes 1 Unknown 1

Brackley Reading Room: R H Russell, E Horwood A Tuckey D Tuckey W Tuckey E Barrows Rev J P Metcalfe (c) E Tuckey J Archer J C W Ellis H Wootton

Brackley Reading Room Scorers:  J Archer 1

The struggle between these clubs for the possession of the cup for the next twelve months drew together some hundreds of spectators to the Bicester Ground on Saturday last, March 23. An effort was made to impose a small charge for admission to the field, in order to defray certain inevitable expenses connected with the management of the association, but the boundaries of the ground were so easily negotiable that the great majority of the general public succeeded in avoiding payment. Although Middleton were the favourites, a considerable section of the company soon made it evident that their sympathies influenced probably by a desire to see possession of the cup change hands, extended towards Brackley. Middleton were able to place in the field six of last year’s players, the most noticeable absentees being C Green and Claydon, who’s loss, however, was considerable minimised by the introduction into the side of Upcher and Puffitt, both useful acquisitions. The weather proved fine and the ground was in fairly-good condition. Winning the toss, Brackley elected to play with the wind, which was blowing rather strongly at the time, and at 3.10 Oakes set the ball in motion. Little speedily got it down the left wing and a corner fell to his side. The kick was entrusted to Upcher; but the point proved of no advantage. Little and Green got hold of the ball and working it down, Oakes, to whom it was centred, was very nearly scoring.

Through the instrumentality of Ellis operations were temporarily transferred to the Middleton quarters; but the leather was soon placed in neutral ground where play was for a time conducted. Then again the Brackley forwards got the ball into their opponents half and hands were given some little distance in front of goal, and play continued to be conducted in the Middleton half, and for the first time their goal-keeper felt compelled to use hands. Pitts came to the rescue and the ball was taken the left wing and a beautifully centred ball looked like being transferred into a goal; but the backs adverted danger. By the exertions of Little and Green, the ball was quickly returned and the Brackley goal was placed in jeopardy. The assault however was successfully warded off, and the Middleton citadel was in turn the subject of attack. D Tuckey placed the ball from a capital corner kick, well in front of goal, over which it was headed. Another corner fell to Brackley, but Upcher got the ball away and Renn made a capital shot which Higgins converted into a goal, thus registering the first score to Middleton. Brackley played up with greater determination, and Wootton took a shot which, however, sent the ball over the cross-bar. For some little time play was carried on in the Middleton half, and great efforts were made by Brackley to equalise matters. Two corners fell to Brackley; but they proved of no advantage, and Wootton took another shot, which, however, sent the ball to the left of the farthest post.

By the united exertions of Puffitt and Higgins the leather was worked into the Brackley half; but the defensive play of the backs was found equal to the attacks of the opposing forwards. Half time was here announced, and after re-starting some give and take play ensued until Middleton, working the leather well in front of the Brackley goal, made a most determined effort to score. Indeed, so close was the struggle waged to the goal line that Middleton were said to have got the ball through, and upon appeal the referee pronounced it a goal. One of the spectators standing by unwarrantably interfered by touching the ball when in play and an unfortunate altercation ensued. The ground was encroached upon by crowds of onlookers, who loudly protested that Middleton had not succeeded in scoring; and although it should be stated in common fairness to the Brackley players that they were anxious almost to a man to proceed with the game at once, it was found impossible to clear the ground, and some considerable time elapsed before the regrettable incident terminated. Upon resuming, Brackley were very much pressed, and from a well centred ball Renn passed to Oakes, who got it through. Shortly afterwards the Brackley forwards got the ball away, and Wootton transferred it to Archer, who placed it between the post. Brackley made further efforts to equalise matters, but to no purpose, and the game ended in a victory for Middleton by two and one disputed to one goal. Varney, Upcher, Emberlin, and Little largely contributed to the success of Middleton, whilst good service was rendered for Brackley by Horwood, A and D Tuckey, Wootton, and Ellis.

In presenting the cup to Mr Renn, the captain of the Middleton team immediately after the conclusion of the game, Mr W Godwin said it was his duty as secretary of Lord Jersey Football Association to hand the challenge cup into his keeping for another year. He most heartily congratulated him upon the success of his team, not only that day, but throughout the season. The only regret he felt was that they were not receiving the cup to-day from the hands of Lady Jersey as they did last year. In presenting them with this trophy he would ask them all to give three hearty cheers for Lord Jersey, who had done so much to advance the game of football and who he felt sure would be very proud to hear that the Middleton Stoney team had again been successful. (cheers). Mr Renn thanked Mr Godwin for his kind remarks, and said after having possession of the cup for another season, they should only be too pleased to see another club take it next year. All they desired was fair play and no favour. He concluded by proposing three cheers for Mr Godwin, the secretary of the association, which were duly given and the company dispersed.

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