28 March, 1890 at Middleton Park

Middleton Stoney (2) 3 -  Stoke Lyne (1) 2

Referee: Mr W. Shillingford Linesmen: F. Shouler (Launton) F. J. Rowles (Weston-on-the-Green)

Middleton Stoney: F. Tugwood A. Varney H. Pitts J. Green R.Renn (c) H. Elliott J.Little A. Togwell W.Puffitt W.G.Page A. Higgins

Middleton Stoney Scorers: J.Little 1 Unknown 1 (Little / Higgins /Togwell) 1

Stoke Lyne: T.White J.Nickols F. Jeacock ? Waries J Dickinson W Massey T Jeacock J Hillesdon A James C Cheesman W Godwin (c)

Stoke Lyne Scorers:  Dickinson 1 Aries / Dickinson 1

The great event of the season in the local football world came off in Middleton Park on Thursday afternoon last, March 27, when Middleton Stoney competed against Stoke Lyne for the holding for one year of the “Jersey” Challenge Cup. A fairly good piece of ground had been selected and marked of near to the farmhouse, which had never been played on by either side before. Three sides of the borders were lined with spectators, who had journeyed from the Village, and Chesterton, Wendlebury, and Weston on the Green, Bicester, Stoke Lyne, Fritwell, Somerton, Kirtlington, and Launton. Keen interest was taken in the movements and the speculations of a great many old players, who anticipated an easy victory for Middleton, were a little upset when the game was finished. Of course the home eleven were favourites, but the good play of the visitors many times elicited cheers from the on-lookers. Middleton had decidedly the advantage in the matter of combination, whilst Stoke were the more nimble side. Mr F.Shouler (Launton) and Mr F.J.Rowles (Weston on the Green) were the umpires, and Mr W. Shillingford acted as referee.

Stoke won the toss, and at a few minutes to three Middleton centre set the ball in motion against the wind. It was taken into the home team’s territory, and after a little more play Hollesdon headed the ball at goal, and leather went to left of the post. After the a corner kick by Stoke, which turned out of no use. Puffett took the ball up the Stoke ground; but “hands” in favour of Stoke saw the sphere back again on Middleton soil. It did not, however, remain there long, for Little made good headway and put the ball through the post, but “off sides” was asked and granted by the referee. Stoke were still pressed and a good corner kick placed the ball in front of Stoke goal; but the keeper put aside all approaching danger by a well judged kick, Aries following the ball into the home team ground, where it remained some time, until Puffitt made a good run, which ended in a corner, which was entrusted to Elliott, who exercised capital judgement, allowing for a strong wind, and deposited the leather immediately facing the Stoke posts, but Dickinson averted danger. Little, however, “was there, “ and nicely wriggled the ball by several opponents and secured the first goal to the credit of Middleton, whose forwards continued to press hard, and in a very short time the second of Middleton score was obtained by the united play of the forwards. The successes of their opponents made the visitors more determined than ever, and after some hard work Dickinson caused the leather to be placed through the Middleton posts, making the score –Middleton 2, Stoke 1.

Thus matters stood at the end of half-time, net with standing that the ball was got through the Middleton backs. Immediately after re-starting, the ball was taken up the ground and the home forwards all but scored again; but the goal keeper showed a capital piece of play put aside the difficulty. Soon after this, Aries and Dickinson taken the ball in partnership, the second goal for Stoke was made, which set the team on equal terms. Stoke made another try, and after some give and take play, Little, Higgins and Togwell caused the third goal to be added. No other important play took place and at the end of an hour and a half’s fast play Middleton were the winners by three goals to two. Special mention should be made of the play of Dickinson and the Aries for Stoke, and it may be truly said that the losers were held together by these players. The goal-keeper, too, made some capital defensive efforts and saved a good many shots which would have undoubtedly been converted into goals had he missed his judgement. For the winners, the two principal supports were the backs, who, in a great many cases seemed impassable, and amongst the forwards Little may be singled out as a player conspicuous for good work. The winning teams having been called together.

The Earl of Jersey said although the fortune of war had decided that the cup was still to remain there, he was quite sure it was the opinion of the Middleton side, apart from the natural, selfish feeling of wishing to win, that they would have been glad if the cup had fallen to Stoke. He was sure a better match had never been played on the Middleton ground, and no team had worked harder to turn the tide of fortune than the Stoke men had to-day. They knew how hard Mr Godwin had always worked in order not only that Stoke might win, but that this football competition might be of use in the district. He should have liked to have presented the cup to Stoke, and he hoped another year that might be the decision of fortune. (Hear, hear.) He was glad to have the opportunity of thanking Mr Godwin and those who had assisted to carry out this competition, for their services; because, though one naturally liked to win a football match and win a medal if one could, yet there was something even more important in this competition than actually winning the cup, and thought a good deal had been done in stimulating the competition between different villages and in showing that football could be carried on in a fair, honourable, and good spirit. (Hear, hear.) His lordship reminded them that although a good kick and a strong charge and great activity were very good points in the game of football, yet the game taught something more-he thought it taught those who took part in it that courage and nerve and readiness to take advantage of circumstances which after all were qualities which always would be found useful, no matter what they undertook in life. (Hear, hear.) He hoped that all those who had played in these games during the past winter would, whenever occasion offered, show they possessed those qualities – (hear, hear) – and they might depend upon it they would get on well. (Hear, hear.) They knew there were various sorts of sport – some liked hunting, others preferred cricket or football, and various other things; but a real sporting feeling was that one which gave them an interest in sports in which they took part, or an interest in seeing others distinguish themselves. Football gave them a great opportunity of cherishing that feeling, although of course in their villages they could not expect they should be so renowned as some of those who distinguished themselves at the Universities or in the championship of England; but he thought each village might well be proud of those amongst their young and modern men who showed they knew something in the way of games, because they knew all work and no play was not a very good thing; but a certain amount of play was a good thing. He hoped they would always in this district do what they could to foster all those manly sports, which were so valuable to this country. They owed a great deal to Mr Godwin for what he had done – he had been the main spring of the whole thing and his lordship thought Mr Godwin had every reason to be satisfied. His original idea was so well taken up and had spread far and near. He hoped another year to have the pleasure of handing the medals and cup over to some other people who deserved them, and he was sure the Middleton team would be ready to part with them to those who had fairly and deservedly won them. (Cheers)

His Lordship then presented each of the winning team with a medal, after which Mr RENN, the captain of the Middleton eleven, thanked his lordship, on behalf of his side, for his kindness in presenting the medals; and remarked that Stoke were old foe as well as old friends, for the Middleton players had many a tough fight with them.

Mr W.GODWIN, in thanking his lordship for the kind manner in which he mentioned his name, congratulated the winners on their success; and he thought Stoke had played exceedingly well considering they had only had five old players to contest against so strong a team. Middleton players had many advantages over other villages and they had the sense to take advantage of them. (Hear, hear, and laughter.)

Cheers were given for Lord Jersey and family, and the competitors adjourned to partake of a substantial repast kindly provided by his lordship.

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