THE 1908 JERSEY CUP FINAL

27 March, 1908 at Middleton Park

Middleton Stoney (2) 2 -  Ambrosden (0) 1

Referee: J. Gurney Linesmen: W. Norridge J. Spencer

Middleton Stoney: G. Elliott C. Shouler A. Varney F. Varney J. Varney C. Hughes A.M. Johnson J. Williams Arthur Whetton Albert Whetton W. Renn

Middleton Stoney Scorers: Arthur Whetton 1 Albert Whetton 1

Ambrosden: J. Hickman A. Ingram R. Hickman T. East J. Stevens W. Hadland A. Hepworth J. Taylor A. Warren E. Hickman B. Philpot

Ambrosden Scorers:  Philpot 1

WHAT THE "OBSERVER" HEARS
March 20th 1908

That the Jersey Cup Final will draw a large crowd. That Middleton are favourites for to-morrows cup tie.

That the majority of the spectators would prefer Ambrosden to win.

That Ambrosden have won the last six matches they have played.

That they played a very good game against Brill last Saturday.

That Middleton will have the same team with two exceptions, as played in last year's final.

That there will be only one exception in the team as in the replay tie.

That a prominent Middleton player say's that Middleton will just about win to-morrow.

That a Mr Gurney, of King's Sutton, will be the referee.

That he has given satisfaction to both teams in every match in the Jersey Cup Competition in which he has been referee.

That Enstone were more than one goal, a better team than Middleton last Saturday.

That Middleton, with the exception of Shouler, had a full cup team.

That the return match, tea, games, and Concert, Middleton Boys v Islip Boys will take place at Middleton Stoney on the first Saturday in April.

That as a rule, the village clubs in the district lose all interest in football after their team has been knocked out of the Jersey Cup Competition.

That last week it was not meant that a village league should supersede the Jersey Cup Competition.

That both teams could run very well together.

That the older members of the Middleton team looked forward with confidence to to-morrows match.

The younger members are not so confident.

That the playing place will be home piece, the venue of last years final.

MIDDLETON WIN THE JERSEY CUP
March 27th 1908

The final of the Jersey Cup competition attracted about a thousand spectators to Home Piece, Middleton Park, on Saturday last, when the contestants were Middleton Park and Ambrosden. The former had defeated Heyford 4-0, and Bletchingdon 4-1, whilst Ambrosden had vanquished Launton 2-0, and Steeple Aston 3-0.

Everything pointed to a win for Middleton, who, though perhaps not a better team than Ambrosden, had old cup fighters in the eleven and were practically playing at home. In the interests of the competition the majority hoped that Ambrosden would win, as they are a new club, and a victory for them would have added stimulus to the competition in the future. However, Ambrosden did not win, though they came near to making a draw of the game, and thus Middleton retains the cup (for they were joint holders with Deddington the previous season). and, according to the rules which govern the competition, they will not be able to compete next year.

Mr J. Gurney, of King's Sutton, was the referee, and Mr W. Norridge (Kirtlington) and Mr J. Spencer (Bicester) were the linesman.

Middleton won the toss, and elected that their opponents should have the sun, which was not very troublesome, in their faces. The start was rather sensational, and also disastrous to Ambrosden. From the start Hepworth put in a centre, which Shouler returned. R. Hickman kicked at the ball, but missed, and his brother ran out of goal to cover his mistake. The custodian kicked hard, but the ball struck the knees of Arthur Whetton and rolled into the net from about twenty yards from goal.

It was clearly seen that the Ambrosden team had not settled down, for the defenders rushed wildly at the ball, and miskicked considerably, and the forwards could make no headway. Renn got in a good centre, which R. Hickman headed out, and at the other end E. Hickman muffed a good opening. At the other end offside spoilt an excellent effort by Middleton. The "two-blues" forwards made one more effort to score, and then disappeared out of the picture for a time. Ambrosden gained ground through free-kicks against Hughes, and some charging battles between Shouler and Philpot were interesting to watch. Middleton gained a corner, which was placed behind, and then Renn sent in a ripper, which just missed. At the other end a long shot by Philpot caused Elliott to kick away. With R. Hickman up the field Williams got in a splendid run, and centred to Albert Whetton, who beat Ingram and ran on towards goal, and beat J. Hickman, thus notching the second point for Middleton.

Before Ambrosden had recovered from this second reverse Middleton had set up a strong attack, and J. Hickman had plenty to do. The Ambrosden forwards then demonstrated that they had previously not shown their true form, and they attacked vigorously, and J. Varney had to cover a mistake by A. Varney, whilst F. Varney cleared the lines with a huge kick. Things then looked dangerous for Ambrosden, for Albert Whetton put in a good shot which looked certain to score, but R. Hickman ran across and conceded a corner, which was of no advantage to Middleton. After a brief attack and a shot by Ambrosden, Arthur Whetton shot in at the other end, and Ingram was fortunate in saving; the ball was returned and J. Hickman punched out, and eventually the leather was cleared. Johnson was again pulled up for offside, and then Albert Whetton put in a good shot, which missed the post by inches. The interval arrived with the score:-

Middleton 2 goals; Ambrosden 0

It was thought that unless Ambrosden showed marked improvement in the second portion they would be hopelessly beaten. Fortunately for them they recovered sufficiently to hold their own, and the game in the latter moiety was quite different to that previously. Middleton went away with a dash, but Ambrosden returned. East banged the ball into the goal mouth, and Philpot turned it towards goal, Elliott saving. At the other end J. Hickman was called upon to do some brilliant work to save the Ambrosden citadel. Then Taylor robbed J. Varney and past to East, who sent out to the left, and Philpot put in a long dropping shot, which fell just at the angle of the crossbar and out of the goalie's reach.

From now till the end of the game was exciting as one could wish. Directly on the resumption Taylor sent in a fast low shot, which struck the post, and Elliott conceded a corner, and, from a hard forward kick by Warren, Hepworth forced another corner. But the ball did not tarry long at either end. J. Varney was the initiator of a good attack on the Ambrosden goal, But J. Hickman started a similar movement for Ambrosden. Then Johnson centred well into goal, J. Hickman fisted out, and J. Varney returned the ball just wide. A very dangerous situation followed in the Ambrosden goal mouth, and the goal had some hairbreadth escapes, Hickman eventually clearing. The spectators had scarcely got over this excitement when Philpot tricked A. Varney, and had an open goal. He bided his time before he shot, and got close to Elliott, but the goalie smothered the shot, and the ball was turned just over the bar. From the resultant corner a similar penalty followed, and Shouler relieved with an overhead kick. From now to the end both sides attacked in turn, the nearest attempt to scoring being a shot by Hadland which whizzed by the post. Time was called with the score as under:

Middleton 2 goals; Ambrosden 1 goal

Directly the match was over the Earl of Jersey presented the cup to Mr A. Varney, captain of the Middleton team. He said that as Middleton had won he thought their feelings were very much with Ambrosden on the splendid game they had played in a real sportsmanlike manner and with plenty of pluck. The result had been in the balance throughout the last three quarters of an hour. He was glad that Middleton had won the cup, and now he hoped that Ambrosden would have the pleasure of winning next year.

Mr A. Varney thanked his Lordship for presenting the cup. He thought before the match that Middleton would win, but Ambrosden had given them a better game than he expected. It was some twenty years ago when his Lordship first presented the cup, and Lord Jersey was one of the team who first won it. He hoped Lord Jersey would be spared to present the cup on many more occasions. With regard to the game he had seen rather better football on both sides, for a time the play that day had been rather ragged. He hoped that next year Ambrosden would win the cup. The usual cheering then took place.

The teams and officials were then entertained to tea by the Earl of Jersey, who said that those matches created good feeling between the villages, which was a great advantage. It was true that only one side could win, except on such occasions as last year when the result was a draw, and all those who had competed in the various stages of the competition would testify to the excellence of the play of the Ambrosden team, who had won the crosses, which were the first step towards the medals. It had been the hope of many that the cup would be taken to the other side of Bicester, but it remained at Middleton, and he hoped next year Ambrosden would come there and take the medals. He would like to take the opportunity of thanking Mr Gurney, the referee, and Messrs. Norridge and Spencer, the linesman, for their services that day. It was a difficult thing to get people to come and take those positions, which were not usually the most pleasant in connection with football matches. They had given satisfaction to all of them. (Applause) Once more, on behalf of himself and Middleton, he had to thank the members of the Ambrosden team for their pluck and skill in having fought through the several rounds of the cup competition, and to assure them that, though Middleton were the victors, they did not crow over it.

The game is difficult to sum up in a few remarks. As we have said, the greater portion of the spectators were anxious that Ambrosden should win, and one constantly hears that they were unlucky to lose. That may be so in the matter of the actual way the goals were scored, but if one analysed the play it could be seen that Middleton deserved their victory. For instance, Middleton surely merited a lead of two goals in the first half, for Ambrosden were all at sea; but who could impartially say that Ambrosden had much more of the play than Middleton in the second portion. One can judge a good deal by the work of the respective goalkeepers, and Hickman had treble the work of Elliott had to do.
It would be interesting to see how the teams would fare in a second match, for Ambrosden certainly lost the game through excitability in the first half. Middleton, however, did not seem to play up to their usual standard.

A good word must be given to Mr gurney for the impartial way he officiated the game.

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