20 March, 1914 at Middleton Park

Middleton (2) 2 -  Bletchingdon (0) 1

Referee: J. Ray Linesmen: W. Clifton C. H. Ludford

Middleton: C Swinard W. Golby G. Hughes W. Chatterley G. Elliott C. Varney A. Whetton S. Hobbs J. Varney (c) J. Hughes W. Elkerton

Middleton Scorers: J. Varney 2

Bletchingdon: S. Savin G. Morris J. Savin A. Ward A. Taylor (c) M. Howe J. Timms R. Herbert E. Taylor O. Barrett A. Howe

Bletchingdon Scorers:  R. Herbert 1

The final for the Jersey trophy - Bletchingdon v Middleton was decided on a neutral ground in Middleton Park on Saturday, miserable conditions befog assoglated with the encounter. Although the weather cleared up somewhat at mid-day, and the outlook was a little brighter, an heavy downpour set in about three o'clock, and rain and hail had fell continuously till half time. This, of course, militated against a record crowd, but the attendance did not suffer (in the numerical sense) as much as one might have expected, and there was a fair sprinkling of ladies. As had been anticipated, a close game resulted, Bletchingdon being unlucky to lose by the odd goal of three. Middleton had much the best of the bargain in winning the toss, for whilst Bletchingdon faced the wind and rain in the opening portion, their opponents didn't have to contend with a lot of either after crossing over. The most exciting exchanges were witnessed during the concluding fifteen minutes, Bletchingdon penning their opponents in, but being unable to equalise. On their merits the losers deserved a draw, being every whit as good as their opponents, albeit the Middleton attack was the more collective of the two. Mr J. Ray (Oxford) was the referee.

At the commencement, Bletchingdon were soon down, and a long effort from one of their halves went over the bar. Continuing to press, a corner was forced on the right, but placed wide, and then the Middleton players found their feet, and the game opened out. After Golby had recovered cleverly from a mis-kick, Whetton received on the right, and raced away, but centred to finely and the leather cannoned off Savin's out stretched arms for a corner. The Bletchingdon defenders experienced some difficulty in despatching the ball from the danger zone, and after C. Varney had checked the right winger, Middleton returned to the attack. Two more corners were forced, but nothing tangible resulted, and the Middleton defenders were called upon pretty frequently for a while, Bletchingdon setting a rare pace. All the players found the leather hard to control, in fact, it frequently slithered off a boot and took the wrong direction. Swinard beat down a shot from E. Taylor, and, after an anxious moment, the sphere was cleared. On another occasion, a Middleton defender, when in the goal mouth, sent a hard clearance on to a forward, the ball cannoning a few yards wide of the goal. Hereabouts, Middleton opened the scoring, from a movement initiated by Hobbs. J. Varney received, and with a great gap in the defence, raced through, and found the net with a nice low shot, well out of Savin's reach. Shortly afterwards Middleton increased their lead, with the Bletchingdon defence in a bit of a tangle. This goal was also scored by J. Varney, who converted a pass by J. Hughes. The Bletchingdon enthusiasts were comparatively quiet for a bit, getting over the shock, and the standard of football fell off also. In consequence, neither goalies was called upon again up till the interval, which arrived with

Middleton 2, Bletchingdon 0.

End-to-end visitation characterised the early part of the second portion. Elkerton and Whetton on the extreme wings, had chances for Middleton, and both had centres cleared. Golby and Hughes were kept busy with Herbert and his partner (whenever these two got a glimpse of the ball), and the Middleton defenders, showing good turns of speed, generally triumphed. The wing forwards rarely got past C. Varney, whose play was very favourably commented upon. Elliott and Chatterly were also good tacklers, especially the former. A. Taylor stood out amongst the Bletchingdon halves, being equally as good in attack and defence. Swinard fisted out a likely looking shot from the right, and Middleton did a lot of attacking. Hobbs was very unselfish, giving his confreres many useful passes. Great vigilance was kept on this player, with the result that some of his colleagues were hardly marked enough. Savin cleared from J. Varney, and, after Elkerton had placed wide, J. Hughes was only about a yard wide with a good effort. The Bletchingdon goalie left his charge and kicked away, and, at the other end, Swinard compelled admiration by deflecting a fine shot well over the cross-bar. Nothing came of the resulted corner, and then Bletchingdon reduced the lead. The point was the conclusion of a me'ea in the Middleton goal mouth, Herbert scoring from a pass by E. Taylor. Both teams infused much more zeal into their efforts in subsequent exchanges, and, on resuming, the leaders got well down before being checked. Bletchingdon seemed to suddenly realise that another goal must be forthcoming, and for the concluding fifteen minutes they monopolised the play. The Middleton forwards dropped back to help the rear and intermediate ranks, and whilst the former proved of great assistance, they occasionally hampered the backs and halves. The defence, plus a certain amount of luck, prevailed over the attack, and the final whistle sounded with

Middleton 2, Bletchingdon 1.

Immediately after the match the cup was presented, on the ground, by the Hon. A. Villiers, who apologised for the absence of his father and brother, both of whom would have liked to have seen such a sporting game. It would (he said) be idle for him to pretend that he was not glad Middleton had won, as, naturally, it must be a pleasure to a Middleton man to come and see his own side win. With regard to Bletchingdon they had had exceedingly hard luck in not winning the cup on several occasions. He hoped that next year if Middleton could not get it Bletchingdon would. He had much pleasure in presenting the cup to Mr Varney.

Mr Jesse Varney, receiving the trophy, said the chief thing that had helped to win the cup was their unity, all pulling together. If other villages would follow their example it would, in time, be much better for them. Lusty cheers were given for the team and captain.

The Bletchingdon captain, Mr A. Taylor, responded with a noble speech. He said it was a keen disappointment to them to have failed once more. He had been told, however, that the next best thing to a good winner was a good loser, and he should try to show them that he and the team could lose as well as they could win. He hoped next time to lift the cup.

Three cheers were given for Bletchingdon and, on the suggestion of the Hon. A. Villiers, an extra one was raised for the losers captain.

The teams and friends sat down to an excellent meat tea in the pavilion, and the Rev. W. H. Draper, after drinking success to the clubs, said he should be an humbug if he did not say he was pleased that Middleton had won. He congratulated them all on playing such a sporting game, and especially Mr A., Taylor, who made the best losers speech he had ever heard. (Applause).
After the captains had sampled the contents of the cup, Mr J. Ray made a short speech, saying that it had given him great pleasure to come and referee.

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