What do you do when you’re leading 12-0 away and only a few minutes remaining? In the case of the mighty Bishop Auckland, back in 1954-55, the answer was “Let the other lot score a couple.”
We’d recalled the game at Kingstonian a day or two back, promising flesh on the bones. It comes from former England amateur international Derek Lewin, who hit a hat-trick that day, from Durham Amateur Football Trust secretary and Bishops supporter Dick Longstaff and from Lance Kidney, who sends the match programme.
The crowd was nearly 10,000, participant for 30 minutes before kick-off in community singing led by Arthur Caiger, who’d been conducting affairs ar Wembley for years. Therafter it was the Bishops who called the tune.
The previous week they’d gone out of the FA Cup fourth round, narrowly beaten by York City, having won at Crystal Palace in the second and beaten Ipswich Town in a replay in the third.
For the KIngstonian match they had Seamus O’Connell back from Chelsea, where he’d scored a hat-trick on his debut.
Ray Oliver hit five, O’Connell and Lewin three apiece and Corbett Cresswell the other. After the 12th, skipper Bob Hardisty suggested that they ease up a bit.
“We all stopped playing,” Derek recalls. “From the kick-off they went through unchallenged, found (goalkeeper) Harry Sharratt leaning against his post and scored. We kicked off again and it was repeated.
“Bob then said that was enough but we were still half-switched off and they scored a third, even though Harry tried to save it.”
Dick Longstaff quotes Dave Marshall, one of the full backs. “Harry left his goal to try to get onto the score sheet. For the last ten minutes I was the only man in defence.”
The programme recalled that Geoff North, the unfortunate Kingstonian goalie, was the son of Teddy North, who’d been Bishops’ keeper in the 1921 Amateur Cup final win over Swindon Victoria.
It also advertised a snuff parlour (“50 varieties, straight from the mills”), a cafe selling fish and chips, tea, bread and butter for half a crown, a grand supper club dance for three bob and red and white cigarettes – “for the man who inhales.”
Kingstonian may simply have breathed a sigh of relief when the final whistle put them out of their misery.
*Based upon information published in good faith, as they say in all the most grovelling apologies, Monday’s blog said that the funeral of long-serving Tow Law committee member Dave “Darlo” Henderson would be at 11am today.
It explains why long-serving Lawyers’ secretary Bernard Fairbairn, his wife and son were all outside Duham crematorium, but not why none other from the club could be seen.
Dave’s funeral is, in fact, next Wednesday, February 20.. Much to his credit, Bernard takes it with a smile – but, again, apologies to all.