Match Comment – Southport Guardian – 18/04/1885


The final tie for the Charity Challenge Cup of the Southport Football Association was played on Saturday, at the Sports Ground, Sussex-road. The contending teams were the Southport and Crescent clubs, these remaining out of the eleven who originally entered. Additional interest centered in the event, as the Mayor (Dr.Pilkington) had promised, in addition to presenting the cup and medals, to “kick off”, in order to aid the funds of the infirmary – which institution he is always happy to benefit – and to show his sympathy with outdoor recreations of a healthful character. The attendance was numerous and about £30 is to be handed to the infirmary treasurer as a result of the ties played on the Sports Ground. The Mayor, who was accompanied by the Mayoress, had a cordial reception.

Crescent lost the toss, and the Mayor, with a capital kick, sent the ball into the ranks of the Southport men. It was quickly returned, and the superior weight and speed of the Southport team told against the very clever and unselfish passing of the Screscent, whose plucky defence svoked loud plaudits and, in fact,  brought down on their victors some unmerited hooting. Southport scored two goals in the first half and three in the second, whilst crescent never scored at all; their forward play being the weakest part of their game. After time had been called, the players and spectators assembled in front of the grand stand.

The MAYOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasing duty to present the members of the successful team with this splendid cup (the silver trophy standing on the table in front of the speaker) and the medals. They have achieved this victory, not only by the magnificent game this afternoon, but by a series of very brilliant victories over club after club. I have, therefore, great pleasure in presenting to them the cup, and I hope they will continue to be of great credit to the trophy they have so ably won. (Appluase). My sympathies are very strongly in favour of this good old game of football. It affords excellent opportunities to young men for manly and healthy recreation, and also brings out in action the physical qualities, which, as an Englishman, we are so proud to admire. Many of the heroes now lying buried in the sands of the Soudan acquired on the mimic battlefield, school, or college playground those splendid qualities of pluck and dash which they afterwards so grandly exhibited in the sterner conflict for the country’s honour. (Applause).

The challenge cup, as you are aware, has been given for the benefit of a noble institution – the Southport Infirmary – and I am pleased to see so good a “gate” (Hear, Hear). A great many people say football is dangerous and results in many accidents, but if I am right the very spice of danger lends a charm to the game, and I should be the last man to recommend young men full of blood and vigour and life to shirk physical contests for fear of being hurt. Nor do I think football more dangerous than riding, driving, cricket, swimming, rowring, and shooting. Mark Twain in calculating the percentage of accidents through travelling by rail or seas and in other ways concluded that the most dangerous place a man could be was in his bed, for so many people met their deaths there (Much laughter) If we are to avoid doing anything simply for fear of injury, we must not walk in the street lest we should slip on an orange peel, or cross the road because we might be knocked over by a cab (Hear Hear)

Now, it will please you best if my wife presents the medals with gilt centres to the winners, and silver medals with plain centres to the runners up. – The MAYOR briefly congratulated the Crescent team on their plucky fight and hoped they might prove victorious another year.

Colonel E. FLEETWOOD HESKETH gracefully moved a vote of thanks to the Mayor and Mayoress. Mr T.P.Griffiths in seconding said they were exceedingly pleased to see the Mayor and Mayoress present on such an occasion (Hear, Hear) – The vote was seconded with ringing cheers, and having been responded to by the Mayor, the company disappeared.

(Southport Guardian, 18th April 1885)