Friday, 19 July 2013

Falkirk Cricketers v Falkirk Footballers

I don't want to sound all rose tinted & nostalgic for the amateur era [even tough I sort of am], but there was a lot to be said about sport back in the Victorian age. I understand that it was in many ways limited to 'gentlemen of leisure', and Muscular Christianity tends to annoy, but more often than not they were proper 'sportsmen'.

In July 1885 teams selected from the cricket clubs and the football clubs of Falkirk met on the Randyford Ground [East Stirlingshire CC] to play a two day match at cricket. Sadly I have never found a return match at football. Though East Stirlingshire FC played East Stirlingshire CC at football occasionally.

The problem with professional sport is that the employer hinders a sportsman's opportunity at another sport, whereas back then there were few limits. Jock Drummond was allegedly a fiend with the bowls, conversely Grahamston Bowling Club had a team in the Falkirk District Amateur League. Harry Smith played for Falkirk FC in winter, then for Stenhousemuir CC in Summer. Alex Gillespie earned the nickname 'Ballangeich' because of his exploits on the running track [named after a popular Greyhound of the time].

Yes, I know, now the players are fitter, better, more focussed, but we only ever play League & Cup matches, with a couple of pre-season friendlies thrown in, it gets samey at times. [Before I hoist myself by my own petard it must be said Falkirk FC played a Stenhousemuir Social XI in a game of cricket as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations [but they forgot to tell anyone, and I am yet to find out the score ….]

Wednesday 8th July 1885 – Thursday 9th July 1885 – Randyford Ground, Falkirk
Falkirk Footballers lost to Falkirk Cricketers by 52 runs.

Falkirk Footballers Falkirk Cricketers
H.Smith not out 33 ?.Lavington c Jackson b Smith 0
J.Roberts c Stark b Lavington 7 W.Stark c & b Jackson 11
W.Scott run out 4 J.Callander b Roberts 22
J.Mackie b Callander 0 J.Brown run out 1
+R.Cuthill c Brown b Lavington 2 J.Campbell lbw b Jackson 2
W.Ferguson c Brown b Lavington 0 R.White b Ferguson 22
J.Murphy jun c Stark b Callander 7 J.Johnston c Roberts b Smith 4
R.Cullen b Callander 1 C.Melville b Scott 8
G.Robb b Lavington 0 B.Harley c Smith b Mackie 19
J.Murphy sen b Callander 0 J.Wilkie not out 17
G.Jackson run out 5 J.McDonald b Roberts 2
W.Hamilton b Wilkie 1 W.Gray st Cuthill b Smith 0
3 Extras
63 Total

No bowling figures were reported.
Harry Smith could theoretically have played for either team [he was allegedly a fine leg-spinner].
William Stark [Cricketers] was the uncle of Falkirk FC legend Sandy Stark.

All in all it is the passing of a sad age, up until the 1950s Falkirk FC had Len Dudman on their books, he played for Forfarshire & Scotland at cricket during the Summer, for Falkirk FC in the Winter, to this day he is Falkirk's most capped player.

Never again I fear.