Friday, 28 February 2014

The Unknown Sodger

"Sodger" was the nickname of one of Falkirk FC's longest serving, consistent, yet hardest to pin down players of the pre-league era. "Sodger" was James McDonald, but that is about all I know. I have no picture of him [that I know of], and match reports never gave a clue as to his life outwith the game, and, of course, his name is so common as to stand out in the normal places of research [censuses, voting rolls etc].

[NB - I have now found a picture of Sodger]


James McDonald 1889

I can surmise a bit, he played for a season with Grahamston FC before joining Falkirk, so he probably came from from north of the High Street. The nickname "Sodger" might suggest membership of the Rifle Volunteers [a forerunner of the TA], he might even be the big brother of Thomas McDonald. But in all truth, I do not have any real idea of the man outwith the match reports, and so it probably will ever be.

As a player I know a lot more, he was versatile [so versatile as to never make any one position his own], he played all over the front five, he was a regular scorer [if never getting to the levels of some our great goalscorers], but he soon became an old version of a supersub, as in he played regularly, but only when the first choice was not available.

Yet he continued, even when he was not in contention for a first team place, he was there in the 2nd XI, just waiting to take his chance, and he lasted longer than most, only Jock Drummond's career spanned longer in this era [and Jock was a professional, when 'sodger' was ever the amateur], from the first to the last his career spanned 12 years with the club.

Of course, since I do not know of either his birth or his death I can not find a grave, as I don't know where to start looking, however, if you are a relative, and you are reading this, please get in touch, I would be immensely grateful!


James 'Sodger' McDonald

Debut – Saturday January 24th 1885 v Campsie (H) Friendly

Positions – Centre-Forward, Outside-Left, Inside-Left, Inside-Right

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Fife 1885/86, v Forfarshire 1886/87, v Renfrewshire 1886/87

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1886/87, 1887/88, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, RU 1885/86, 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield - RU 1889/90, 1890/91

Falkirk FC Career

Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [14/3]
Minor League Matches/Goals [1/-]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [32/21]
Other Matches/Goals [117/39]
Known Matches/goals [164/63]

Hat-Tricks – 3 [Stirlingshire Cup [1] Other [2]]

Known Career – Falkirk Rangers, Grahamston [1883/84], Falkirk [1884/85-1895/96]

Played for Falkirk District XI v St Mirren, Friendly at Victoria Pk, Camelon, 12th June 1886
Played for Grahamston 2nd XI v Camelon 2nd XI, Friendly at Crichton Pk, Falkirk, 18th December 1886
Played for Falkirk Caledonians v Falkirk Jubileeans, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 20th April 1887
Played for Falkirk Caledonians v Redding Athletic, Friendly at Redding, 5th May 1887
Played for Grahamston Strollers v Grange Athletic, Friendly at Bo'ness, 14th May 1887
Played for Redding Athletic v Falkirk Swifts, Friendly at Redding, 18th May 1887
Played for Arbroath Wanderers v Falkirk, Friendly at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 16th April 1894

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thomas McDonald


I could not possibly write about Alex Stark without complementing it with a post about his "partner in crime" :- Thomas McDonald ever the Inside-Right to Alex's Outside-Right.

Thomas McDonald caused me so many problems when I was researching the murky past of Falkirk FC, by the simple fact that he played under two different names throughout most of his career. It seems obvious now that I can look back with 20/20 hindsight and see that Thomas McDonald & Tommy Donnelly are similar names, never once played in the same Falkirk FC line up, yet both only ever played in the same positions. But at first it was simply two different names to me, so two different players. The name is a real giveaway, now. It wasn't until I found his obituary that it was confirmed they were one and the same [which meant I had to fix several season's spreadsheets].

Like most Falkirk players of the time he was a true bairn: this isn't saying much as, apart from kudos and a chance at Cup and International honours, it would actually cost a player both in time off work and travelling expenses to play for anyone outwith the immediate locality.

McDonald & Stark were the Falkirk right-wing partnership for nearly a decade, both high scoring, both Falkirk Bairns, but eventually things came to a head. With the introduction of professionalism to the Scottish game people came looking for players to bolster their teams. Falkirk suffered. Alas, Falkirk in the first year of professionalism in Scotland, decided to remain amateur, and Thomas who was a foundryman, chose to sell his labour on a Saturday afternoon. Thus he signed pro-terms with Slamannan Rovers [it is completely bizarre to me, now, in 2014 that slamannan had a professional
football club when Falkirk had none, but hey], this is a shame to me as the Falkirk Herald and Falkirk Mail largely ignored the Slamannan clubs, so I do not have a good idea of how well he did up there. However, he must have done well, for the next season East Stirlingshire signed him up, where he seems to have done well, scoring at a better rate than he ever did at Falkirk. But by this time he was on that long slow decline we all must face.

He returned to Falkirk for just over a season before he finally gave up the ghost, but in all honesty he was more of a reserve by this time, and soon enough he dissapeared from the Falkirk team. During his time he had captained the club, and represented his county but there is little room for sentimentality in this game!

In closing I will say some little things; that although he grew up in Kerse Lane, later on he worked in the foundries, and died in his home in River Street, Bainsford. The other interesting thing is that he died on his birthday!


Thomas McDonald c1885

Thomas McDonald

b 28th December 1868, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 28th December 1943, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday March 26th 1887 v Rangers Swifts (H) Friendly

Positions – Inside-Right, Outside-Right

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Fife 1887/88, 1889/90, 1890/91, v Linlithgowshire 1887/88, v Forfarshire 1889/90

Club Honours – Midland League RU 1895/96, Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, 1895/96, RU 1887/88, 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity Cup W 1889/90, 1891/92, RU 1890/91, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92, RU 1889/90, 1890/91, 1895/96

Falkirk FC

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [16/3]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [31/14]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [42/19]
Other Matches/Goals [125/43]
Total Matches/Goals [215/79]

East Stirlingshire

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [4/2]
Minor League Matches/Goals [17/13]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [7/4]
Other Matches/Goals [37/18]
Total Matches/Goals [65/37]

Black Watch & Slamannan Rovers

Unknown

Known Career

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [20/5]
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches /Goals [1/-]
Minor League Matches/Goals [48/27]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [49/23]
Other Matches/Goals [162/61]
Total Matches/Goals [280/116]

Hat-Tricks – 2 [Stirlingshire Cup [1] Falkirk District Charity Cup [1]]

Known Career – Black Watch [1885/86], Falkirk [1886/87-1892/93], Slamannan Rovers [1892/93], East Stirlingshire [1893/94-1894/95], Falkirk [1895/96-1896/97]

Played for Falkirk Swifts v Redding Athletic, Friendly at Redding, 18th May 1887
Played for Falkirk Swifts v Carron Athletic, Friendly at Inns Pk, Carron, 8th June 1887
Played for Falkirk District XI v East Stirlingshire , Benefit Match at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 17th April 1888
Played for Falkirk District XI v Glasgow Corinthians, Benefit Match at Victoria Pk, Camelon, 17th May 1890

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Alex Stark


Alex "Buttons" Stark was probably Falkirk FC's and certainly my favourite player in those years before the club joined the League. Sandy, as he was sometimes known, was a born and bred Falkirk Bairn, his Family home being on Kerse Lane backing on to Bell's Meadow, the family running a dairy business.

Apart from being registered as a scholar in the 1881 census I have never discovered what Alex did in the real world, but it is highly likely that he helped in the family business. the earliest he shows up in the extant match reports was during the 1884/85 season when it was mentionied he scored in the 2nd XI's 7-2 win against Tayavalla 2nd XI in the New Year's matches. Throughout the random reserve matches that the Falkirk Herald noted he had scored some 6 goals in four matches for the reserves all at Inside-Right to Alex Rule's outside-Right, and it was this form that must have prompted the committee to include him in an end of season friendly against Rangers Swifts, taking his, soon to be default position, at Outside-Right.

The Following season he started back in the reserves, but it was not long until he was brought into the 1st XI for his first senior match, a Scottish Cup Second round tie against local minnows Laurieston FC at Zetland Park. Falkirk won by 3-1 allowing the still young Alex to play in the next round against what was then still the most prestigeous opponents in the land: the Spiders [Queen's Park FC]. As was expected Falkirk got thumped, but Alex showed what was to come over the next decade by scoring twice in Falkirk's 3-8 defeat at the hands of the grand old team.

Forming a highly effective right-wing partnership with Thomas McDonald [AKA Tommy Donnelly], everything was set in motion. alex stayed at Outside-Right for the next decade [only occassionally switching to the other flank or Inside-Right when needed]. He quickly became a fan's favourite [I would say he became a legend, but that he is largely forgotten today], and it was a regular argument between FFC & ESFC fans as to whether he or Lawrence McLachlan were the best player in the county.

Of course, he was always highly in demand, for guest appearances for benefit matches by other other clubs and by various XI's, but also from other more predatory clubs wishing his services on a more permanent basis.

Therefore the Falkirk fans were crestfallen when it came to light that he had signed professional terms with Bolton Wanderers in 1889. Yet at the start of the following season, he was still there at Outside-Right for his hometown club. It is difficult from this distance in time to glean what exactly happened. Perhaps he just changed his mind, perhaps he didn't like Bolton! At the time Scotland had not yet recognised professionalism, so his professionalism down south would have barred him from Scottish football, but due to the little fact that he never turned out for Bolton Wanderers therefore never recieved any money, in Scottish Football he was not a pro, so could still play. the only ramification of his folly being that London Casuals refused to play against Falkirk with Alex in the side when they visited in a holiday fixture that year.

Alex came close to national recognition when he was chosen to play in the international trials, but Glasgow bias ruled as much then as it does now, and he was overlooked. Yet at the time there was an intermediate level for footballers to demonstrate their skills. Between club & country there were still Inter-County Matches and for a fair while a Stirlingshire XI was not a Stirlingshire XI without Stark, McLachlan & Inch [another legend of the 'shire].

During his last season with the club [and his last season in Scotland], Alx spent a fair chunk of the season guesting with Queen's Park, but as he had already played in the Cup for Falkirk he could only play in friendlies for them.

But in the end, he was a young man with a limited future in a game which paid little and offered next to no security, worse still he was only the third oldest son in the family, so had little chance of taking over the family business. So it was in 1895 he announced his emigration to New Zealand to go into business in a meat-packing factory with his uncle William [a former Stirling County batsman who had emigrated some years earlier].


And there the trail ought to have gone cold .... were it not for google! For, playing about on the internet a while ago, to my surprise my Alex Stark+New Zealand+Football searches brought one or two interesting results. It seems [confirmed by NZ Soccer's Historian] that Alex got involved in his new country's football scene, becoming the president of the Canterbury FA and Vice-President of the NZ FA, crowning this with an appearance in New Zealand's first ever representative XI in 1904 -alas, it was against a touring New south Wales XI so FIFA denied it international status.

A strange thing is that for all that is known about Alex, I have yet to find a definitive likeness of him: there was reported in the Falkirk Herald that his image was in "one of the evening papers in 1887", but I have yet to track it down; also I have a photocopy of an article about Falkirk FC which has a photo which purports to include Alex, but the contrast has reduced the entire team to a single amorphous blob, but there must be one out there ... even if only in New Zealand.

I do now!!!!


Alexander 'Buttons' Stark

b 11th April 1869, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d c1935, New Zealand

Debut – Thursday June 3rd 1886 v Rangers Swifts (H) Friendly

Positions – Outside-Right, Outside-Left, Inside-Right, Inside-Left

Representative Honours – Stirlingshire v Forfarshire 1886/87, 1887/88, 1888/89, 1889/90, 1890/91, 1891/92, 1892/93, v Renfrewshire 1886/87, v
Linlithgowshire 1887/88, 1888/89, v Fife 1890/91, 1891/92, 1893/94.

Club Honours – Midland League W 1894/95, Stirlingshire Cup W 1889/90, 1894/95, RU 1886/87, 1887/88, 1891/92, Falkirk District Charity
Cup W 1889/90, 1891/92, 1893/94, RU 1890/91, 1894/95, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1891/92, 1892/93, 1893/94, RU 1889/90, 1890/91

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [24/13]
Minor League Matches/Goals [53/20]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [60/24]
Other Matches/Goals [152/57]

Hat-Tricks – 6 [Scottish Cup [1] Scottish Federation [1] Stirlingshire Cup [1] Other [3]]

Known Career – Falkirk [1885/86-1894/95], Queen's Park [1894/95], Canterbury (NZ)

Played for Falkirk Swifts v Redding Athletic, Friendly at Redding, 18th May 1887
Played for Falkirk Swifts v Carron Athletic, Friendly at Inns Pk, Carron, 8th June 1887
Played for Falkirk District XI v East Stirlingshire , Benefit Match at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford, 17th April 1888
Played for Falkirk District XI v Ibroxonians, Benefit Match at Brockville Pk, Falkirk, 11th June 1889
Played for King's Park v Corinthians, Friendly at Stirling, 31st December 1889
Played for Falkirk District XI v Glasgow Corinthians, Benefit Match at Camelon, 17th May 1890
Played for King's Park v Hurlford, Friendly at Stirling, 1st January 1891
Played for King's Park v London Casuals, Friendly at Stirling, 2nd January 1891
Played for King's Park v Dumbarton, Friendly at Stirling, 3rd January 1891
Played for Falkirk District XI v Grangemouth, Benefit Match at Grangemouth, 28th April 1892
Played for Laurieston v Camelon, Friendly at Laurieston, 11th February 1893
Played for Stirlingshire XI v Grangemouth, Benefit Match at Bainsford, 9th May 1893

Finally - that nickname! I have no idea as to why he was called buttons, not a clue. But I can tell you that the Club Secretary Robert Bishop was moved to write to the Falkirk Herald on several occasions of its use in match reports. Make of that what you will!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Great Unspoken


If you listen really carefully, I mean very hard: block out all that white noise nonsense coming from Glasgow and the media in general, you can sometimes hear a slight murmuring. Only occasionally and usually from people who do not have a clue and who should quite frankly keep quiet and keep their own nonsense to themselves.

I am talking about the preposterous notion that Falkirk Fc are the protestant club of the area and that East Stirlingshire FC are the catholic club. I can never understand how this idea arose and can never see anything upon which it could be based. Such fripperies as church were not included on the census, so it is meaningless to look there, as name, age, address & profession are no way in which to judge a person's faith.

From what we know of the early days of the two clubs we can assume little: but we can tell that the originators and early leading lights of Falkirk FC seemed to come from a largely middle-class background [office clerks, retailers, service professionals] mixed a lesser number of working class members, whereas with East Stirlingshire it was the reverse, the club being mainly made up of working men [for the most part foundry workers] with an element of middle class enthusiasts.

This slight difference in social strata looks on first sight as if it might have something, but it again is profoundly misleading. To take Falkirk FC as being more middle class and East Stirlingshire as more working class is to infer patterns into raw data and take it as significant. It is not, it merely shows a far more important underlying factor - Location, Location, Location.

Every good 'shire fan knows his/her club belongs to Bainsford, and for their club to play in Falkirk [or even worse in Stenhousemuir] is as bad as Falkirk playing in Grangemouth [get over it, Westfield is over the border]; neither set of fans is 100% happy with it.

And this is the true difference between the clubs, location: with location comes demographics. In 1880 the town of Bainsford was in the same place [slightly smaller] it was built in between the River Carron and the Forth & Clyde Canal, in other words it was between the massive Carron Iron Works and the many foundries on the banks of the canal [Abbots, Gowanbank, Grahamston etc]. So of course a team from Bainsford was mainly made up of foundrymen, most of Bainsford was foundrymen. On the other hand there was a larger number of middle class people living in Falkirk, while at the same time there were many people working in those very same foundries.

None of this implies any sectarian divide, and having spoken to many a 'shire fan there seems to be no basis for it throughout the clubs histories. But most damning of all, it subtly ignores one salient yet rarely considered point. If Falkirk and East Stirlingshire were on either side of that divide, then why did a group of Falkirk youths in the mid 1880s feel the need to form their own "Irish" club, the short-lived Falkirk Harp? I like to think it is because we have better things to think about than where other clubs' fans choose to worship:

*fingers crossed*

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Harry Smith


Coming, as a teenager, from "Darn Sarff" to take up a position in Abbot's Foundry as a lowly cashier Henry [more commonly known as Harry] Smith ended up as Managing Director of the company, but not without contributing to the local sporting community for many a season.

He was given the rather unimaginative nickname of "English Harry", Smith started out as a Full-Back, before finally taking over between the sticks [this was very common in the early days, before Goalie became such a specialised position, and clubs were working out who was best where].

Before he signed up with the football team, Harry was playing in local cricket matches with East Stirlingshire then Falkirk [neither related to the football clubs of the same name], however he was to spend the longest part of his club career playing with Stenhousemuir CC. From what I have been able to glean from the match reports, he seems to have been a leg-spinner and lower middle order batsman, and quite a decent player at that [if I somehow manage to live to about 1500 years old I will eventually research his cricket career [don't hold your breath!]].

His football career in comparison was somewhat short, lasting only about five years, and this in an era where games were less regular, and less regularly reported upon. So the mere eighteen matches known about tell us little, and were it not for the fact that he rose to such prominence in local industry it is likely that he would have become another "forgotten man".

After being superceded in goal by John Mitchell, it would seem Harry restricted his sporting pursuits to cricket, however he never severed the link with Falkirk FC remaining on the committee for many a year afterwards. According to his obituaries, he was buried in Camelon Cemetery, however I have yet to locate the stone. The search continues....


Harry Smith c1880

Henry 'English Harry' Smith

b c1855, Farnham, Surrey
d 27th August 1928, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday June 14th 1879 v Bathgate (A) Friendly

Positions – Goalkeeper, Right-Back, Left-Back

Scottish Cup Matches /Goals [5/-]
Other Matches/Goals [13/-]

Known Career – Falkirk [1878/79-1882/83]

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

East Stirlingshire v Falkirk - Stirlingshire Cup Final 1888


When writing this blog, I have prided myself on two things, I like to stray from the topic of Falkirk FC [perhaps not often enough, but I am a bairn!], and I never shy away from parts of Falkirk's less than glorious past. To put it frankly some of the stuff I have had to read in researching the past has made me cringe.

This post is about a Stirlingshire Cup match, way back in the mists of time when the individual county cup competitions were second only to the Scottish Cup itself [the league was still a couple of years away]. And this match in particular is horrible to read.

I still regard the Falkirk v East Stirlingshire match as the true derby, yes, the Fifers are bitter rivals, but it is not a 'derby'. I have often alluded to the fact that once upon a time, the upper hand on the football field was in Bainsford, and this is one of those matches at a time when ESFC had a stunning line up and Falkirk's was so-so.

The team Falkirk put out on this day was a strong team in local circles, it had managed to get to the final after all, but on Saturday the 31st of March they came up against an East Stirlingshire that were flying.

Falkirk Herald - Sat Apr 7th 1888

STIRLINGSHIRE CUP - FINAL TIE

EAST STIRLINGSHIRE v FALKIRK

Camelon was invaded by almost 3000 football enthusiasts on Saturday last, the occasion being the final tie between East Stirlingshire and Falkirk for the possession of the handsome cup of the Stirlingshire Football Association. From about three o'clock the spectators continued to arrived in a continuous stream up till the hour of starting, four o'clock. During the time of assembling a sharp shower of hail fell, but it had no material effect on the ground, which was in excellent order; and during the game the weather was excellent. There was a slight breeze blowing along the ground from the north. The teams stripped in Falkirk, and drove out to the ground in brakes, and appeared slightly before the advertised time, East Stirlingshire, who appeared to be the favourites leading the way. The following were the teams :- East Stirlingshire - Goal, R.Sharp; backs, R.Wilson and D.Doyle; half-backs, A.Inch, W.Kadie & R.Johnston; forwards- right, J.Stewart and D.Kirkwood; centre, L.McLauchlan; left, H.Simpson and W.Dunn. Falkirk - Goal, J.Mitchell; backs, J.Liddle and M.Harley; half-backs, T.Bellingham, Wallace and W.Law; forwards- right, A.Stark and T.Donnelly; centre, Sinclair; left, W.Hamilton and J.McDonald. Mr Sneddon and Mr Watts were umpires; and Mr George Sneddon, referee- all gentlemen of the Edinburgh Association. The spin of the coin between McLauchlan and Harley was in favour of the former, and he decided to defend the railway goal, having the breeze in his team's favour. After being cautioned by the referee, the teams took up their positions.

Sinclair started the game by a long kick, which Inch attempted to return over his head, but failed. Wilson, returned the ball, however, and Stewart ran it into touch. Falkirk were the first to have a try at goal, as, after a struggle near the corner flag, the ball was sent over the goal-line. stewart repeated this at the otherend immediately after. After the kick from goal, Dunngot the ball and passed it over to McLauchlan, and then Stewart got it, and the latter tried a shot which went across the goal, and striking the inside of the post, bounded through - the firstgoal being scored amidst loud cheering. From the kick-off, a little midfield play was indulged in, and then Donnelly tried a long drooping shot which landed on the E.S. cross-bar, and bounded over. The ball was then carried to the Falkirk end where a fruitless corner was obtained, and several times sent wide. Falkirk hadthe ball near the midfield line when "hands" was given against them. Doyle undertook the kick, and landed the ball beautifully into goal, where, in a scrimmage, Dunn was credited with scoring a second goal for E.S. - the game only about 8 minutes old. Again the E.S. were back at the Falkirk goal, and it had a narrow shave from downfall, the ball being in the centre of a knot of players a yard from the line. Then a little even play followed for a few minutes, during which Falkirk played a flying visit to Sharp, but the shot was wide of the mark. Doyle then roused a cheer by a long shot he sent infrom midfield sailing through the Falkirk goal, Mitchell failing in his attempt to stop it. Time 15 minutes. "Hand" was given against Inch in midfield, and this helped Falkirk to keep the play in E.S. ground for a short time, but nothing occurred, and the ball was again back at the Falkirk goal, where, after a scrimmage, Liddle conceded a corner, and before it was cleared Harley had to concede another which was well placed - Dunn just grazing the post. Not to be denied, however, E.S. kept at it, and mcLauchlan with a high swift shot beat the Falkirk defence for the fourth time. Before half-an-hour of the game had gone, a throw-in near the Falkirk goal fell to the E.S., and from it Inch passed the ball to McLauchlan, and the latter had it through the Falkirk goal for the fifth time before Mitchell could make a movement to stop it. The Falkirk was more successful, however, a minute after, with a shot which Stewart tried. The Falkirk right wing got a pass from McDonald, and made some progress. when nearing goal Donnelly tried a shot which Doyle, in attempting to return, was near sending through his own goal, the ball just going over the bar at the opposite end to that at which Sharp was at the time standing. the corner-kick was well placed, but it was headed behind. E.S. got another corner from the run up after the goal-kick, which dunn undertook, and Mitchell had to fist a shot. A free kick fell to Falkirk, and they transferred the ball to the E.S. half where it remained for a couple of minutes, but the backs could not be beat, and Falkirk were called on to defend. The remaining five minutes were even,during which Falkirk got a corner which was well placed, but Wilson cleared. Three times E.S. sent the ball past the side of the Falkirk goal, and matters looked dangerous for Falkirk, when a foul was given against them near their own goal, but it too was sent wide. Half-time was called with the ball near midfield and the score standing :- East Stirlingshire 5 goals; Falkirk 0.

After the customary interval, the sound of Mr Sneddon's whistle caused the players to again take up their positions. McLauchlan started the leather, and the E.S. right wing made off down the field, but they were stopped near goal, and the ball returned. Kadie got it, but his attempt was too high. Stark & Donnelly were having a run up when Doyle brought them to a stop, and entrusted the ball to Simpson and Dunn, who, when near goal, sent the leather over to Kirkwood, and the latter scored goal No. 6 for the E.S. Falkirk were up near the E.S. goal ere they were brought to a stop, and the ball carried into the Falkirk ground, where, after Inch had an unsuccessful shot, Kirkwood had a try, which, like Donnelly's in the first half for Falkirk,landed on the cross-bar and bounded over. Unlike Sharp, however, Mitchell did not appear to think it was so dangerous, and was standing quite cool. the Falkirk defence was severely taxed, Liddle doing yoeman service in heading out the ball in the scrimmaging. A corner was conceded the E.E., and before the pressure had been relieved, Kirkwood made a cross to Dunn who scored the seventh point. Falkirk were up three-quarter field, when a mis-kick by Johnston let in Sinclair, but before he could get placed for shooting he was tackled. Afterwards Law sent the ball wide. Simpson was next noticable by a single-handed run down the centre past several men, and with the assistance of Stewart and McLauchlan, Dunn got the ball near the Falkirk goal, and scored No. 8. The E.S. again visited Falkirk end, but had to return fruitless, and a somewhat long shot was sent into Sharp (the first he had got to save during the game), and which he had no difficulty in kicking out. The E.S. got on the ball, and forced a corner at the Falkirk end, which came to nothing. Two "hands" in quick succession brought Falkirk up the field, but McLauchlan nullified these by a run past the Falkirk backs. He was hard pressed by Liddle, but not withstanding he had a shot which Mitchell kicked out. E.S. had another unfruitful corner, and then the ball was sent past each end. McLauchlan and Kirkwood then had achance each, but were very wide of the mark. Falkirk right wing then made off with the ball, and when within the E.S. ground, a little roughness between some of the players was exchanged which roused the feelings of the spectators somewhat, and Sharp had to return a shot. Dunn made off with the ball, and Liddle gave a corner which was unsuccessful. Falkirk then for a time had the better of the play, and several times sent the ball wide. During this time a foul was given against Stark for tripping Johnston, and one against Dunn for a charge behind. Doyle had to concede a corner, which was cleared, and when Stark was on the ball in midfield, Doyle attempted to stop him, and in the referee's opinion tripped him, for which Falkirk were granted a free kick. Harley sent the ball well into goal, and Sharp, in saving, ran more than the regulation distance with the ball in his hands. The referee granted a free kick about three yards from goal for this. In the melee Inch fouled the ball nearer the centre of the goal, and again a scrimmage was formed, during which the ball was forced through. This success was recieved with cheers by the Falkirk supporters, but E.S. appealed. Mr Sneddon ordered all the players back, and, after consultation with the umpires gave E.S. a goal kick, on the ground that Sinclair pushed the ball through with his hand. The E.S. then ran the ball down the field, and, after Mitchell had saved, Kirkwood scored the ninth goal after some good work between him and Stewart. This occurred close on time, and maintaining their supremacy to the end, East Stirlingshire won the Stirlingshire Cup for the third year in succession this time by a large majority of 9 goals to 0.

On Leaving the field there was a great hand-shaking between the winners and their admirers, but the vast assemblage, on the whole, conducted themselves in a very orderly manner."

PRESENTATION OF THE CUP

About 7 0'clock in the evening the two teams sat down to tea in the Crown Hotel, under the presidency of Mr James Wilson of Bantaskin (in the unavoidable absence of Mr T.D.Brodie of Gairdoch). The chairman was accompanied by Mr Mitchell of Millfield, Baillie Young, Mr John Reid secretary of the Stirlingshire Association; and the referee and the umpires of that day's match. Mr R.Bishop, vice-president of the S.F.A., acted as croupier, and the other members of committee were also present, after an excellent tea.

The Chairman proposed the loyal toasts, and Mr Mitchell of Millfield, proposed "The Army, Navy, and Armed Forces,"to which Sergeant Grey (King's Park) replied.

The Chairman then proceeded to present the cup to the winners, the East Stirlingshire team. Before doing so he regretted the absence of Mr Brodie, who had shown he had a lively interest in football, especially in the Falkirk and East Stirlingshire clubs. He acknowledged that he was in a very peculiar position, being president of the Falkirk club. At the same time he was proud of the Falkirk Club - (applause) - who had played an uphill game that day, and yet not a man deserted his post. He had the honour of being a custodian of the cup one year; and he was wondering when it was coming back (laughter). Baillie Young had got the cup at Camelon. He (Mr Wilson) had seen many cups, and, with the exception of the Eglinton Race Cup, he had not seen one better and more handsome than the one before him, which reflected credit on the association who possessed it, and also on the designer. The East Stirlingshire club, who had that day won the County Cup for the third time, was formed in the month of October 1880, so that it had only been in existence for a period of little more than seven years, and it spoke volumes for the energy and vitality of its members, who had raised it to the position which it at present occupied. The season now drawing to a close had been a remarkably good one for the East Stirlingshire club. Their 1st XI had a record which few clubs could equal and still fewer surpass. Including that day's game, 36 matches had been played, of which 26 were won, 5 were drawn, and 5 lost, 161 goals having been scored by the team and only 49 goals scored against them. Seventeen games were played with Stirlingshire clubs, 16 being won by the Bainsford team, and the other one drawn. In these games 101 goals were scored by the East Stirlingshire club and only 15 were scored against them, so that it was only fitting that a team which had gone through the season and earned such a record, should win the championship of their county. In the course of the competitionj for the cup, the winners had a fair share of the hard nuts to crack, having had to dispose of the Camelon, Stirling, Campsie and Falkirk clubs ere they reached their present position. In this competition they had won 32 goals and lost 6 goals. Mr Wilson said he had very great pleasure in handing over the cup to the custody of Baillie Young, the president of East Stirlingshire. The defeat that day, he hoped would stimulate the Falkirk club to greater exertion to win it back.

Baillie Young replied in a few words.

Mr Wilson then proposed "The Winning Team", to which Mr McLauchlan replied.

Mr John Reid proposed "The Defeated Clubs", coupled with the name of Mr Bishop, Falkirk, who said he did not know how the other clubs took their defeat in the competition, but the Falkirk club would take their defeat very ill that day. He hoped, as the teams were to meet shortly in the Charity ties, that the result would then be closer. He thought one of the drawbacks was a want of enthusiasm amongst the working officials of the Falkirk club.

The other toasts were :- "The Referee and Umpires", proposed by Mr Gray (King's Park), replied to by Mr Sneddon; "The Stirlingshire Football Association", proposed by Mr F.Watt, secretary, Edinburgh Association, and replied to by Mr Bishop; "The Chairman", "The Croupier", &c.

The proceedings were brought to a close shortly after nine o'clock by the singing of "Auld Lang Syne". During the evening several songs tended to enliven the harmony of the meeting."


Stirlingshire Athletic Notes - by Scrutator

"The destination of the Stirlingshire Cup, with all its attendant anxiety and excitement to some, has again been decided for another year, and for the third year in succession East Stirlingshire have secured the championship. When I hazarded the opinion that East Stirlingshire would win by a few goals, I hardly expected a difference of 9 goals to 0. This is the third time East Stirlingshire and Falkirk have met in the final for the county cup, and of all the matches this has been the most one-sided. Falkirk were never in the hunt, and were beaten at all points. Mitchell, the Falkirk custodian, is receiving a large share of the blame from his club supporters - in fact, I think he is getting more than he is entitled to. He did not get in the way of the ball so often as I have seen him; but, with perhaps the exception of one on Saturday, he was not in a position to save any of the points scored against him. Harley and Liddle played well at back. The half-back line was the poorest display, although it can't be said they played any worse than usual. Law was doing away fairly well at first, but as the game progressed he was not able to catch the E.S. right wing if they passed him; and thus the greater strain was put on Harley. Stark and Donnelly were the best of the forwards; but, as a rule, Johnston and Doyle robbed them of the ball before they made much progress. Sinclair was very slack; and as for Hamilton, he was hardly ever on the ball the whole time. Macdonald, when he got the ball, usually tried to centre a long way in front. Sharp, for the E.S., only had some three or four shots to save all day, so that he can hardly be said to have saved his team from defeat. Doyle, at back, played one of his best games, his kicking being powerful and judicious. Wilson was not far behind him till near the close, when he kicked very badly. Johnston was the best and hardest working of the half-backs, although this does not disparage the play of the other two in the least. The forwards showed good combination, which was the article required last Saturday. They all scored with the exception of Simpson, who, on such an important occasion, played as well as his neighbours. The right wing combination was tricky as usual. "Laurie", while leading the wings well, did not appear to greatly exert himself, though he did his work neatly. If I could spot any one who played a single handed game it woud be Dunn, who caused Liddle to show his fastest pace.
The "gate" amounted to £51 4s 3d, which is about £3 less than the same occasion last year. To look at the crowd one would have thought there would have been as many. the shouting was mainly on the one side, though there was a "pæan of joy" went up from the Falkirk supporters when the ball was put through the E.S. goal, which showed that the "bairns" were all there. I had a very enthusiastic lot behind me, one of whom was continually encoraging the E.S. to "knock off the Carron 15". He should be satisfied with 9, surely. The keen E.S. supporters were prominent with tickets in their hats. One of the happiest designs for these was one by the secretary with the figure of a cat on top of the goal-posts.
The "spread" after the match was a very good affair - not exciting, but good of its kind. East Stirlingshire came in for a good deal of laudation all round.
Bainsford was in a lively state till late in the evening, when fireworks were set off. when a rocket burst "Pullar" says he counted nine falling stars, and then there was - nothing. The Carron Band also stopped on its way home from a concert.
The rejoicings were continued on Monday evening at the "smoker" in Bainsford, when there was an attendance which filled the hall. Both the cups were on the table, and the meeting was most enthusiastic. The singing was exceptionally good, and the sentiment of "The Team" was recieved with musical honours, the Falkirk Iron Works Band, which was present, playing "The Conquering Hero".