Showing posts with label Falkirk Juniors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Falkirk Juniors. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Falkirk District Works Cup 1898

There have been many football competitions in Scotland from the international to the ultra-local, the best overall coverage of these competitions is on the Scottish Football Historical Archive. Research into these cups is ongoing, and in many places patchy is about the best compliment that can be paid. This is not to cast aspersions upon the many researchers and local historians beavering away at the coalface of Scottish Football History, the fact is that most of the games were simply not reported, and even when they were they were not reported adequately.

Which brings me to the latest obscure competition that I have been looking into, the rather clumsily titled Falkirk & District Junior Works Cup [I think]. Like I said coverage was patchy, it was reported that a Falkirk Works Junior Association had been formed in order to have a competition between the major companies in the district. The Falkirk Herald reported that the new FA was to be affiliated to the Falkirk & District Junior FA and the Competition would be played to their rules.

This brings up many unanswerable questions: since the Falkirk Junior FA was affiliated to the Stirlingshire Junior FA and therefore in turn also affliated to the Scottish Junior FA, were the players not cup tied by the tail-end of the season, or were they given an exemption, or did the teams only use players not already with the Junior Clubs of the District?

Like I said, this is completely unaswerable from this remove, since there were no reports as such, most of the games were only mentioned in passing in the Junior part of the 'Football Intelligence' columns [read 'Gossip columns'] of the local papers. I am not even completely sure that I have been able to find the complete competition since none of the draws were reported, however the matches that I have found do not bring up any glaring problems to what I believe the basic structure of the Cup was, though there is the possibility that some of the games here may have been replays of previous unreported matches.

First Round

Apr 12    Falkirk Foundry             3      Larbert Foundry             3
Apr 19    Abbots Foundry              5      Springfield Foundry         0
     Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]

There is clearly something missing from this round, most probably a replay for the Falkirk Foundry v Larbert Foundry match, however it is also possible that Larbert Foundry withdrew or were thrown out for an infringement, either way only Falkirk Foundry made it through to the next round.
I presume that Carron Foundry & Castlelaurie Foundry were given byes, however there is the possibility that they played [and won] matches against two [as yet] unknown opponents.

Semi-Finals

May 11    Carron Foundry              5      Abbots Foundry              6
     Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]
May 16    Falkirk Foundry             0      Castlelaurie Foundry        0

May 23    Falkirk Foundry             3      Castlelaurie Foundry        4
     Replay, Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]

Slight clarification needed here, the first two of these matches were referred to as Second Round matches, it was only in the replay that the papers stated Semi-Final, but it seems most likely that was just poor word choice.

Final

Jun 6     Abbots Foundry              3      Castlelaurie Foundry        2
     Played at Merchiston Park, Bainsford [ESFC]

One last thing to touch upon, of the six matches I can trace, four were reported to have taken place at Merchiston Park, for the other two there was no mention of the ground, I think it was quite likely that all the matches were played at Merchiston Park, the fact that none of the known matches took place on the same date gives this some traction, but I doubt if that will ever become clear, or will ever be relevant.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Obscure Matches : Stirlingshire Juniors v Stirlingshire Seniors


Junior Football in Falkirk has always been a very haphazard affair, there is no really strong tradition in the town. There is a long tradition in some of the outlying areas, but never really strong unlike say in Glasgow, Ayrshire or East Lothian. In Falkirk it has always been overshadowed by the senior clubs [few other 'conurbations' in Scotland carry three League sides in such proximity].

But right back in 1890s there were plenty of junior sides in Falkirk alone. For the most part they played on Victoria Public Park, but some had their own grounds, Falkirk Hawthorn played at Firs Park when East Stirlingshire were still playing in Bainsford, and Falkirk Thistle played on Princes Park to the South of Town. This along with borrowing Brockville for the big games [and Saturdays when Falkirk were away] they struggled through.

But although there were plenty of clubs, not all were big enough to make the local leagues strong enough. Every year they were re-organised, and every year it would struggle to be completed, both through lack of interest. Some problems were obvious, four big local sides Denny Athletic, Dunipace, Heather Rangers [Stenhousemuir] & Broomage Albion [Larbert] played in the Stirling & District Junior League. These would have been better off playing with the Falkirk, Grangemouth & Bainsford sides, alas they did not.

On top of this even back then there were so many Cups that the end of seasons were just, well, like they are now, there were many moves towards a Stirlingshire League before the main one was eventually set up, but more often as an afterthought, often concocted by the teams left out. Sometimes, like the Midland Junior League it was run alongside the Stirling & Falkirk Junior Leagues with the best teams from both, of course this meant two sets of home & away matches over & above cups & replays, so inevitably led to chaos.

What this meant was that both the leagues & the clubs themselves struggled to survive and had to play even more 'benefit' games to keep going. The point of this post, played on Tuesday 26th April 1898 for the Falkirk & District Junior League for the first time a representative side of Stirlingshire Juniors met a Senior Stirlingshire side [though made up solely of amateur players in the seniors] and did pretty well all told drawing on the hallowed turf of Brockville Park.


Of interest, is that this was probably the only time in their careers that the juniors got to play against a full international [David Alexander of ESFC]

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Falkirk Juniors v Stirling Juniors 1896

From the Falkirk Herald - Saturday March the 21st 1896


Just admit it Stirling, you are rubbish at football at every level.