Where it all began - 1923-24 The First County Final for Schools played at the Gay Meadow
BACKGROUND to the introduction of a County Competition for Elementary schools in Shropshire. District Leagues for Elementary Schools football had long been established when the idea to introduce a “County Competition” was introduced in the early part of 1924.
The following article appeared in the Shrewsbury Chronicle 22nd February 1924 “Schoolboys’ Championship of Shropshire”
With a view to encouraging sports and recreation among the elementary schoolboys of the county, it is proposed to offer for competition among the various schools a football trophy, carrying with it the Schoolboy Championship of Shropshire.
A meeting of the provisional committee was held at the Albert Hotel, Shrewsbury, on 15th February, and representatives attended from the Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Oswestry and Wrekin Divisions.
It was decided that the title of the competition should be “Shropshire Elementary Schoolboys’ county shield competition. “ and that boys taking part must be pupils of the School they represent, and under 14 years of age on January 14th. A sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. T. F. Holden (Chairman of the Shrewsbury Elementary Schools’ Athletic Association), E. Higham and S. Philpott (Shrewsbury) was appointed to draw up rules. The competition is to be divided into areas, consisting of Shrewsbury, Ludlow and South Shropshire; Oswestry and Wrekin, and the matches drawn are to be played in suitable geographical districts, under the supervision of the local schools’ associations. The semi-final and final ties will be conducted by the county Association, the Shropshire FA to defray the cost of travelling expenses of the competing teams at these stages. As the school terms ends on April 17th, it is hoped that the final will be played about that period. Much interest is already being taken in the competition by the various schools and the general public, and the action of the County FA in promoting the game, with the object of providing suitable recreation and sport for the boys under the best possible conditions, is much appreciated. The Secretary for the competition protem is Mr. S. Philpott, 4 St. John Street, Shrewsbury.
1923-4 The First County Final for Schools played at the Gay Meadow.
St. Michael’s (Shrewsbury) Versus Ketley Bank.
Since the inauguration of the Shrewsbury Elementary Schools Athletic Association, local interest in juvenile sports has increased by leaps and bounds and as a further encouragement to the schools of the county, the officials of the Shropshire Football Association, have extended their interest in providing a splendid trophy in the nature of a shield, costing over £40, to be competed for annually. It is a fitting culmination to a remarkably successful season that the unbeaten team of St. Michael’s should hold this shield, for the first year, this honour being gained by their victory over Ketley Bank on the Gay Meadow. An unfortunate fall of rain rendered the going somewhat heavy for the youngsters but nevertheless, a very pleasing game was witnessed, with a strong contrast in styles, markedly in favour of the home players.
The St. Michael’s team dominated the game from the beginning excellent runs being made by Tipton on the right wing and Wassall on the left. Some good centres were sent across the goalmouth which were not taken advantage of, the slippery state of the ground being responsible to some extent. As the game progressed, the Ketley Bank defence got no respite and Hayward, in goal, effected good clearances from Wassall. A Howells and Parrs, Ketley Bank kicked away strongly. Jones, at Centre Half, being prominent in holding up St. Michael’s centre and rendering ineffective many promising movements. The visitors, however, found themselves unable to break through a stronger defence, the halves and backs of St. Michaels being able to check all advances of their opponents. Phillips almost succeeded in converting a centre from Wassall who later nearly scored with a shot which struck the upright. Ketley Bank were fortunate in having no goal registered against them in the first half.
On resuming, St. Michael’s immediately broke away.Tipton running down on the right past to A. Howells, who beat Pagett in speed and scored with a fast shot in the first minute. Ketley Bank made a good effort in the centre and Suter was penalised but the free kick was placed outside. The left wing of the visitors, particularly, F. Jones, made several good efforts but were never really dangerous. Wassall, who was injured towards the end of the first half, was compelled to retire but Ketley Bank reaped no advantage for Phillips and Suter more than held their own on the left, the former, well meriting applause for some individual efforts. The second goal was scored by Tipton who finished a good run by shooting strongly along the ground, Hayward being unable to prevent the ball rolling over the line. Jones and Onions, worked through the St. Michael’s defence but Evans easily cleared the only shot he had to deal with during the game.
St. Michael’s were clearly the superior side throughout their teamwork and general understanding being excellent. Ketley Bank were continuously on the defensive and a pleasing feature of the game was the excellent goalkeeping of Hayward.
After the match both teams were entertained to tea by the Shropshire Football Association. The Mayor (Councillor R. Bates-Maddison) and the Chief Constable (Mr. F. Davies) were present and addressed the boys. On behalf of the Shropshire Association the Chief Constable stated the reasons for not presenting medals with the shield. Working in conjunction with the various schools associations, the aim is to be inculcate in the boys, a true sporting spirit, as opposed to that of personal gain.
Teams St. Michael’s - Evans; Tunley; Glover; Roberts; Parry; Suter; Tipton; A. Howells; E. Howells; Phillips; Wassall.
Ketley Bank – Hayward; Edge; Pagett; Anderson; J. Jones; Simpson; Evans; Pearce; Edwards; Onions; F. Jones.
Referee – Mr. R. Hughes