Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Back to the beginning
After a brief hiatus, we're back to the history lessons boys and girls. We've already seen how, during Headington FC's first few months of existence, they played their first recorded game against Cowley Barracks, losing 2-1, before drawing at home to Victoria 3-3 and then losing 6-0 away to the same opponents. Headington's next reported match was away to City Junior League members Clarendon Press on 10 February 1894, which was covered by Jackson's Oxford Journal a fortnight later:
If your images are disabled, the report reads thus:
CLARENDON PRESS v. HEADINGTON UNITED.- This match was played on Saturday, the 10th inst., on the ground of the former. The home team from various causes were without half their best men, and consequently requisitioned the services of five of their reserves. The visitors won the toss and played with the wind (which was blowing very strongly), and held their opponents for a time, but could not score. Eventually the Press broke away, and from a pass by W. Bowen, Elderfield notched the first point for them, and they led at half-time by one goal to nil. On the change of ends the tables were completely turned, and the home team penned the visitors, who rarely got beyond the half-way flag. A goal by Thomas was ruled off side, but the printers ran out easy winners by five goals to nil, W. Bowen, E. J. Sawyer, Elderfield, and Weller doing the needful in the second half.
(Note that the club is still referred to as Headington United, even though the club didn't change their name to this until the summer of 1911.) The following week Headington again played Clarendon Press, presumably in a return fixture, although the venue wasn't specified, and this time our boys went down 1-0. So five games into their existence, and the side had drawn one and lost four. The only other game reported from Headington's first season was against Cherwell Rovers, about whom I know nothing. The game took place on 10 March, and resulted in Headington's first victory, the lads from over the hill notching up a 2-0 win. Unfortunately there is no record of either the venue or the scorers, but who cares!
After a long relaxing summer playing cricket (in those days the football season was strictly October-March and the cricket season was April-September) the Jackson's Oxford Journal reported on 6 October 1894 the composition of the City Junior League for the forthcoming season. Headington were shortly to play their first competitive fixture:
Headington were one of four new teams to join the league, and were allocated to A Division, along with their friendly opponents from the previous February, Clarendon Press. Other teams in the A Division (the divisions were lettered rather than numbered to emphasise that there was no difference in status between them) were St. Barnabas, Cowley St. John, College Servants 2nd., Wanderers 2nd., and St. Peter-le-Bailey. Although the article states that the 'competition commences on October 20th...', Headington didn't actually play their first league game until 17 November.