Diminutive ‘modern gladiators’ in Easter Monday football showdown

Greaves School, 1946/47.'Back Row:  Les Sillito (teacher), Gordon Forrest, Len Isaacs, Ray Palmer, Ronnie Mitchell, Colin Shaw, Colin Atkinson.'Front Row: Reg Bleasdale, Eric Acton, Jack Wilkinson, Mike Parker, AN Other
Greaves School, 1946/47.'Back Row: Les Sillito (teacher), Gordon Forrest, Len Isaacs, Ray Palmer, Ronnie Mitchell, Colin Shaw, Colin Atkinson.'Front Row: Reg Bleasdale, Eric Acton, Jack Wilkinson, Mike Parker, AN Other
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Terry Ainsworth blows the whistle on memories which attracted a huge crowd to the Giant Axe in 1924 to see extra-time drama.

More than 2,000 toys had been presented to children under eight at the respective schools in the morning and down on the Giant Axe an enormous crowd of thousands had gathered in splendid weather to enjoy a traditional Easter Monday in 1924.

Caton United, 1957/58.'Champions of Division I of the North Lancs League and winners of the Senior Challenge Cup and the Senior Charity Cup.'Back Row: Tom Parkinson (treasurer), Bob Porthouse, Martin Fletcher, Joe Eddington, Bill Carruthers, Alan Shaw, Jack Akrigg, Ronnie Bargh, Albert Robinson, Frank Wimlett (secretary).'Front Row: Dougie Brown, Eric Acton, Dougie Procter (captain), Terry Procter (mascot), Ted Fairclough, Jock Kerr.

Caton United, 1957/58.'Champions of Division I of the North Lancs League and winners of the Senior Challenge Cup and the Senior Charity Cup.'Back Row: Tom Parkinson (treasurer), Bob Porthouse, Martin Fletcher, Joe Eddington, Bill Carruthers, Alan Shaw, Jack Akrigg, Ronnie Bargh, Albert Robinson, Frank Wimlett (secretary).'Front Row: Dougie Brown, Eric Acton, Dougie Procter (captain), Terry Procter (mascot), Ted Fairclough, Jock Kerr.

Excitement accompanied the entrance of two teams of modern gladiators, diminutive perhaps but all as “keen as mustard”.

Christ Church and Bowerham were facing each other in the final of the William Smith Festival Shield.

The teams were so well matched that when time was up neither side had scored so extra time was embarked upon, which ended when Bowerham gained a corner and won the shield to the delight of their supporters.

The progress of the teams to the final was as follows:

Bowerham School, 1923/24.'Displaying the William Smith Shield that they won after defeating Christ Church in the final on Easter Monday 1924.'Mr R Davies is far left on the back row, headmaster Mr G R Roberts is centre back row and far right is Mr R Jemmison. Stood to the right of Mr Jemmison is Edward 'Ted' Acton, goalkeeper, who was the father of an outstanding North Lancashire League footballer, Eric Acton, who played with distinction for Hustlerite Juniors, Red Rose Boys Club, Ingleboro, Bentham United and Caton United. On the right of the front row is Fred Willan.

Bowerham School, 1923/24.'Displaying the William Smith Shield that they won after defeating Christ Church in the final on Easter Monday 1924.'Mr R Davies is far left on the back row, headmaster Mr G R Roberts is centre back row and far right is Mr R Jemmison. Stood to the right of Mr Jemmison is Edward 'Ted' Acton, goalkeeper, who was the father of an outstanding North Lancashire League footballer, Eric Acton, who played with distinction for Hustlerite Juniors, Red Rose Boys Club, Ingleboro, Bentham United and Caton United. On the right of the front row is Fred Willan.

First round:

Dallas Road 1 St Thomas’s 0

St Joseph’s 3 St Luke’s 0

Christ Church 1 St Peter’s 0

Bowerham 0 Boys National 0

Greaves, Skerton & Scotforth - bye

Second round:

St Joseph’s 1 Greaves 1

Dallas Road 1 Skerton 0

Bowerham 2 Scotforth 0

Christ Church - bye

Semi-finals: Christ Church 3 St Joseph’s 1; Bowerham 3 Dallas Road 2

Final: Bowerham 0 Christ Church 0

The festival had ended again and spectators left the scene of countless encounters through the remnants of eggshells of various hues.

They were all consumed with a strong desire that is common to all humanity and that was to get home for tea.

We are all children at heart as anyone could discover at the Lancaster Eastertide Festival.

l Terry Ainsworth’s latest book, Famous Old Clubs, is now on sale at Vincenzo’s cafe in Lancaster, priced at £15, and makes perfect reading while you peruse the menu.

See Helen or one of the staff for your copy and enjoy reading about the clubs and players who played such a pivotal role in the rich history of the North Lancashire Leagues between the years 1891 and 1970.

The book is dedicated to Jimmy Brown, an iconic figure in local football, and the foreword is written by widely respected journalist and former editor of The Visitor, Mike Whalley.