Lancaster nostalgia: Holroyd brothers
Local historian Terry Ainsworth takes a looks back at the triumph for Wray Football Club.
Three Holroyd brothers, John, Joe and Len played for Wray and a fourth, William, was secretary.
One of the brothers had played for Lancaster Town in 1921.
In season 1922-23 Wray had finished in sixth place in a 14 team league which was won by Bowerham and were confident they could improve on that position in 1923-24.
With a draw and five wins Wray stormed to the top of the league only to suffer their first loss to Lune Rovers by the odd goal in three.
The villagers then drew 1-1 at home in the first round of the Parkinson Cup before succumbing 0-3 in the replay against division two side Lancaster Railway United who were all employees of the railway.
Wray found a rich vein of form over the next few weeks drawing two, losing two and winning seven but Lune Rovers still maintained their lead at the top of the league with Storey’s Reserves and Park Ward pressing in third and fourth place respectively.
A home game against the league leaders, Lune Rovers, gave the villagers the opportunity to narrow the gap at the top but after a hard fought game honours remained even at 2-2.
In early March 1924 Wray cancelled their game with Moorlands Celtic because of the sudden death of the Vicar, Reverend E M White, who was president of the club and a keen supporter.
From now until the end of the season Wray would wear black armbands in memory of their president “Wray’s meritorious win over Lune Rovers” was the headline in the Lancaster Guardian and the report pointed to the fact that the two top teams in division three of the North Lancashire and District League provided a feast of entertainment to their many loyal supporters.
It read: “Football fever raged on the Giant Axe Field on Saturday night when Wray and Lune Rovers met in the final of the Lancaster Infirmary Junior Shield. Locally the odds were slightly in favour of the Rovers and Wray were to a large extent the dark horse.
“Partisans of both teams wearing their respective favours were much in evidence though those of the yellow and black (Lune Rovers) dominated over the blue (Wray) to a great extent. An average crowd assembled and the weather conditions at the start had improved considerably.
“Wray went ahead in the first minute when an attack ended with Len Holroyd gaining possession and slamming the ball past goalkeeper Liver. The rest of the first half was fairly even with both sides attacking and at the interval the score remained 1-0 to Wray.
“For most of the second half Rovers played some excellent football but could not break down the resolute defence of the villagers. In a breakaway Tom Bevins increased Wray’s lead when he scored from close in. Up to the final whistle Wray seemed content to rest on their laurels as Rovers constantly attacked but to no avail.
“J Bargh, Joe Holroyd, Len Holroyd and Harry Platt were a forceful quartet for Wray whilst A Bleasdale, A Rennison and M Howe served Lune Rovers admirably.”
At the close Mr W H Inman (chairman of the North Lancashire and District League) presented the Junior Shield to Len Holroyd, captain of the winning team.
Len Holroyd, in a typical sporting manner called for “three cheers for Lune Rovers”.
The Wray team still wore black armbands in memory of their late president, the Reverend E M White, who would have been proud that his team had carried off the shield with a 2-0 victory and Wray finished in second place in division three, three points behind their great rivals Lune Rovers.
Story sponsored by Sound and Vision, Lancaster. Go to www.soccernostalgia.co.uk for more articles.