Molesey Football Club

1897/98, was to be the season where Molesey really ‘went for it’. The previous season showed signs of their lofty ambitions to become ‘the strongest club in Surrey’. Well, this season, they entered into the Surrey Senior Cup, even getting a bye in round 1, straight through to the last 16, when they were drawn away to Redhill. Also, their fixture lists were as good as any other Surrey-based team, with the exception, perhaps of Richmond – who were the top team in the local area.

Molesey maintained 3 sides, calling their 2nds, the ‘A’ team, and the 3rds, the ‘B’ team. At the end of October, that ‘B’ side, and a team called Bluebell F.C, came together to make, ‘Molesey Juniors’ – the very first appearance of that name, which even now is well known in Molesey. Football was catching on here, for a Molesey side entered the Kingston and District Schools league for the first time that season too…

Date H/A Opposition Comp. Res. Scorers
11th Sept H Members match Fr p/p Other events clashed
18th H Bow club Fr 7 - 1 Young, Walton Evans (3), Holdaway, Criddle, Stagg,
25th H Lewisham Town Fr 1 - 5 Rowell
2nd Oct H Barnes Incogniti Fr 2 - 0 C. Davis (2)
9th A Ealing Fr 1 - 6
13th H St. Johns, Leatherhead Fr 3 - 3 J. J. Knox playing
16th A Hampton Hill Fr 3 - 4
23rd H Balham Wanderers Fr 0 - 0
30th H Eversleigh Fr 1 - 1
17th Nov H Guildford Fr 1 - 1
20th A Walton Fr 1 - 0
27th H Ealing Fr 2 - 1
4th Dec A Redhill SSC:2 0 - 5
11th H Balham Wanderers Fr 0 - 3
18th A St. Margarets Fr ?
8th Jan A Barnes Incogniti Fr 1 - 3 At East Sheen
5th Feb H Hampton Hill Fr ?
2nd April H Weybridge Ben 5 - 1
9th H Surbiton Melrose Fr ?

Key:- Fr – Friendly; SSC – Surrey Senior Cup; Ben – Benefit match for Mr. Joe Apps, the groundsman.

Before the season started, at the AGM, Mr. H. G. Andrews replaced Mr. P. Cobbett as captain. The meeting, at the Castle Hotel, chaired by Mr. E. Stagg, also “resolved that the committee have power to appoint the match selection committee, and also to

consider the rules and make a report on the same to a future general meeting.” Financially, the club were up, a deficit of £1 17s from 1896, being overturned, to a profit of £6 8s 6d. When the season began, most of the previous season’s players were seen again, plus some more from the newly defunct club, Ferry Works.

The line up for the 1st match of the season, was:- C. Davis, goal; C. Ive and H. G. Andrews, backs; J. Wheatley, P. Cobbett and R. Lockett, half-backs; F. Holdaway, E. Young, H. Criddle, E. Stagg and Walton Evans, forwards. The match, “before a fair number of spectators”, saw a Bow side visit with a good reputation (already having won 3 or 4 times so far) start well for 20 minutes, before Molesey struck twice before half-time. “After changing ends the home side had matters pretty well as they liked”, and Walton Evans completed his hat-trick.

The following week, a match had been arranged, Vs Old Wilsonians, but the latter were unable to meet them. A new fixture had to be very quickly arranged, and this brought the strong Lewisham Town club down to Hampton Court Green.

Saturday, 25th September 1897, Molesey: 1, Lewisham Town: 5

“On kicking off, steady play was the order, and a very even first half was the result, nothing being scored by either side up to half-time. But on ends being changed, Lewisham put on three goals in about seven minutes, and Molesey quickly followed with 1 goal, but the visitors were not to be denied, and almost immediately scored another goal. Play then became more even, Walton Evans at centre making desperate efforts to score, but the visitors’ defence was too good, and he did not appear to be supported so well as he should have been by the right wing. Lewisham then scored their fifth goal and won by five goals to one. The home side, were at a disadvantage in the second half, as A. Young was suffering from cramp, although he did not leave the field. Hope and Andrew played very finely at back, J. Wheatley also did god work at half-back and Evans played a grand game as centre, while Stagg and Holdaway on the right wing were seen to much advantage. Rowell scored the goal for Molesey.”

2 goals for C. Davis in the second half, saw off Barnes Incogniti, but when ‘Murphy put his leg out’ at Ealing the following week, the 10 men went down 1 – 6. 4 days later,Dr. J. J. Knox, put in one of his rare appearances in a 3 – 3 home draw against St. Johns, Leatherhead. 3 days later, and the Doctor refereed the following thriller…

Saturday 16th October 1897: Hampton Hill: 4, Molesey: 3

“Hampton Hill v. Molesey. Played at Hampton-Hill on Saturday. Great excitement is always caused by matches between these two clubs, and Saturday’s match was no

exception, there being fully 400 present when the Referee started the game. Molesey won the toss and played with a strong wind and sun at their backs, the usefulness of this quickly apparent as in less than eight minutes they had scored 2 goals. Lush having no chance to save. Molesey continued to press, until the Hilliers getting away looked dangerous and Andrews punching the ball gave the home team a free kick, which they made good use of and scored their first goal. The game got faster now, and Dobby got knocked out for two minutes by an accidental kick. Molesey soon after scored again and from the kick off a good run was put in by Avis, Halliday and Boord, the visitors’ goal keeper having to concede a corner, which was fruitless. F. Storey and Wilson on the left wing were playing well. Molesey then worked the ball down, Dobby and Stagg doing good work for their side, the latter however finding that Lukyn was a hard nut to crack. Halliday got possession just over the half-way line and cleverly dribbling straight on, passed both halves and backs, but just as he steadied himself to shoot he was knocked off the ball by Wheatley, who had come back at a rare pace and just now was playing a grand game. Half-time came with Molesey … 3 goals, Hampton Hill … 2 goals. Immediately after the re-start, the Hilliers took up the attack and Wilson missed by inches, Molesey now brought Helyer into goal and the change was the means of averting a much larger score; for the second half was a bombardment, the Hilliers having nearly all the game, but the excitement never ceased until the finish, for although Hampton scored their third goal early in this half, the excellent defence of their opponents, especially of Andrews (the Surrey County player) kept the score equal, and a draw was the expected result until about five minutes from time when Halliday beat the goal-keeper and gave Hampton Hill the victory. Molesey Team: R. Rodwell, goal; C. Ive, and H. G. Andrews, backs; J. Wheatley, E. Dobby, and P. Wheatley, half-backs; C. J. Helyer, H. Fread, F. Holdaway, W. Garland, and E. Stagg, forwards.”

The following Saturday, a “splendid game”, saw the strong Balham Wanderers side held 0 – 0, at the green before the club’s annual dinner took place that very evening at the Castle Hotel. The local M.P, Mr. T. T. Bucknill, Q.C., took the chair, and proposed the toast of that evening, ‘Success to the Molesey Football club’. He went on, by stating that ‘he noticed by their card that they had sixty-five fixtures, and out of that number he fully expected that they would win at least sixty. (Laughter) One of the objects of that annual gathering was to enlist into the fighting body of the club the same sort of spirit that the Gordon Highlanders displayed in India a few days ago. (Hear, hear) They knew that Molesey had to win matches, and win them they must, and he hoped the next time he came among them the honorary secretary would be able to tell him that they had won the majority by determination and training.’ Then praising the hon. Secretary (B. J. Bonar) and the club captain (H. G. Andrews), the latter responded after

replying in kind, by stating, ‘He could assure them that they had a very strong club, and if members would only turn up and play they would be hard to beat.’ The club President (Mr. de Wette) was away, but had written, ‘He trusted the members would make an effort to play when they were chosen to do so, and he hoped for the honour of Molesey they would make a good show in the Surrey Senior Cup.’ (Applause) There was a further reference to wishing the members would keep their promises to play when chosen. This was to be a problem for this season.

The following week, a 1 – 1 draw with Eversleigh was obtained, and the same score achieved against Guildford on a Wednesday next month. Although the visitors fielded a weak side, “the constitution of the home side was the subject of very strong remarks by many of those present.” 4 or 5 substitutes had to be obtained. However good wins at Walton, 1 – 0; and home to Ealing, 2 – 1; set up Molesey for their much anticipated 2nd Round Surrey Senior Cup tie at Redhill in December. A simple report, just gave, ”Molesey visited Redhill who easily defeated them by 5 – 0”. Molesey put in a protest due to the state of the opponents’ pitch, but the claim was dismissed as frivolous, and the fee was retained. Balham Wanderers, who were to be Redhill’s third round opponents again visited the Green the week after, and this time, there was no draw as they beat us 0 – 3. General interest in the club started to wane after this…

Molesey Reserves
Date H/A Opposition Comp. Res. Scorers
2nd Oct A Barnes Incognti Fr 6 - 0 Baldwin (3), Bowell (2), N. Garland
9th A St. Marks 2nd Fr 1 - 4
9th H Dittons United Fr 1 - 2
6th Nov H Woking 2nd Fr 7 - 3
20th H Barnes 2nd Fr 2 - 0
4th Dec A Dittons United Fr ?
18th H St. Margarets 2nd Fr ?
26th H Hampton Hill 2nd Fr ?
27th H Clapham team Fr 1 - 2
22nd Jan A St. Mark’s 2nd Fr 1 - 2
5th Feb A Hampton Hill ‘A’ Fr ?
26th Mar H Middle Mill Fr ?
Molesey Juniors F.C
Date H/A Opposition Comp. Res. Scorers
16th Oct H Hersham Albany 2nd Fr ?

23rd H Kingston Rovers Fr ?
23rd H Bluebell Vs Tiffins 2nd Fr 8 - 1
30th A Teddington res Fr 1 - 4
13th Nov H All Saints Fr 1 - 0 Stollery
27th H Gigg’s Hill Fr 2 - 0
4th Dec A Malden Juniors Fr 2 - 2 Stollery, A. Cathrow
18th H St. Alban’s Fr ?
1st Jan A Gigg’s Hill Fr 0 - 5
22nd H Middle Mill Fr ?
22nd H St. Peters Fr ?
12th Feb H St. Alban’s Fr ?
26th A Kingston Rovers Fr ?
5th March A St. Peter’s Fr 0 - 1
5th A Dittons United Fr ?
19th A Hersham Albany 2nd Fr ?
26th H Dittons United Fr ?
Molesey – Kingston & District Schools side
Date H/A Opposition Comp. Res. Scorers
2nd Oct H Hampton Hill KDsL 0 - 5
9th A St. Mark’s KDsL 0 - 8
16th H Claygate KDsL 10 - 0
23rd A Christ Church KDsL won scratched - 2pts
6th Nov A St. John’s KDsL 0 - 7
13th H St. Paul’s KDsL 0 - 2
20th A Thames Ditton KDsL 1 - 3
4th Dec A St. Luke’s KDsL 0 - 11
11th H Public KDsL 5 - 1
15th Jan A Hampton Hill KDsL 1 - 2
22nd H St. Mark’s KDsL 1 - 2
29th H St. John’s KDsL 1 - 3
12th H St. Luke’s KDsL 0 - 5
5th March A St. Paul’s KDsL 0 - 0

KDsL – Kingston and District Schools League. After the 0 – 11 defeat at St. Luke’s in December, the league record read as played – 6, lost – 6, goals for – 1, goals against – 36. Molesey bounced back the following week, with a 5 – 1 home win Vs Kingston Public Schools, the paper stated, ”Molesey did well in defeating Public by five to one, and will not remain long at the bottom if they keep up their form of Saturday last.”

Kingston & District Schools League – Final table.

PLD W D L F A PTS H A
St. Mark’s 16 14 2 0 43 4 30 1 - 2 0 - 8
St. John’s 16 12 1 3 43 11 25 1 - 3 0 - 7
Hampton Hill 16 11 0 5 33 17 22 0 - 5 1 - 2
St. Luke’s 16 9 3 4 32 13 21 0 - 5 0 - 11
St. Paul’s 16 7 3 6 20 14 17 0 - 2 0 - 0
Molesey 16 5 1 10 9 49 11 XXX XXX
Public 16 3 2 11 9 36 8 5 - 1 win
Thames Ditton 16 2 2 12 12 39 6 win 1 - 3
Long Ditton 16 2 0 14 6 20 4 win win

Claygate and Christ Church withdrew from the league in mid-November, and so their record was expunged from the league. At the end of February, Long Ditton withdrew, but their record remained; as Molesey had not played them, 2 wins were awarded. Shortly after, in March, the same thing happened with Thames Ditton, and Kingston Public, so Molesey were given a win in the fixtures that were yet to have been played.

Back to the first team, and in April, a benefit match for the groundsman, Joe Apps, was arranged when the reserves of Weybridge (their first team had just won the Surrey Senior Cup the week before). This time, Molesey fielded a strong side…

Benefit Match: Saturday 2nd April 1898, Molesey: 5, Weybridge ‘A’: 1

“Played on Hampton Court-green on Saturday before a large number of spectators, and was arranged for the benefit of Joe Apps the Molesey ground man, the collection realizing over £3. The home side placed a good team in the field, too strong as it turned out for the visitors, although they played a good game, some good play being seen on both sides. At the start Molesey kicked towards the Barracks and scored, Davis getting the ball through, Murphy soon adding another goal. Then Weybridge secured their first and only goal. Davis again scored for the home side, and on changing ends the game stood, Molesey 3, Weybridge 1. On re-starting Davis and Robertson scored, and at the finish Molesey won by 5 goals. Molesey:- C. Rule; H. G. Andrews, H. Mabey; C. Ive, E. Dobby, W. Young; C. Davis, H. G. Robertson, D. Murphy, J. Wheatley and E. Stagg. Referee: Dr. J. J. Knox

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League Tables

The Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League » Premier Division

1 Cove 15 38
2 Ashford Town (Middx) 14 37
3 Molesey 13 30
4 Camberley Town 15 30
5 Windsor 13 29
6 Spelthorne Sports 13 26
7 Epsom & Ewell 15 20
8 Colliers Wood United 15 20
9 Mole Valley SCR 15 19
10 Hartley Wintney 12 19
11 Frimley Green 14 19
12 Bedfont Sports 14 19
13 Raynes Park Vale 13 18
14 Horley Town 16 16
15 Farnham Town 16 16
16 Badshot Lea 15 15
17 Knaphill 15 15
18 Chertsey Town 14 13
19 Westfield 15 12
20 Guildford City 16 10
21 Hanworth Villa 14 8

Last updated Saturday 25th October, 21:12