Blast from the past

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Andrew Cornell looks back at Blues’ latest finishes

The two worst winters of the 20th century were probably 1946-47 and 1962-63 which explains why these were the two latest competitive finishes to a season BSFC ever had.

Early 1947 saw heavy snow and huge disruption in a country just recovering from Word War II. With fuel rationing and infrastructure in a poor state this winter caused serious hardship. The football season was badly disrupted and no floodlights available to help caused major fixture congestion. For BSFC there was no long white out – just a constant drip drip of postponements so that they played only three games in January, one in February and three in March. All these led to the last latest ever league game ever played when we took on Crown and Manor in the Spartan League on Monday 26th May 1947 – Whit Monday as it was then – would now be called Spring Bank Holiday. It was really worth waiting for though as we won the game 11-0. A brief report in the Herts & Essex Observer (probably had a lot of cricket games to cover) gives the information that this was a game of two halves. Stortford led 1-0 at half time but then ran riot to the tune of 10 goals in the second half. Interestingly the away game against the same opponents had seen a 4-3 defeat, so they were no push over. The main beneficiaries were J Graham with five goals and Ken Yates with four , the other two scored by Lambert.

Sixteen years later the bad weather started on Boxing Day 1962 and for the next two months the country was like the set of the movie Frozen with Blues playing their first game of 1963 in March! The Delphian League season was abandoned and replaced with an emergency competition, the FA Cup final was put back three weeks and Stortford had their latest ever competitive game playing the Herts Charity Cup final at Rhodes Avenue on June 1st. It’s not clear why it was so late, our previous game was on 14th May and St Albans finished their league programme on May 18th, possibly neither team wanted to play on Cup final day – May 25th.

We had lost to St Albans in the 1957 Herts Charity Cup final but this time we got revenge winning 3-1 with goals from Harkness, Collett and Francis. It must have seemed like a very short close season that year.

 1947 BSFC 11 Crown & Manor 0 – Spartan League Premier Division

Scorers: Graham (5), Yates (4), Lambert (2)


1963 BSFC 3 St Albans City 1 – Herts Charity Cup Final

Cherry, Yell, Atkinson, Pope, Neeves, Wilson, Harkness, Collett, Gough, Rolph, Francis Scorers: Harkness, Collett, Francis

Author: Dave Ryan