Witney and District Football Association: History and Achievements



Football had been played in the district well before the formation of the W D F A in 1908. Witney Town F C was thought to have been formed in 1885 but the report of a meeting in 1885 talks of reviving the club so it must have existed in some form at a carrier date. The Oxfordshire Football Association, formed in January 1884, was organis*s football at both Senior and Junior levels. In 1908 a Wychwood League and a Filkins League were already in existence. 1 I think tfie domain of a local Witney League may have been influenced by travelling as at the time , of course, there were few cars and no bus services to speed off. Most players would have walked or cycled to the matches. For cup matches clubs were paid travelling expenses to attend the finals

in Wit0ey. They would probably have employed a local carrier to provide the transport. The first meeting called to discuss the formation of a Witney and District Football Association was held in the Church House,

Wimey , on May 4″ 1908. 1“he Witney Gazette reported as

“ A preliminary meeting to discuss the ability of forming a Witney and District Football Association was held at the Church House on Thursday evening. There were over thirty present and Mr F Hayter, supported by the Rector (the Revd B Kirby), presided. The Clubs represented were :- Witney Cygnets, Gordons, O B U, Harriers, North Cigl, Handborough, Southleigh and Bampton. It was proposed by Mr A Paxton, and seconded by Mr A Viner, that a Witney and District Football should be formed. Mr Gordon, (Secretary of the Oxfordshire F A) heartily supported the resolution. If they comirienced, he said , with a Junior Association, confining it to only a small area, there was every probability of there soon being able to develop into a much stronger Senior Association. He was , indeed, very pleased to find that something was being done in this part to promote that interest. The Rector also suppoñed the resolution, which was then put aad carried unanimously. Mr A Paxton, on the proposition of MR F Haytei’, seconded by Mr W Mason, was appointed Secretary pro tern. There was considerable discussion with regard to the radius. Mr W Mason proposed, and Mr A Hitclunan seconded, that it should be eight miles. Mr A Viner proposed, and Mr V Pearson seconded, that it should be six miles. Mr M K Tuner suggested that the six miles radius be accepted , but that Burford should be allowed to enter as they were prevented from competing in any of the County Leagues. Mr Viner and Mr Pearson included this suggestion iii theé proposal, and Mr Meson and Mr Hitchman withdrew their proposition. The proposition that the Association should be comprised of Burford and th* teams within a radius of six miles were then carried. It was decided, on the proposition of Mr W Mason, seconded by Mr A Paxton, to adopt the league system of competition in preference to the knock-out system. Mr Gordon referred to the qualification of players, suggesting that they should endeavour to confine teams to the playing of local men. The Rev. J B Kirby expressed his belief in the residential qualification. The question was left to be decided at a general meeting to be filed in the course of a month or so. The following committee was appointed :- Messrs, A Paxton (Gordons), E Lloyd (O B U). V Pearson (Northleigh), W Mason (Harriers), A Bridgtnan(Cygnets), H Green (Southleigh) , W Midwinter (Hanborough), and Mr Hayter, Mr Gordon and the Rector, with power to add to their number.

A TROPHY :- Mr flayter said, as they had all learned, the Re. A H Howe-Browne, before leaving the town, had

offered a cup to be competed for by the Junior teams in» Witney and the district (chests). Ther* had long been wanting an association in this part of the county. and the generous offer of Mr Howe-Browne had been the means of making that start. They all knew what keenness Mr Howe-Browne had shown to local football, and he felt sure the gentleman had done much to help forward the spon of the district (applause). They were all extremely sorry at his leaving the town, but they would always have him brought to theé memories by the presence of the cup that would be competed for each season. They would require a name for the trophy, and he would suggest its being called “The Howe-Browne Cup”, which proposal was carried amid cheers. Mr M K Turner proposed, and Mr V Pearson , seconded, that their best thanks be communicated to the Rev, A H Howe- Browne. The proposition was carried unanimously and with acclamation It was notified that the Cup could not be won outright. The business concluded with votes of thanks to Mr Hayter, proposed by the Rector. and to Mr Gordon, proposed by ivir A Bridgman.”

You may have noticed a bit of “gentlemen and players” amongst this with some people referred to as Mr and some just by their initials! Tiie Church Toulouse , which is where the original meetings were held, was a meeting house situated between the Vicarage and the old Police Station, near the Church on Church Green. It was demolished to make room for or extension to the Henry Box School. The old Police Station is still there.

What early football was like can be found in the words of George Swinford of Filkins who was born in 18fi7. The boys had to work all morning just to borrow a ball for two hours. They bought their own for 5/4d around 1900. In 1904 some of them bought jerseys and some boots. They would walk to Lechlade, play a game, have a sixpenny tea and then wall home. The first time Filkins won a match George walked to work at Bibury in the morning and then walked ten miles honte for the match. Many farmers would not let men have Saturday afternoons off for football so they would take time off without pay. When they could afford it they would hire a pony and trap. And you thought it was difficult today!




Witney Gazette :- “ As announced in our last issue, a General Meeting of the Witney and District Football Association was held at the Church House on Thursday evening in last week, under the presidency of Mr F Hayter who was supported by the Rev. I B Kéby and Mr T J Finnis, O F A. Others present were Messrs. H L Cole, H Dingle, E Lloyd,A E Keates, F Moore, R Busby, G Dingle, A Jackson, G Rackley, A Bridgman, W Long , W Burford, W Coles, F Scarrott, W Mason, H Green, A Grant, A Hitchrnan, C Talbot, W Scarrott, C Prior, etc. The Secretary “pro tern”, Mr A F Paxton, read the minutes of the last general meeting, held on May 14″, when the clubs represented were – Witney Cygnels, O B U, Harriers, Gordons, Bampton, Eastleigh North Leigh and Hanborough. It was resolved to call the trophy, a cup presented by the Rev. Howe-Browne, the “Howe-Browne Cup ” subject to the gentleman’s consent , which had since been granted. The system adopted was that of the league. The Rev. I B Kirby proposed that ihe minutes should be accepted and signed, and Mr T J Finnis seconded -carried.

RULES :- At a Committee meeting held some time ago the rules were drawn up and fire chief business on Thursday was to revise tie in. They underwent a considerable amount of alteration. No 2 was the first to be discussed. Mr T I Finnis and Mr A F Paxton proposed and seconded that the committee should have power to add to their number. Mr H L Cole and h4r G Rackley proposed and seconded the rule should be left as it was. Mr Finnis’s proposal was eventually carried (this is strange as at the first meeting it was agreed that they could add to their number!) No 4 rule, reading to the effect that no player who had played in any Senior competition in the last 5 years should be eligible, was generally opposed. Mr T I Finnis proposed and Mr F Moore seconded that the rule be struck out. Mr H I Cole supported the proposition and proposed it should be substituted by a rule to read- “ No player registered for Senior competition is allowed to play in the League except in the case of bting called upon by the County”. This was carried unanimously. No 6, concerning the radius from which players could be drawn, was lengthily discussed. Mr A F Paxton and Mr A Bridginan proposed and seconded that the radius from which clubs could draw players should be two miles from the clubs headquarters. MrH L Cole proposed and Mr T I Finnis seconded that it should be four miles and that such radius should not extend beyond the County. There seemed to be much uncertainty in the voting as regards these two propositions and consequently, MG Rackley proposed that the radius should be three eiiles, which being seconded by Mr F Moore was carried. No 8 stated the entrance fee, which was settled at 15, on the proposition of Mr T Finnis, seconded by Mr G Dingle. No 9 was unaltered . Mr T Finnis proposed that the Tuesday teams should be allowed to enter the league, but he found no supporter , probably because of Tuesday teams being very scarce, and the rule was left as it was. No 1 1 – Mr T I Finnis proposed and Mr 14 L Cole seconded, that the time in which protests should be sent in should be within three days(excepting Sundays ), which was agreed to. to  13 was altered according to a proposal by Mr T I Finnis. It then read to the effect ihat 45 minutes should be played each way, unless the referee decided otherwise, and a match should not be recognised unless at least 35 minutes had been played each way. No 14 referred to games being left unfinished. Mr H L Cole proposed that the words ‘the result of the itiatch should be left to the discretion of the Committee”, be added. Mr T I Finnis seconded and this was carried. No 19 was the last to be altered. Mr T I Finnis proposed that in the case of a player wishing to transfer from one club to another, tie must write to the Committee, stating that he had not been chosen to play for his club in league matches for a period of six weeks, and to obtain their consent before transferring.

OTHER BUSINESS :- There was considerable opposition to the suggestion that the members of the team vñnning the cup should be presented with medals only on condition that the finances would allow suoh an expense . Mr LI I Cole proposed that at each final medals should be presented to the winning team, irrespective of finance. Mr F Moore seconded this, which was carried unanimously. it was decided that entries for the league should be made by September I” and subscriptions paid by that date. Mr A Paxton proposed the election of Mr W Smith, JP, as President. Mr H L Cole seconded and the proposition was carried unanimously. Mr I4 L Cole proposed Mr A Y Caxton’s election to the Secretaryship, which was seconded by Mr F Moore and carried. Mr F Hayter having declined to accept the office of treasurer, Mr H L Cole was elected on the proposition of Mr G Rackley , seconded by Mr A Bridgman. This concluded the business, which had occupied no less than two and a half hours.” I thinL the reason that W T I Finnis appeared so often in this was b.•cause he had had previous experience on the O F A.


In November 1908 an article appeared in the Witney Gazette entitled “ The revised fixture list”. I I read as follows :- “ Owins to a number of the firstly-arranged fixtures being inconvenient to several clubs in the league, it was found necessary to revise the list, which was soon done to the following affect. The referees, as far as arranged, are appended the matches at which they will officiate:-


Another headline in November 1908 drew attention to the first ever W D F A Representative team game. It read   as follows :-

“Special game on Boxing Day 1908”.


“Special attention is required to be given to the match arranged by Wimey and District Football Association for Boxing Day, when a team chosen from the clubs in the league will oppose “The Old Wimey Athletic F C”. The game is being played in aid of the Witney Nursing Association, a matter which conunends itself for hearty support. A glance at the team given below will suffice to guarantee a good match. Kick off 2.30pni on Messrs. Marriotts Field. Tickets 3p each (reduced from 6p as on bills) may be obtained of Messrs. A F Panton, H L Cole and T I Finnis or members of the League Committee.” Teams were seven at a later date and were :-

Witney and District League.

I T Girl patrieL (Cranfield), 2oal. AN Other and G Simmons, (Clanfield), backs. C Arthurs (Burford), A I

IJitchnian (Cygnets), Captain, and P Clack (Northleigh), halves. V Ball (Harriers), I Wilkins (Eynsham). F  

Pether (Burford, H Painter (Cygnets) and E Cooper (Cygnets), forwards.

Old Witney athletic FC.   C Coles, goal. Sanders and A I Carrion, backs. F Bridgeman, I Seacole and E Scarroti, halves. C Jackson, A

Warner, J T Tethered (Captain), 14 Clarke and H O Marriott, forwards.  

This was the first ever Representative game for the W D F A and also the first official game played by them that was to become “ Marriotts Close”. Tire outcome of the match was reported as follows:-

“Under the auspices of the Witney & District F A, a match was played on Boxing Day, on Messts. lViarriotts field (by kind permission), between a representative team of the clubs in the Witney & District League and a side picked from the members of the old Witney Athletic FC. The teams were as foLlows:- Witney & District League – T J Kirkpatrick (Clanfield) -goal : CPr’  tCygnets)and G Simmonds (Clanfield), becks : i-1 Oldham (O B IN), A Hitclutian (Cygnets), (Captain) and P Clack (Northleigh), halves : V Ball fHarriers), I Wilkins (Eynsham), fi Pether (Burford), H Painter (Cygnets) and E Cooper (Cygnets), forwards. Old Wimey Athletic F C – C Coles, goal ; W Moss and H Lewis, backs; F Bridgman, J Seacole and E Scarrott, halves; C Jackson, A

Warner, J ‘F ’Fhretliewey (Captain), H Clarke and H O Marriott, forwards. There was a very large amount of spectators present, and it was pleasing to notice among them many supporters of the old Witney club; they certainly had not lost their nbc\siasa\ for the club and it was sTRongly evident that  their desire for its team to win they were not alone , for the general support of the field was given Io “The Old ’Uns” – to use the popular tenn – who seemed considerably strengthened, in their attempt to show “The Young ’Uns” how to play, by so much backing -up. Age, however, counted against them, and youth proved its advantage very plainly, yet the elders played a good jame, a more scientific one, perhaps, than their opponents, but they were not so staying, naturally, as in the olden days. The result was in favour of the Witney & District League by 3 goals io 1. From the start the game was invincible to the League; they kept up a continuous affleck on the opponents defence, their own back men being good and keeping the play well out of their own goal. But it was not until just before the interval that they opened the scoring. A scrimmage had ensued close in front of goal which resulted in Pettier putting an excellent shot into the net, but as the ball was entering the goal Moss used his and tried to save; a penalty kick was awarded for the offence, and Pether was not robbed of the credit of the goal, that prayer converting the kick splendidly. Early in the second half the League obtained their second point; Wilkins meeting an excellent centre from Cooper off the left wing and scoring with a smart oblique shot low down, a further increase was shortly afterwards made, Peter naming neatly as the finishing touch to some good forward work. The Old Witney men had several times rallied during the game, and at last after many vigorous efforts to break through the defence and much hard pressing, they met with success, in as much as they got th*ir first and only goal. A penalty was awarded for a foul against Hitcliman, off which Lewis scored with a good swerving shot. The game thus ended with the result – Witney & District League , 3 ; Old Witney Athletic , I . The League Committee, and especially those at the head of the affair. Messrs. T I Finnis, A F Paxton and H L Cole, are to be congratulated on the successful result of their efforts, both as regards finance and the providing of an interesting game. Referee : Gym ”i J Finnis O F A. We understand that after paying expenses , a very satisfactory sum will be left to band over to the Witney Nursing Association. We are required to express the thanks of the Witney & District F A committee, to Messrs. Marriott for the use of their field, and to the Witney Sports committee, for lending ropes & stakes.”



As you will have seen it was decided to pull the ten teams that entered into Evo sections, Divisions A &

  1. At tlie end of the season two teams were tying for top place in Division A, Old Boys Union é Harriets. A semi final was held and O B U triumphed 2-1. Cygnets were clear winners of Division B so the first final for the Howe-Browne Cup was between O B U and Cygnets. This was held on Saturday 10“ April 1909 on Witney Town’s old ground at Newland, not on the recreation ground that is there now but either on Witney Mills cricket ground or on the Oxpens..Cygnets seen to have had the best of tire first half, Cth one goal disallowed for offside and one penalty saved by the O B U goalie. At half time the score was 0-0. Lloyd & Clarke from O B U were both injured in the first half but as substitutes were not allowed then, they both continued but were not very mobile. Consequently most of the play went to Cygnets and they ran out 3-0 winners. Teams were:-

Cygneis: O BU:

W.Moss E.Lloyd

C.Prior E.Buckingham £.Hicks A.Miles W.Woodcock F.Weller C.Talbot A.Hitchman H.Lewis E.Coles N.P.Castle W.Clarke

J.Murrey A.Turner H.Painter E.Cooper L.Oldhams S.Smith W.Cole E.Haley

Officials: Linesmen: Oh- H L Cole OFA & Mr  Berry OFA. Referee: Mr T I Finnis OFA.

This is how the teams were given so it looks as though they were using different tactics even then.

The scorers were : Murray , Cole & Cooper. (The spellings are original, not mine.) The Cup end medals were presented ,amid much enthusiasm, directly after the match. Mr A F Paxton (hon.sec. of the AS80cint‹On) announced that Mr W Smith, JP, (President of the Association) was unavoidably prevented from amending to make the presentation as expected, and he would ask Mr V’ Sniitli,jun, the old Witney Captain (cheers), and the old Oxford City Captain, too, (cheets) – to present the Cnp and medals. Mr Paxton also read a telegram from the Revd H Howe-Browne, the donor of the Cup, which was as follows- “Please convey my best congratulations to the winners’ ‘ (cheers). Mr W Smith jun, who was received with the sinking of ’He’s a jolly good fellow’ said in the course of a long humorous speech, that it gave him great pleasure that day to come and associate himself once again with his old football friends, (cheers). Mrs W Smith tisen presented the Cup and medals. Mr H L Cole, (Treasurer of the Association), said that the Association had run into financial difficulties and the President,Mr W Smith JP, had donated the medals presented ihat day. He called for three cheers for that gentleman which were heartily given. The Witney Town Band was in attendance and, besides playing to and from the ground, gave a capital selection of iriusic during the interval. The takings were £11 and 9J0 people attended.




Line teams were entered for the 1909/10 season, Witney Cygnets, Witney Harriers, Old Boys Union, Witney Gordons, Night School Rovers. Lechlade, Woodstock, Hanborougli & Burford. Eynsham, Charlbury, Clanfield & Northleigh had dropped onC After the season had started Hanborough were expelled from the league for serious breach of rules. It would appear that they were only playing at home and not travelling to away fixtures. Shortly after this O B U & Woodstock withdrew leaving only six teams. Clubs withdrawing were fined 10 shillings. It would seem that O B U were playing on Mr Marriotts field at this time. Everything on the field was not all sweetness and light either. On January 8″ 1910 a game between Gordons & Woodstock was abandoned in the second half when , after having a penalty awarded against him, Webley, a player from Woodstock “ addressed an offensive epithet” to the referee, Mr Hedley Cole. After repeating the offence Webley was sent off and his team walked with him. In Woodstocks defence their Secretary maintained that Webley only said “You are a rotter ,ref.” He said that the team walked off because they were intimidated by the spectators. On April 9″ 1910 the referee, Mr F Ford, stopped a match between Harriets & Cygnets when Turner, a player from Cygnets, swore at him twice. 1 could find no rabies for the 1909/10 season in either the Witney GazePe or the Oxford Times but Gordons won the Howe-Browne Cup with Lechlade runners up.  Night School Rovers were playing on “The Recreation Ground”. I think this was The Leys.



At the A G M on Wednesday July 13* 1910, at the Church House, the Officers elected were, A fl Horne, President, A F Paxton, Secretary, & H L Cole, Treasurer. There was a balance in hand of£6-1- 6d. There is virtually no mention of W D F A matters during the season and 1 can only find mention of 4 teams, Wimey A, Lechlade, Cygnets & Gordons. Gordons were now playing on the Recreation Ground. On 30 April 1911 Witney Town A played Gordons to see who should be runners up in the league. Witney played 5 flint team players but were beaten 3-0 by Gordons because virtually all the Witney team was trying to score up front and Gordons scored dom breakaways against a wall defencel 1 Apparently this happened earlier in the season but that time it was Lechlade who triumphed 3-0 over Witney. You would have thought they would have learnt their lesson!! Lechlade were the winners of the Howe-Browse Cup that season. In February 191 I the O F A were criticised for taking two months to deal with a sending off. The offside rule from this lime states that o player must have

three opponents between himself and the goal line. He is inside if an opponent next plays the ball , if he is behind the ball when it is next played by one of his own side or if there are three opponents between him and the goal line when the ball is played to his own side farther from his opponents goal than himself. There you see ii always was easy to understand, wasn’t it?

1911/12 – A MARATHON FINAc


At the A G M held on July 8″ 191 I the balance of hand was £2-1-4d. At this meeting the rules were chained to allow teams from a radius of 1 I miles to take paid. The final tables for the season were:-


As you see Woodstock won the Howe-Browne Cup and a match was held between Swifts and Lechlade to decide who should be runner up. This match was held on Thursday 2“ May 1912 and as there was also a match between Woodstock and a Rest of the League team taking place the proceedings took around four hours. By this time the person who was to present the cup had left! The runners up you’re finally Swifts. Around 200 people amended the matches. The league programme was not finished.


t9l2/J 3 – Move to Marriocs


In this season Witney Town moved theé pitch from Newland to Marriotts Field (Close) thus starting a long period of use by the W D F A for their Finals.

The 1912 A G M was held on Thursday 29* Augusi. W Smith was the President, I S Dingle Chairman, H(Harry)Dingle Secretary and H(Hedley)Cole Treasurer.Receipts were:El 1/3/6d, Expenses £8/3/5d and

the balance in hand £3/0/ld. The teams entered for season 1912/13 were as follows:- A Section – Alvescot, Bampton, Lechlade, Burford and Swifts.

B Section – Gordons, Witney Tn , Woodstock, Milton and Stonesfield.

I could not find very much mention ofW D F A football for this season, no fixtures, rio tables and very few reports.



I could find virtually no mention of football in 1913. The A G M was held on Friday 4 September 1913. Income was £14/9/7d, expenses £9f7/0d and balance in hand £5/2/7d. A few fixtures are mentioned, Lechlade v Witney and Stones field v Eynsham Hall Park on 22“ November 1913.

Milton v Witney on 29 November 1913 and Eynsham Hall Park v Swifts on 6 December 1913. Witney Town gon the Howe-Browne Cup in this season. 1 could find no other mention of football at all in 1914. Witney Cricket League was suspended in September 1914 but when football was suspended I

I do not know. This is probably • s••* time to mention ttc title of this book, “88=100”. This refers to the fact that football was suspended for 12 seasons of the 100 years. Only 88 seasons we’ve played. This was because of the two World Wars of course.

1919/20 – Lets start again lads!


The W D F A appears to have resumed football in 1919. A notice was put in the Gazette on October 18″ of that year inviting entries from teams within 11 miles of Witney to be sent to the Secretary, F Ford Jun. The only teams 1 could find mentioned were :- Milton, Burford, Bampton, Woodstock,

Eynsham. Nortlileigli, Duckling ton , Aston, Witney Séwifts Stonesfield. Tire 1919/20 final was held

on Witney Town’s old ground in Newland on April 24 1920 between Witney Swifts & Stonesfield. The result was a draw I- I and in the replay SwiAs triumphed 2-I.However Stonesfield were to be avenged !


1920/2 I – “Stop that pigeon!”


On 19″ August 1920 a meeting was held and the following members were elected :- President, A E

home, Secretary, Ford, Treasurer, G  Dingle, Executive Committee:-Jackson, I  Teagle, W

Winfield, H Dingle Witney),A Butler (Burford), ? Lakin (Lechlade), ? Biggers (Eynsham), and ANother (Stonesfield) This is how it appeared in the Gazette! ! In a match Witney Swifts V Bampton it is reported that every Bampton player had taken part in the war and 5 had received decorations! I did find tables for January l5″ 1921:-

The Final held on April 24″ 1921 was a very big affair. It was a repeat of the previous season’s match between Wimey Swifts and Stonesfield. Once again it was held at Newland. 2000 people attended and at half lime a pigeon was sent back to Stonesfield with the score. At full time with the score at 1-1 a second pigeon was dispatched‹:L On 30 April the replay was held and Stonesfield won 2-1. 1 do not know if pigeons were used on this occasion but the result was revenge for Stonesfield after their previous season’s  loss. The cup was presented by the President, lvlr A E Home.The Town Band played.

1921/22 – Warnings arid burst ball!  

I could find no i epons of a meeting for lies season and no tables but among the tear:us triung part were:- Classified. Lechlade, Wilkins, Langford, Bampton, Burford, Duckiington, Brize Norton, Aston. Minster Lovell, Wimey Socials, Newland, Witney Mills, Stonesfield and Charlbury. Weald may have been in the league but 1 am not sure. It was reported that a game between Bampton & Wealfi was abandoned 20 minutes from time when the ball buist! A Cup semi final was held on April 21″ 1922 and resulted in a win for Newland over Witney Swifts , 1 -0. In the final on April 29″, Lechlade* beat Newland 5-2. In June of 1922 the O F A warned players that taking part in six-a-sides during the close season wcs illegal and that they would be suspended if they did so. There had been a complaint that the football season was encroaching on the cricket season!


t922/23- Witney Town aiake Swift entry into Senior League!


It would seem that Witney Swifts had folded because on 4 July a team was formed by Witney Town to take their place in the Oxfordshire Senior League. Tiie Assistant Secretary J Busby and F Ford & IN Dingle were on the Committee. Their Headquarters were at the Marlborough Hotel and their pitch at Marriotts Field. Their kit was ‘White with blue and a lamb & flag on the breast with blue knickers“!!

The reserves were to play in the W D F A league. The A G M of the W D F A was held in the Town l4alI , A E Horne, President, F Ford, Secretaq’, G Dingle, Treasurer. The Referees Committee were asked to appoint their own representative to take some of the workload from F Pord. The Executive Committee was R W Coles, C Jackson, H Dingle, J Teagle, W Winfield, ? Harper, ? Collett, ? Green and ? Robinson.The balance in hand was £49-5-3d with expenses of £67-10-9d.The semi final brought in £15-10-3d and the final £40-3-0d.]t was reported that 23 teams had taken part last season. A nile alas passed to prevent senior players taking part in W D F A fixtures. F Ford was on the O F A committee. Once again I could not find any tables bat among the teams taking part were:- Clanfield, Burford, Bladon, Witney Reserves, Bampton, Witney mills, Ducklington Hanborough, Alvescot, LechlaDe,

At an O F A greeting on l0tfiMarch 1923 it was reported that Hanborough had failed to pay expenses to Woodstock and they were suspended 6om football . Hanborough continued to play and all their members were suspended for the rest of the season and until the expenses were paid.

Ducklington were censured I’or playing them while they were suspended. The semi final was between Eynsham & Milton on 21″ April 1923. Eynsham I Milton 0. I think the semi finals we’re only held when two teams are tied at the top of a table, that’s why there is only one! The final was between Eynsham & Witney Mills. Eynsham ran out 5-2 winners. When the final was played on Marriotts Field a “converted ivagonene was used as a stand”!


1923/24 – Questions of£u\acne!


On 9 of August 1923 the AGM of ltte W D T A was beld. Officers elected were:- President, A E Horne. Secretary, F Ford, reasurer, G Dingle. 24 clubs had competed in 3 sections in 1922/23.

Milton, Winned Mills and Eynsham were the section winners.  The accounts showed a loss of £2-6-(d.

A balance of £46-I 8-8d as against f49-5-3d for the year before. It was thought that the amount paid to Witney Tovm for the finals was excessive, but it was pointed out that savings of f6-10-0d on gi-pound preparation were iniTiated by using Wimey’s facilities. A member asked why £2-0-0d had been paid to the O F A for referees and he was told that since the O F A had taken over the supply of referees a great deal of trouble and postage costs had been saved. A secretaries meeting was held on 30″ August but I could find no report. Teams mentioned during the season were as follows bat I did not find any tables:- Carterton, Witney Mills, Brize Morton, Middlefield Utd?, Newland, Leys Park Rangers?, Curbridge, Minster Lovell, Aston, Clanfield, Bampton, Filkins, Alvescot, Ducklington, Witney Reserves, Wootton, Lechlade, Burford, Woodstock and Charlbury. The semi final was held on 12* April 1924 And was benveen Witney Mills and Woodstock. The outcome was 3-1 to bills. In the final Mills triumphed again , beating Charlbury *-1. The down Band played and the Cup was presented by Mrs Fred Marriott. Over 1000 spectators attended.


1924/25 – More losses – Divine intervention needed?


The A G M of the W D F A was held in this season on 4″ August 1924 The President, A E Home, chaired the meeting and G Dingle was re-elected as Treasurer. F Ford and H Sharpe were elected ss Secretaries. I think this was to share the ever increasing workload coupled with the fact that F Ford seems to have been involved in a great deal of matters concerning Witney! ! The section winners were given as :- Woodstock, Wimey Mills and Charlbury. 3 Clubs had withdrawn during the past stason but they were not named. The balance in hand was £39-8-8d as against £46-18-8d in the last season giving a loss of .7-12-3d. £7 of this was lost because of a poor gate at the semi final. It was sue•ested that they try to get the Reverend Howe-Browne to present the cup next year and to preach a football sermon on Sunday!! Teams mentioned were:- Carterton, Witney Mills, Filkins, Bampton, Burford, Newland, Milton, Lechlade, Eynsham and Stonesfield. 1 could find no tables as such, only for Witney Mills in March of 1925 Played 10 Won 9 Lost 0 Drawn 1 For 53 Against 18 Points 19. The semi final was between Witn*by Mills and Eynsham. Mills won 3-0.1000 people were at Marriotts Field. In the final on 2 May 1925 Witney Mills beat Stonesfield 5-1. Mrs F Ford Jnr presented the cup and medals. I R Busby is now named as Assistant Secretary of Wi0iey Town.


1925/26 – Senior ? Junior? I ? 2?


In August 1925 it is reported that witney 1own were unsatisfied with theé treatment by the O FA Senior League and were to join the Reading League. Their newly formed reserve team would join the new W D F A Senior Division. At the A G M of Witney Town on 14* July 1925 I n Busby is again named as Assistant Seer etary. Admission charges for Marriotts Close are given as 4d rind 9d in the stand. It appears that the League had been reformed into 2 sections , Senior Division and Junior Division. This is strange because when the fixtures are published the Divisions are named as Division land 2. At the A G M of the W D F A a new Cup was presented by Mr W Brooks for the new Senior Challenge Cup. He suggested that the entrants for this should be made up to 16 by adding the top teams in Division 2,which was to be played in 2 sections . The Officers were A E Home, President, G Dingle, treasurer and E Word, Secretary. The balance in hand was given as t 38-12-0d, Al-14-5d less than last year. The teams lñr the Senior Division were given as :- Bwford, Cliarlbury, Eynsham, Lechlade. Stonesfield, Witney Mills, Witney Town Rrs, Woodstocis, Bampton. Leafield and Milton. The Junior Division was given as :- Brjze Norton, Southleigh, Langford. Newland, Ducklington, Witney Mills Res., Wilkins. Bladon, Finstock, Carterton, Ascott, Crawfords, Shipton, Minster Lovell, }Ful1biook, Freeland and Woodstock Res, Eynsham Res, Wootton and Coombe.This is different to the teams announced at the A G M but are as they appear- in ltte tables as you will see. .1 think a neu cup for Division 2 was provided in this season as up io then there was only the Howe-Browne Cup for Division

  1. The Senior Challenge Cup Semis were between Witney Mills & Milton (4-1) and Stonesfield &

Eynsham (2-2 – replay 3-2). The Final was on 1‘ May 1926 and resulted in a win of 5-1 by Witney Mills. The League Division 2 Final was between Bladon & Langford who had won their respective sections. The game resulted in a 1-0 win for Langford A game was held on 4″ May between Division

1 Champions, Mills and a Rest of the League team Mills won 3-1. Fred Ford was presented with a silver tea service and tray for 7 years service to the W D F A.


Last published tables for 192âf26. 16″ April 1926.

Division One

Team Played Won Lost Dmwn For Against Points

Witney Mills 17 15 I ] 76 25 3 I

Leafield 19 13 6 0 53 40 26

Eynsham 16 12 4 0 58 27 24

Stonesfield 15 11 4 0 34 26 22

Milton 16 10 6 0 38 34 20

Burford 16 8 5 3 63 46 19

Wit Toxin Res 18 8 9 1 â2 42 17

Woodstock 18 5 12 1 23 24 11

Lechlade 17 4 12 1 28 61 9

Charlbury 17 3 14 fi 28 66 6

Bampton 18 1 16 1 33 74 3

Division Two A

Team Played Won Lost Drawn For Against Points

Langford 15 13 2 0 54 14 26

Shipton 15 9 3 3 33 20 21

Carterton 15 8 4 3 55 37 19

Ducklington 15 6 5 4 43 35 16

MLovell 13 5 5 3 29 22 13

Filkins 14 4 7 3 33 44 1 1

B Norton 12 4 7 1 3l 32 9

Ne\v1and 14 4 9 1 25 57 9

Fulbrook. 14 1 1 1 2 18 48 4

Division Two B

Team Played Won Lost Drawn For Against Points

Bladon 19 12 1 6 68 27 30

Ascott 20 12 5 3 8 1 39 27

Finstocit 20 11 5 4 61 32 26

Freeland 18 J2 5 1 60 40 25

Eynsham Res 18 12 5 1 42 25 25

Crawley 18 11 5 2 42 26 24

Wootton 18 8 6 4 38 38 20

Wit Mills Res i 9 6 11 2 40 59 14

Southleigh 17 2 13 2 24 68 6

Combe 18 1 16 1 37 95 3

Woodstock Res 16 0 16 0 1 1 56 0


You may have noticed that in those days the lost column was before the drawing and not as we do it now!


l926f27 – “Play up or pay up !”


At the A G M of the W D F A held on 24* August 1926 because so many teams had failed to finish their fixtures it n’as proposed thot each leant should pay a deposit of 10/- at the start of the season which would be lost if they failed to play all their games. A son of fine before the offence was committed! The President was A E Home, the Secretary OF Ford and the Treasurer G Dingle. The balance in hand was f47-14-7d which was said to put them “£9-1-7d to the good”. On January 5″‘ 1927 it was recorded tliet the Witney Mills goalkeeper, C Nunn, threw the ball into his own net to score for Leafield! The semis of the Senior Challenge Cup were:- Lechlade 2 Milton 7 and Carterton Eynsham 7. In the firial Eynsham triumphed over Milton 3-1. Milton were champions of Division one And were awarded the Howe-Bro ”xne Cup. In Division Two the winners of section A and B played each other and the result was a win for Freeland 2-1 over Filkins. The Senior Challenge Cup and the Division Two final were held on the same day and the attendance was given as 1,400.

Division One tables March 26 1927



J 927728 – No lads please!  


At the A G M of the W D F A held on August 16‘ 1927 some new rules were accepted. One was that no player should be under 18 as “boys leaving school at 14 lacked stamina”. It was also decided that teams must provide adequate dressing accommodation for visiting teams. 1 am not sure what was considered as adequate when I recall some of the grounds I played at in the sixties! A Minor League was formed for boys not more than 17. Surely this meant that if you were between 17 and 18 you could not play at all? A birth certificate had to be produced if asked for. The Officers were still :- President

A E Home, Secretary, F Ford and Treasurer, G Dingle. Receipts were £77-5-9d, expenditure £73-7-6d With a balance in hand of f4, The total balance was £51-12-10d. The Treasurer had invested in 40 National Savings Certificates. An Emergency Committee was formed consisting of the President, Secretary, Treasurer and one other. The league tables for April d’ 1928 were as follows:-


Freeland had withdrawn during the season. On April 13 1928 Witney Mills beat Goring 6-3 to win the Oxfordshire Junior Shield. The Division Two title was won by Clanfield beatin5 Coombe 4-1. The Senior Challenge Semis were:- Eynsham 4 Clanfield I and Witney Mills 6 Burford 2. In the final Eynsham triumphed over Mills 2-0 to make it Evo wins in a row. Witney Mills were of course Division One Champions and to celebrate their successes the President, A E Home, invited them to dinner at the Central Café, Wimey. Because Mills had won the 5unior Shield they became Seniors so had to play Witney Town who had left the Reading League to rejoin the Oxfordshire Senior League. J R Busby had been replaced as Torm secretary because it was felt ‘fat a non player could do a better job’. He was also an old cricketer as on 19 May 1928 he bowled 7 for 18, 4 clean bowled and 3 catches off his bowling.


l928f29 – Pines & no medals!


At a meeting of tire O F A in September 1928 it was reported that Bampton & Wilkins had run six a side competitions in the close season and all the players who took part in them were suspended until they had paid 2/6d each. The Oxfordshire Junior Shield had been divided into sections including a Witney Division.

At the W D F A meeting on 17″‘ July 1928 it was stated that the Minor League, under Secretaries A & C W Miles (Jun), had got off to a good start. A “handsome shield” had been provided by Mr Harold Early and a silver cup given by the Wimey Flower Show committee. There were no medals given so as to not “encourage iriedal hunting among boys”. I do not have time to cover the Minor League, perhaps my next project! Tire first winners were the Shipton Junior Red Triangle Club. The President of the W D F A was still A E Home, the Secretary P Ford & the Treasurer G Dingle. There had been a loss on the season of £12 with £51 -12-10d at the start of the season and £39-14-10d at the finish. The finals had taken place on Cup £’final day so that probably explained the loss.Our future Secretary, R Busby, was stilt doing w•lI nt Cricket, in 1928 he had scored 426 runs with an average of 23.6 aad takes 33 wickets at an avenge cost of J0.36.Tables for ApriJ S^ 1929 were:


Burford S M were the Royal School of Music who were based at Burford for a number of years until they were

relocated to Chatham. The tables for DivisionCTwo are on the following page:-


Division Two C tables for April 1929:


The semi finals of the Senior Challenge Cup were Bampton 1 v Newland 0 & Langford 0 v Leafield 6. S Hooper scored all 6 for Leafield! In the final Leafield beat Bampton 4-0.The winners of Division Two A and the winners of Division Two C played in the semi final of the Division Two championship with Coombe coming out on top over Newland . In the final they met the winners of Division Two B, Ascott, and won 5-2.Eynsham were the Division One champions. Witney Town reserves had withdrai,’n from the W D P A through lack of support.


1929/30 – ”stand still goaLie!2


It was this season that the rule requiring a goalkeeper to stand still on the i;oal line until the ball was kicked was brought in. 1 I cannot imagine what they did before fliis ! At the W D F A meeting on August 30 1929 the Officers were unchanged, A E Home, President, F Ford, Secretary and G Dingle, Treasurer. A deficit of £1 -7-5d on the season was reported with a balance in hand of 138-6-9d. The close season six a side problem seems to have carried on because it is stated that players over 16 who had tak*n part in a six a side at Bampton were still suspended and fined 3/- each.The Witney Town situation is strange because as reported the Reserves had withdrawn during the 1928/29 season but a Wiley Town A is entered in the W D F A for 1929/30.

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