CHAPTER FOUR.  THE LOMAX BROTHERS MAKE THEIR MARK

Page 1              – The Wanderers move to Dallow Lane

Page 3              – E.H. Lomax captains the Wanderers against the Old Etonians

Page 4              – Norton College

Page 5              – Lord Kinnaird

Page 6              – East Midlands Counties Football Association

Page 7              – D.A.N. Lomax’s eleven take on Luton

Page 8              – Interlude – The health of the Borough of Luton

Page 9              – J.C. Lomax represents Bedfordshire

Page 10            – Christmas 1884, the calm before the storm

The Wanderers decision to enter the English Challenge Cup (F.A. Cup) was a masterstroke as they drew one of the biggest clubs in the country, Old Etonians at home.  They could not play the Old Etonians on People’s Park as they would not be able to charge the public.  They hired a field in Dallow Lane.

In order to get into shape for the cup game, Wanderers began their 1884/85 season very early.  They travelled to play St. Albans in the second week in September.  “The Wanderers played their first match of the season on the St Albans ground on Saturday, in presence of several hundred spectators including a great many Lutonians”.  They drew 0 0.

Excelsior did not have their first practice of the season until the 27th September;

“in the meadow in Dallow lane at 3.15”.  While Excelsior were practising, Wanderers were playing their first game in Dallow Lane against Hemel Hempstead.  “This match was played on the Wanderers ground, Dallow-lane, on Saturday.  The weather being fine several hundred spectators assembled (including a good number of ladies) to witness the match.  Both clubs played twelve aside owing to the visitors having brought one man too many.  The Wanderers were in good form.  Playing together and passing well, they succeeded in scoring two goals before half time.  On ends being changed, the Wanderers having the advantage of playing down hill were several times within an ace of scoring, the ball hitting the bar and goal posts and rebounding into play.  The home team ultimately managed to add two more goals to their score, winning a very pleasant and quiet game by four goals (kicked by D. Lomax (2), and A. Deacon and T. Brooks one each) to nil.  The Hemel Hempstead were a good team, but they were out of practice.  No doubt they will make a better show when the return match comes off.  The visitors commended the Wanderers for the manner in which the ground was marked out, and for the gate arrangement.  The teams were as follows, Wanderers; Goal – T Veale.  backs – A. Martin and J. Clarke.  Half backs – H.G. Spratley, F. Brooks and G. Bennett.  Forwards – E. Wright, D. Lomax, R. Ellingham, H Fullarton, A Deacon and G. Deacon (capt)”.

Such a great report giving us so much to discuss.  Firstly, the Wanderers change of ground to Dallow Lane.  They needed a ground which was enclosed so they could charge admission and had negotiated with the owner to rent part of the meadow.  It must have been unsettling for the Excelsior players practising nearby to have Wanderers demolish a strong local team four nil and hear the cheers of the large crowd.  The Excelsior players might also have been jealous of “a good number of ladies” watching the Wanderers.  It must have occurred quickly to all, that watching football was a very good way to meet the opposite sex in Victorian England.  The gentlemen playing would have a chance to show off.  The gentlemen in the crowd would have a chance to talk to the ladies watching.  The ladies would have to try to remain dignified on the muddy fields.

The report also gives confirmation of the use of a crossbar but the reference to the ground being marked out is a useful confirmation that the Dallow Lane meadows were marked out for football matches.

J.C. and E.H. Lomax started at Cambridge University on 1st October so were absent for this game.  Dan, who was just 16 years old, was chosen by Wanderers and scored two goals.  We will see more heroics from this remarkable young man later in this story.

—————————————

Page 2

All the Lomax brothers played for St. John’s College against St. Albans at Bernard’s Heath, St Albans.  The home team won 3 2.

St. John’s team, Goal – G.O. Waldron.  Backs – C.H. Lomax and A.T. Rose.  Half backs – Hopewell, Narburg and Browning.  Forwards – D. Lomax, J.C. Lomax, G.H. Small, G.W. Beldam and E.H. Wright.  Besides the Lomax brother, Narburg, Beldam and Wright would all play for Luton Town FC.

Albany also played at Dallow Lane, their on all draw against Grosvenor House School Being described as “played at Albany’s Meadow Dallow-lane”.

Wanderers continued their revival with a victory over Bedford Town “played in Dallow-lane which Wanderers won easily 3 0”.  They followed this up with a one nil win against Hadley at their new Dallow Lane ground.  The best victory came against Chesham which was played on Monday 20th October 1884 with a  3pm kick off.

“Chesham brought a fast lot against the Wanderers on Monday, and contemplated an easy win but they were mistaken, for the Wanderers played the fastest game they have played this season, and as the result showed, were the better team  The Chesham played down hill during the first half.  They hard pressed the home team for ten or fifteen minutes, and seemed as if they must score; but the home men, warming to their work, at last got the ball away, and as it was taken up the field into the visitors’ quarter, and before many minutes a splendid goal was scored.  Both teams now strained every nerve but were unable to score further, for the goal keepers on both sides played exceedingly well.  The Wanderers finally won a very pleasant and undoubtedly the best game that had been played this season by one goal to nil.  The Wanderers journey to London on Saturday to play against Kildare at Shepherd’s Bush.  Members and friends wishing to avail themselves of the cheap tickets are requested to be at the station at 12 o’clock. – The Wanderers second team play Christ Church Institute in the Dallow-lane on the same day, play to commence at 3 o’clock”.

The middle of October saw;

“a match was played between St. Albans and district and a team selected by Mr H. Wilkinson, which ended in a draw each scoring a goal.  The match was of great interest on account of the reputation  of some of the St Albans players who were selected from the Elstree schools, Hendon and local clubs, constituting a first class team.  Mr Wilkinson’s eleven must be complimented on the admirable play against such formidable opponents.  Special mention must be made of T. Brown who greatly distinguished himself as goal-keeper, and W. Hopewell, and Sayce who made efficient backs.  The half backs were W. and T. Lawrence and Fisher, who played in their customary good form.  The “forwards” are also to be highly commended for their plucky defence.  The positions were Messrs H. Wilkinson (captain), H. Fullerton (right wing), W. Smith and W. Eling (left wing), T. Small and J. Scott taking centre.  The match was witnessed by a large number of people, who by their applause, complimented the Luton team on the superior form displayed”.

————————————–

Page 3

The Wanderers enjoyed their trip to London as they beat Kildare in Shepherd’s Bush by 3 goals to one scored by George Deacon 2 and Edgar Wright.   It was fortunate that they were in fine form as the Luton Reporter (which came out on Friday 7th November) reports that;

“The match of the season will be played in the Dallow-lane tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, between the Old Etonians and Wanderers in the first round of the English Association Challenge Cup competition.  Play will commence at two o’clock sharp.  The Old Etonians will be captained by Mr P.J. de Paravicini, back player for England, and Mr E.H. Lomax will captain the Wanderers.  The following are the team selected to do battle for the respective sides; – Old Etonians- J.F.P. Rawlinson, T.H. French, P.J. de Paravicini, C.W. Foley, G.E. Preston, F. Marchant, J.B. Chevallier, H.C. Goodhart, H. Baxter, H.W. Bainbridge, H. Whitford.  Wanderers – T. Veale. W. Barrett, A. Martin, C.H. Lomax, H.G. Spratley, J. Clark, A. Deacon, G. Deacon, R. Ellingham, J.C. Lomax, D.A.N.Lomax”.

It was quite an honour and tribute for E.H. Lomax to be appointed captain in the biggest ever football game in Luton.  He was just 18 years old.

It is interesting to note that there is no report of an Excelsior game until the end of November.  It may be that the local papers were carried away with this fantastic cup draw and concentrated on Wanderers.  The Old Etonians had reached six F.A. Cup finals and won twice in 1879 and 1882.  They lost the 1883 F.A. Cup final to Blackburn Olympic and the cup went north for the first time.  Although 1883 would be the last time a former Public School team would each the final, Old Etonians were still a powerful force in the game.  They were packed with quality in breeding as well as in football ability.  J.B. Chevallier was a member of the family that began producing Aspall’s cider in 1728.  He played in four F.A. Cup finals and would be a founder member of Derby County Football Club.  J.F.P. Rawlinson was a barrister who had played for England and had won the F.A. Cup.  Percy John de Paracivini played for England three times, won the FA Cup and played cricket for Middlesex.  Messrs Foley, Goodhart and French were FA Cup winners in 1882 and Goodhart had played for England.  Herbert William Bainbridge had played in the losing FA Cup final of 1883 and played cricket for Surrey.  Herbert Whitfield had won the FA Cup in 1879, had played for England at football and was captain of the Sussex Cricket team.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 14.01.54

The Luton Reporter takes up the story of the match.  “Luton Wanderers v Old Etonians. The match between these clubs in the first round of the Association Challenge Cup competition was played at Dallow Lane on Saturday afternoon.  The weather was splendid and the ground was in excellent condition.  This being the most important contest of the season in this district, it attracted a large number of spectators, and the gate could not have been represented much less than 2,000.  The strangers were somewhat late in arriving, and they played for the first quarter of an hour or so with two men short.  Winning the toss, the Etonians elected to play down hill, and in doing so they had also the benefit of the wind.  Aided by these advantages they pressed their opponents very hard during the first forty five, the ball being almost entirely confined to Luton territory.  The home team lost one good chance.  The leather was got well up the hill and was within measurable distance of the Etonian goal, but Lomax in shooting it in from the left wing was a little off the line, and the ball struck one of the posts.  The Luton men had thus had a very narrow shave of securing a goal.  Shortly thereafter the ball was started down hill at the west side of the field and after being smartly passed down to the forwards, it was centred, and after one or two give and take kicks Chevallier managed to send it underneath the Luton bar.  After ends were changed the play was distributed itself most evenly over the ground, and was marked by some splendid dribbling and passing on both sides, the Lomaxes and one of the Deacons repeatedly rendering good service to the Luton team in this way.  At one point the home goal was in great jeopardy, the strangers charging time after time in a determined manner.  At last after several shots had been made and returned, the Luton colours fell to Whitfield who scored with a fine clean kick.  A few minutes after this C. Lomax had a good run across the field, for which achievement he was greatly cheered by the onlookers.  The Etonians passing the ball in beautiful style up the west side, repeated their former tactics with considerable smartness and on its being transferred to the centre Chevallier, that watchful player again. succeeded in sending it between the posts.  The Luton men were now bent on making a desperate struggle to retrieve their honours.  They again managed to bring the ball down by dint of some creditable dribbling and were within an ace of scoring; but the shot for goal was delivered rather hard and the leather flew over the bar.  A few minutes after this however, the same play was again witnessed, and Ellingham for Luton was successful in getting the ball through this time.  The game from this to the end was very exciting, but nothing further was scored, and it thus ended in a win for the strangers by three to one.  The match was a fast one and was much enjoyed on both sides.  The Luton men had little prospect of winning, but there courageous play against a team who were decidedly heavier than they were, was exceedingly creditable.  Veale the goal keeper, acquitted himself admirably for had it not been for his very able defence there is no doubt the victory would have been much greater.  Teams: Old Etonians – J.F.P Rawlinson, goal: T.H. French, P.J. de Paravicini backs; C.W. Foley, G.E. Preston, F. Marchant, half backs; J.B. Chevallier, H.C. Goodhart, H. Baxter, H.W. Bainbridge, H. Whitfield, forwards. Wanderers – T. Veale, goal; W. Barratt, A. Martin, backs; C.H. Lomax, H.G. Spratley, J.Clarke, half backs; A. Deacon, R. Ellingham, J.C. Lomax, D.A.N. Lomax, forwards.  The same teams will again appear against each other in the Dallow-lane on Saturday week”.

This was a remarkable effort by the Wanderers and it seems that the well fed posh lads used their weight to great advantage.  The Old Etonians stuttered to the sixth round via one replay, extra time and byes in two rounds.  The following season they would lose 6 1 away to Marlow in the second round, having had a walkover in the first round.  Nevertheless the game really caught the imagination of the Luton public.  Bearing in mind that a record crowd of 12,000 attended the 1884 F.A. Cup final, a crowd of two thousand demonstrates that this town was a fervent football loving town from the beginning.

The Luton News of the 26th February 1926 looked back to 1884 and the Wanderers and reported:

“They played on Bell Close, People’s Park, and so there was no gate money taken.  The ground was used until 1884, when a meadow belonging to Mr W. Deacon, of Dallow-road, was hired.  On this field, now the West Ward Recreation, was played the first F.A. Cup Tie decided in Luton.  The Old Etonians, then a big power in football, visited and defeated the Wanderers by three goals to one.”

———————————-

Page 4

Albany began their rise up the Luton football ladder by beating St. John’s College “by one goal to one disputed”.  They then beat Norton College 4 2.

Norton House School was originally in Upper George Street with about 30 boarders and as many day boys under John Thurnham and his wife.  Later it moved to premises in Havelock Road adjoining Bell’s Close where it was useful to have these playing fields adjoining.  Many of Luton’s prominent citizens of the early years of the 20th century, including C.H. Osborne, were educated at Norton House.

The first illustration below is in a poor state but I hope it will give you some idea of what the college and area looked like at this time.  If you know of a better copy please get in contact.  The second and third photos were taken in February 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 14.02.31

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 14.02.54 Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 14.02.41

————————————-

Page 5

Wanderers travelled to Rushden and suffered another defeat although in unlucky circumstances.

“The weather being fine several hundred spectators assembled, and signified their approbation of the good play that was shown on both sides by repeated cheering.  The teams seemed about equally matched when the game started, but within 15 minutes of the start, J.C. Lomax one of Wanderers’ forwards, whilst in the act of shieing at the goal, was charged and knocked down.  When he got up it was found he had strained his back, and was unable to play the rest of the game.  The visitors had thus to play one short until the finish.  Soon after this accident occurred, the ball was put through the visitor’s goal by a player who was palpably off-side, and a claim of offside was made: but as the umpire did not see it, he decided in favour of the home team.  The Wanderers played well against the odds, and were within an ace of scoring several times, but their chances were lost by the erratic shooting of the forwards.  A very pleasant and fast game thus ended in a win for the home team by one goal to nil”.

The Luton Reporter advertised that “A grand match will be played at the Dallow Lane to-morrow between the Old Etonians and the Luton Wanderers, play to commence at three o’clock instead of two as advertised.  The teams will be almost the same as played a fortnight ago.  A good game may be anticipated”.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 14.02.13“Luton Wanderers and Old Etonians – teams representing these two clubs again met on the ground of the former at Dallow-lane on Saturday afternoon.  The visitors brought an entirely different team from that which beat the local men a fortnight before, and one that was very much weaker.  The Wanderers on the other hand, with a view of retrieving their colours, had strengthened themselves, and they proved much more than a match for their opponents.  The game was very one sided, and great disappointment must have been felt in consequence.  The match opened shortly after three o’clock, the home men playing down hill, and long before half tame had been called the Wanderers had humbled their opponents goal three times, the first being got by J.C. Lomax, the next by A. Deacon and the third by E.H. Lomax.  After ends were changed the play was more equal.  The visitors made frequent desperate attempts to score, but their want of sympathy and erratic and aimless shooting rendered all their good hits futile.  They were badly captained and apparently were not accustomed to play together.  The home men, profiting by the exhibition of fine play they were treated to one the former occasions, were dribbling and passing beautifully and some really skilful work was done.  J.C. Lomax, as usual, shining in this department.  Both goals were several times charged in the second half, but nothing further was gained.  The match thus ended in a win for the Luton men by three goals to none.  Teams, Wanderers Goal – T. Veal.  Backs – W, Barrett and A. Martin.  Half backs – E.H. Lomax, D.A.N. Lomax and T. Brook.  Forwards – A. Deacon, H.S. Spratley, J.C. Lomax, G. Deacon and E.H. Wright.  Old Etonians – Goal T. Read (sub).  Backs – Grant and Coleridge.  Half backs – Hon A.F. Kinnaird and W. Garrett (sub).  Forwards – Gordon, Brand, Rolinson, Wigan, Darbishire and Browne”.

 

It is interesting to note that Old Etonians first team played with three half backs and their second team with only two.  However, you will notice that one of those half backs was a true football giant, the future Lord Kinnaird.  He was an all round sportsman who played in a record nine F.A. Cup finals and would be President of the Football Association for 33 years.  He is credited with spreading the appeal of football by introducing common sense rules and making the game more attractive to play and watch.

———————————

Page 6

The first reported Excelsior game of the season came at the end of November when they travelled to Boxmoor. and beat Hemel Hempstead two nil.

We have talked about the Football Association but have not mentioned a county or regional association to date.  There was no association for Bedfordshire which again highlights the infancy of the game in the area.  The Luton Reporter of 6th December 1884 announced that a change was in the offing;

“Proposed Football Association for the Midland Counties.  An influentially attended meeting of representatives of clubs in the four counties undermentioned was held at Kettering on Friday afternoon to consider the desirability of forming one united association.  The Rev. G Thureton occupied the chair, and called upon Mr Pretty to explain the object of the meeting.  That gentleman showed that such an association as that suggested must must accomplish great good in stimulating interest, proficiency, and good feeling in the game.  If thought desirable a Cup Competition could be instituted.  Mr Scott of Luton Excelsior, proposed, and Mr Brown, of the same club, seconded a resolution for the formation of the East Midlands Counties Football Association, to include the counties of Northampton, Bedford, Huntingdon and Rutland.  The proposition, after full discussion, was unanimously carried, and it was decided that the new organisation should be affiliated with the Football Association.  Mr Alfred Pretty of Wellingborough was appointed honorary secretary of the Association pro tem, and was instructed to send a copy of the above resolutions to every known club playing Association rules in the four counties, and to call a general meeting to be held at Wellingborough on Wednesday December 10th, for the purpose of electing officers, and for the transaction of other important business.  The Rev. Mr Thureton was thanked for taking the chair, as was also Mr Pretty for his efforts towards the formation of the East Midlands Counties Association”.

The cup competition must have been good news for the clubs in the town.  We have seen that Newport Pagnell held the Wellingborough and District Cup and Northampton also held a cup competition.  The Berks and Bucks Cup had begun in 1878.  Why there was no cup competition in Luton remains a mystery.

Wanderers drew one each with Forest Rangers of London at the end of November.  Wanderers lined up as follows; Goal – T Veal, Backs – W. Barrett and A. Martin.  Half backs – S. Bennett, D.A.N. Lomax and T. Knowles.  Forwards – W. Smith, Hopewell, R. Ellingham, A. Deacon and G.H. Spratley.  J.C. and E.H. Lomax are absent and it may be that they could not get back from University in Cambridge.

Albany continued their rise by beating Christ Church Institute on Albany Meadow, Dallow Lane.  “The Christ Church team were much stronger of the two, but the Albany by playing together and passing well won easily by six goals to nil.  Albany team; Goal – T. Hurdley.  Backs – A Saunders and S. Plummer.  Half backs – J. Moody and Hubbard.  Forwards – A. Neil and A.J. Deamer (right), W. Miller and J. Ottway (left), A. Smart and Scarborough (centre)”.  Albany’s rise coincided with Walter Miller and Albert Sanders (not Saunders) entrance and both would play for Luton Town FC.

—————————————

Page 7

Having some variety of opposition must have been uppermost in the minds of many players and so began a series of representative matches.  Wanderers and Excelsior had the opportunity to play away or attract out of town teams to Luton.  The smaller teams do not appear to have played much outside the town.  So they were playing the same teams again and again.  The representative teams would also be able to put together a decent eleven to put on a good game for the public.  We also have to bear in mind that Excelsior and Wanderers were avoiding each other so the biggest attraction in town was absent.

One such representative game took place at the start of December 1884 when   Wanderers took on D.A.N. Lomax’s eleven.

“This match was played in the Dallow-lane on Saturday.  The teams were about equally matched, and a splendid game ensued, which ended in a win for the Wanderers by two goals to one.  This is the 15th match the Wanderers have played this season, and out of the 15 they have lost only two, one against Old Etonians and one against Rushden.  There have been at present 23 goals scored for the club and 9 against it”.

A couple of weeks later, D.A.N. Lomax’s Eleven took on Excelsior.

“A match was played in the Excelsior Meadow Dallow-lane on Wednesday between an eleven selected by D.A.N. Lomax and eleven selected by The Excelsior Club.  The Excelsior team started with a strong wind in their favour, but their opponents were too strong for them, and from the first had decidedly the best of the play.  They worked well against the wind, and after about half an hour’s play E. Wright succeeded in getting the ball between the posts.  When ends were changed Lomax’s eleven kept the ball near their opponent’s goal nearly all the time, and J.C. and E. Lomax made some very good shots, but Brown defended his goal well, and they were unable to get the ball through.  Deacon however, succeeded in getting another goal about ten minutes before time.  Lomax’s team continued to press their opponents but nothing further was scored, and the game thus ended in a victory for Lomax’s eleven by two goals to nil”.

Dan Lomax was just 16 years old and organising representative games.  I believe he was trying to fill that void left by the absence of the Wanderers v Excelsior game.  He may have also been trying to repair the rift between the two clubs.

———————————

Page 8

Interlude.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 14.03.10

—————————————

Page 9

The East Midlands Counties Football Association (E.M.C.F.A) held their first meeting just before Christmas 1884.

“A general meeting of clubs associated with the newly formed East Midland Counties Football Association was held at the Hind Hotel, Wellingborough, on Wednesday afternoon, when a large number of representatives from the counties interested were present.  After a little discussion Mr George, of Northampton, was chosen as Chairman of the meeting, and the following gentlemen were elected officers of the Association.  Mr H.E. Plait, head master of the Wellingborough Grammar School, was unanimously elected President of the Association, and the following were elected vice-presidents, one for each county:- Mr J.C. Lomax (Luton Wanderers) for Beds; Mr E.G. Thurston (Kettering) for Northants: Mr M.E. Mail (Uppingham) for Hunts; and Mr P.H. Fernandes (Oakham) for Rutland.  Mr Alfred Pretty of Wellingborough Grammar School, was appointed Hon. Sec. and Mr G.H. Thompson (Wellinborough Revellers) as hon. treasurer.  These gentlemen for a committee with one member from each club in the Association.  The meeting decided that a trial match should be played on Boxing Day, December 26th or Saturday December 27th at Kettering or Luton, one team to be selected from Bedfordshire and Huntingdon, to play against a team drawn from Northants and Rutland.  The chairman having been thanked for presiding.  It was decided that the next committee meeting be held in Luton sometime next week, when the final arrangements for the trial match will be made”.

It is remarkable that twenty year old J.C. Lomax represented Bedfordshire at the E.M.C.F.A.

St. John’s College beat Grosvenor College one nil before Christmas.  Their team contained no less than five future Luton Town players, Dan Lomax, E.H. Wright, C.A. Beldam, Narburg and J.R. Benavides.

The return match between D.A.N. Lomax’s Eleven and Luton Wanderers was

“a very evenly contested game ended in a draw, neither side scoring.  The Wanderers have engagements for Friday, Saturday, and Monday, on which days matches will be played on their ground in Dallow lane”.

————————————

Page 10

The Luton Reporter of 3 January 1885 contains details of no less than ten games from the holiday period.  On Boxing Day 1884, the Engineers Football team had a match between married and single players which the latter won 3 0.

Albany played F. Kilby’s Eleven in the Albany’s Meadow, Dallow Lane on Christmas Day.  The 4 1 win for Albany highlights their position as the 3rd team in Luton behind Excelsior and Wanderers.  Their team that day was

Goal – W. King.  Backs – A. Saunders and F Horwood.  Half backs – Payne, T. Hurdley and J. Moody.  Forwards – A.J. Deamer, W. Miller, A. Neill, W. Ulyett (left) and P. Benden (centre).  Saunders name is usually spelled Sanders (Albert) in the reports.

Albany won the return game on Saturday 27th December by “5 goals and one disputed to nil”.  As we have discussed before, in local games there was usually an umpire from each team but no referee.  This caused disputed goals.  A game in March 1885 between Albany and Victoria was “terminated because of disagreement over a punched goal”.  Sometimes there were honourable withdrawals of an objection to a disputed “kick” but usually when it was of no relevance to the outcome of the game.

Sandwiched in-between on Boxing Day, Albany played Dunstable at their home ground, Albany’s Meadow.  “The Dunstable team were much the heavier of the two, but the Albany team played together and passed well, and completely mastered their opponents, winning easily by 8 goals to nil.  Benden scored 3, Deamer 3, and Darby 1 and Perry 1.”

Wanderers first and second teams played two games each over the Christmas period.  The first team beat Alliance (London) 12 0 in Luton on Boxing Day.  This is despite having 4 of their best players away at a representative game.  On Saturday the 27th they travelled to face the Wellingboro’ Revellers who seemed to have lived up to their name over Christmas as the Wanderers won 6 1.  “The Wanderers were stronger than when they played the Old Etonians on Nov 8th, and all played a remarkably good game, their forwards passing splendidly, especially G. Deacon and J.C. Lomax.  The home team deserve credit for their plucky play, uphill as it was.”  Goals were from J.C Lomax two, G Deacon, E Wright, R. Ellingham and H. Spratley one each.  On Monday 29th they beat Bedford Town with a George Deacon goal.  The report notes that “several hundred spectators” attended.  Crowds were not officially measured or recorded until the late 1920’s.

The Wanderers second team went down 2 0 away to Leighton Buzzard but then beat Christ Church Institute at home by 3 goals to nil.

The representative games organised by the East Midlands Counties Football Association (E.M.C.F.A.) went ahead as planned.  The counties of Northants and Rutland drew one all with Beds and Herts.  The game was played at Kettering on Boxing Day and four Excelsior players and four Wanderers were in the Beds and Herts team.  From Excelsior, T. Brown was in goal, J.T. Hunt (captain) was a back, G. Small was at half back and Wilkinson was on the right wing.  For Wanderers, D.A.N. Lomax was a back, E. Lomax was half back, G Deacon and J.C. Lomax (left wing) made up the team.  Playing alongside the Luton men were three from St. Neots, J. Jackson, A.K. Bower and P.H. Bower.  Northants were a very strong team as they had the best team in the E.M.C.F.A. region, Wellingborough Grammar School.  Not only did the school have a proud reputation for producing England cricketers, they would be unbeaten in the whole of the football season.  It seems bizarre today that a Grammar School should be one of the best teams in the region but that was the nature of the game at this time.  One of the Grammar school players, A.W. Platt, and the Bower brothers would play for Luton Town in their first season.

Excelsior appear to have taken the Christmas period off and do not play again until 7th February.  In the meantime, January would see the Wanderers very busy, both on and off the pitch.

 

Football kit images – Graphic images are copyright Historical Football Kits and used by kind permission.