Following my last column, it was great to hear from Cyril Tibbles who provided me with some additional information about St Luke’s.
They were formed a year after the war by five people – Cyril, Spud Murphy, Roy West, Eddie Wilkins and Norman Norrys. They started off in the Lads League before spending 2 years in the United Churches League. They then joined the Portsmouth League, which then became the Premier League (circa 1953). Among their rival sides were Kingston Old Boys, Eastney Old Boys, Hilsea and Old Nortonians. Thank you for getting in touch, Cyril.
On December 10th 1983, at the Clarence Ground in Southsea I went to watch a senior division match between the unbeaten Marconi and their nearest challengers Dunham Bush who had to that point lost just the one game.
Although this game was a long time ago, I remember it as if it were yesterday.
The game started at a fast pace and Marconi’s Dave Head forced the Dunham Bush keeper Keith Merit to punch away his shot for a corner.
However, it was Dunham Bush who took the lead from a corner when Trevor Jones floated in a deep cross that was headed home by Gary Knight. Just before half-time Jimmy Wearns’ shot just shaved the Marconi goal post.
The second-half play continued to ebb and flow with both sides looking dangerous. Marconi looked to have gained the initiative when Phil Molyneaux put John Atkins clear but he blasted his shot over the bar.
Atkins was again close to equalising but Roger Jones cleared off the line. Dunham relieved the pressure when Gary Gaffney’s delicate chip brought a fine save from Mick Beebee.
Marconi finally found an equaliser when Atkins set up Molyneaux for the goal. Dunham quickly retaliated when a long ball out of defence put Trevor Jones clear and he blasted a fierce shot past the keeper to put Dunham 2-1 ahead.
Marconi were desperate not to lose their unbeaten record and persistence paid off when Atkins headed home to make it all square. Martin West was outstanding in defence for Marconi blocking out Dunhams danger man Neil Darnley.
The game was played in a sporting manner with referee Ian Birch handling the match superbly. This was acknowledged by both teams and supporters which included divisional secretary John Marsh.
Rowlands Castle were another club that had been around a long time. I recall their pitch being on a slope and they always had a few villagers supporting them every time I went there, both in my playing days and when doing match reports.
Tome Levett as a very good keeper and also did the secretarial work. Up front was Bobby Hartnall, although slight in stature he was a talented player and a regular goalscorer. Billy Barrett gave them good service as did Paul Lewington, Jeff Churchill, Mark Bamber and Ian Craig who when his playing days finished took up refereeing, and from there became the referees’ appointment secretary for the Hampshire and Wessex League, a job he did up to to last season.
This was a mammoth task notifying all these clubs and finding replacements for last minute withdrawals. He deserves great praise for the work he carried out.