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1887 - 1892 - West Hartlepool West End RFC - A history

West Hartlepool West End RFC., extracted from the cuttings Scrapbook of “Robbo”, a member of the West Hartlepool club from 1880s. He wrote his reminiscences in the “Northern Daily Mail” in the early 1920s and included this short history of West End and gives an insight into rugby at minor level at the end of the 1880s. Various images of the West End team can be foound on the Durham County RFU page under "Clubs in the County Junior Cup" gallery.


But the year 1891 did witness the bringing of a Rugger trophy to West, and the honour was achieved by the West End Club, when they annexed the County Junior Cup in February, 1891.

Starting in the year 1887, the team consisted of a body of working lads disporting themselves on a ground situated at the top of what is now Alma-Street.

For the use of this patch of real estate, thanks to the generosity of Ald. John Suggitt, who was the first president – the club was charged the nominal rental of 1s per year.

My old friend Mr Tom Leak acted as hon. Secretary during the entire existence of the club and the none too exacting duties of hon. Treasurer were capably performed by Mr. W. W. Wright.

Foremost among the clubs guides, philosophers and friends was Mr George Douglas, the Chairman of the Committee, and the first captain was Mr. Will Armstrong, and quoting the words of W.,S. Gilbert, “A right good captain, too, commanding (on the field) a right good crew” Having to seek fresh fields after a brief sojourn, they settled at Foggy Furze, and 1889 – 90 had a most successful season under the captaincy of Tommy Macdougal.

Twenty matches were played of which 14 were won, 5 lost, 1 drawn, the score sheet showing 13 goals, 34 tries and 120 minors against 5 goals, 7 tries and 10 minors.

This particular season ended abruptly. The club succeeded in winnings it way into the final for the Junior Cup, but was defeated by Shields Y.M.C.A by a try to nil after some strange decisions by the referee.

Following the game a protest was laid against the club for playing an ineligible player and the County Union inflicted the somewhat severe penalty of suspending the club till the end of the season (February to April) and the player in question till the end of December.

Nothing daunted, however, operations were resumed in 90-91 in a field at Rose Bank, placed at the club’s disposal by the President, Mr G Pyman

Fifteen games were won in succession against such opponents as Darlington, Stockton, Jarrow, Wallsend, Henderson’s Wanderers, Hetton Lyons, Rovers, and West Second Teams etc.

Their opponents in the final of 90-91 played at Sunderland on Feb , 14, were South Shields Trinity, and at the interval following a determined struggle neither side had scored. Midway through the second half Geo Taylor – the Westoe crack sprinter of later days – intercepted a pass and scored a sensational if unexpected try.

The game was nearing its close when the West boys made a final effort, which resulted in Ernie Jones scoring near the corner flag, Johnny Hopps converting with a magnificent effort and then – finis, The players of immortal memory were: Back N Shawl; three-quarter backs E,Jones, T.McDougal (Capt.) and M Jones; half backs J.Liddle, G. Douglas and B Mann; forwards. Hopps, J.Finlay, J.Sigsworth, E. Metcalfe, J.Carberry, J.Clark, J., Parvin and J. McLean

At the close of the season the unique performance of the team received due recognition. A subscription was opened, and thanks mainly to the efforts of Mr Geo Douglas, medals were presented to the successful players.

With a view to assisting the club financially, a concert was held in the Athenaeum in August 1891, the artistes being Coun John Hunter, Miss L. Wilmot, the misses Pounder and Messrs J.W.Horn,C. Webber, W.Gowans and Prinsky.

During an interval in the programme the medals were presented by Mrs Geo Pyman (wife of the President) assisted by the Mayor of the borough, Ald Robt. Lauder, and Tommy McDougall- as captain of the club – was presented with a silver watch and gold chain as a special mark of admiration and esteem.

Under the constitution of the Durham Union the Durham Junior Cup winners were elevated to senior rank in the ensuing year and this led to the undoing of the West End club.

Defections to Senior clubs took place, Liddle, Hopps, Finlay and others became valuable additions to the West senior club and McDougall became one of the famous combination known as “”two Macs” who represented the Rovers at half back after the retirement of Arthur Scott. Before the disbanding of the club however Mr Tom Leak was presented with a walnut desk bound in brass in appreciation of his loyal and devoted service to the club.

As the transcribers of the mystic lore of ancient Egypt would say “here the record ends”







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