Sunday 29 December 1974 (Sunday League Division Three):

  Box Hill 2  

  Dales 5  

8 Weaver         2 Bailey         6 Slade         3 Claughton
20 Cranston         12 Toal         15 Burns
10 Parkin         14 Phillips         9 Ward

(# Sub - 4 Armitage)

Scorers - Burns, Bailey.

  Christmas of 1974 was a strange time for me, with my parents in the middle of moving. From now on, all my appearances for Box Hill, and indeed in Scarborough, would be by the goodwill of the Cranston family.

  For this game, we appeared to have done everything right. In addition to what was then our regular midfield and attack, we had an unusually strong defence. Les Bailey, in spite of his lack of height, made an ideal partner for Sladey in the centre, and at right-back former Red Flagger Willy Weaver had been persuaded to throw in his lot with us, while Duncan Claughton made one of his increasingly rare appearances at left-back. Even the absence of Chris Hooper in goals should not have bothered us unduly, as Tony Hodgkinson, returned for the holiday period, was a more than adequate deputy.

  We even drew first blood, for once, when I exchanged passes with Norman Parkin and fired in what must surely have looked quite a good goal from the edge of the box. Shortly after that, we were awarded a penalty for hand-ball, but unfortunately the normally reliable Duncan missed the spot kick, and from here on somehow it all went wrong.

  Dales, whose league record up till then was scarcely better than ours, turned up for this fixture two men short of a team, and yet managed to score twice before the interval. For the second half, Graham Armitage replaced Willy, a player of some class but as yet not quite adjusted to the bitterly competitive world of Sunday football, and the team pushed forward in search of what would have been our first league points. The game was particularly hard fought, as we would have expected after the unsavoury first game at Gristhorpe, and eventually featured our first "proper" booking, when Norman was adjudged to have over-retaliated after a bruising exchange of tackles. Almost unbelievably, Dales scored three more times during this period, and so history must recall that we were seen off at home by the second bottom side in the division, even though they only had nine players.

  The match did, however, have a sting in the tail. In the last minute, Les Bailey took a corner from the left, which floated innocuously into the six-yard box, and was quickly and unceremoniously cleared. The referee's attention was then drawn to the linesman, a Mr C.Pygas of Eastfield, who assured him that the ball had crossed the line, in apparent defiance of the laws of physics. Chris was a great club servant to Box Hill, but he never again performed such a useful function as he did that day with his flag.

  On a sartorial note, it may be mentioned that Dales played in their normal red shirts, making attempts to distinguish the sides well nigh impossible. They told me they did have some blue shirts in their possession, but didn't want to wear them as the shirts were rather small and, "We're all big lads, know what I mean?" Such was the unsubtle psychological warfare that used to go on in the Scarborough Sunday League Division Three in those days. Needless to say, Eric Sedgman didn't turn up to tell them off.

  Two days later, on New Year's Eve, the band who had been Scarborough's great hope of the early 1970s, Brave New World, played their final gig, at the Penthouse.

Next page, the mid-season friendly away to Hackness.

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