Blasts From The Past

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In 2015 The Hockey Museum received an enquiry from Alan Lancaster. He sent two photographs, one a team photograph, which Alan thought was Newhey Ladies’ Hockey team. One of the photographs featured his mother Doreen Howles and her two sisters, Vera and June holding a cup which was believed to be the English Cup. Alan wanted to know more about the English Cup and when the Newhey team won the cup.

I contacted Dr David Day a Reader in Sports History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He passed my enquiry onto Margaret Roberts who sent me a number of articles from The Lancashire Daily Post. The articles contained information about women’s hockey in the Lancashire area in the 1930s and the early 1940s and I was able to find some information about the English Cup and hockey in the North West. The results of my early research were published on THM in 2015 here.

So, what has been unearthed since then? In the Wednesday 20 October 1937 edition of the paper I found the following: “The draw for the first round of the English Hockey Cup to be played on November 6th takes place tonight. The competition is played under the auspices of the English Ladies’ Hockey League Association to whom the cup was presented in 1934 by Mr Frederick Johnson of Liverpool. Leyland Motors were the first winners beating Liverpool Olympic in the final as they did the following year. The present holders are Stockport.”

So we had confirmed the English Cup existed. It was organised by the English Ladies’ Hockey League Association (ELHLA) and appears to have involved teams from the Lancashire and Cheshire area, who were affiliated to the ELHLA. Lancashire and Cheshire ladies’ leagues nominated two or three teams to play in the cup each year, usually the best teams in their leagues, a bit like the Champions League in football.

Further research is required to find out the full role the ELHLA played in the history of hockey but it appears they were the body who organised league hockey which at the time seems to have been played mainly in the north of the country. Many of its officials were men compared to the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA), where the top officials were all women. It would be interesting to find out what relationship they had with the AEWHA. The Lancashire Daily Post hints at it in a report dated 11 July 1932 which contains information about the adjourned general meeting of the ELHLA which was held in Milton Hall, Manchester on Saturday 9 July 1932.

The article states, “Mr C Rogers was in the chair, representatives from the Manchester, Liverpool, Middleton, Stockport and Lancashire Central leagues were present. Miss Caley, the President, in a short address urged that the Association's attitude towards alternative bodies working with a similar ultimate object in view, namely the better organisation of women’s hockey, should be of a friendly nature and that cooperation should be attempted whenever possible”.

Was the President perhaps referring to the AEWHA? The report continues: “The honorary secretary Mr John Lishman reported that negotiations were going forward to arrange an international match between this association and Ireland during the season 1932-33. The Chairman said that this meeting was directly representative of 250 ladies’ hockey clubs in Lancashire and Cheshire. The honorary secretary reported about 5000 players under its control.”

England vs Scotland 01England vs Scotland match programme, 15 April 1939

The ELHLA did go on and play ‘international matches’ and its first was against the Scottish Leagues on Saturday 4 March 1933 and again The Lancashire Daily Post provides us with valuable information. In its edition dated 23 February 1933 it reports: “Mr John Lishman the hon. Sec of the Ass. then approached the Scottish leagues and an international has been arranged to be played in Glasgow on March 4th. The English team is as follows; F. Honoun (Liverpool League), D. Brayshaw (Liverpool), M. Hegg (Manchester), A. Herbert (Manchester), M. Hyde (Stockport), E Rowcroft (Lancashire Central), M. Mason (Liverpool), E. Hawkins (Manchester), Reserves; E. Schofield (Liverpool), M. Cavanagh (Middleton).”

England vs Scotland 02England and Scotland team sheets, 15 April 1939

These ‘international’ matches continued and the Museum has received a donation from Mr Knight from Reddish whose mother Eliza Knight played in two of these international matches in 1939. The collection includes a number of newspaper cuttings from the local papers about the two matches. The first game was against Northern Ireland on Easter Monday 10 April 1939 in Belfast. The English team won 7-0. England played Scotland in the second game at Cheadle Heath Sports’ Ground, Cheltham Road, Stockport on Saturday 15 April 1939. The English team won 4-1 and Eliza scored the fourth goal – “England kept up the attack and A Roberts placed to E Knight, who tricked P Couper and working her way into the circle the Stockport right winger beat J Couston with a brilliant shot”.

The report also notes, “The matches were a triangle competition between the three countries for a handsome new trophy presented by Mrs Arthur Moores, President of the English Association.”

How these international matches were viewed by the AEWHA is not known. How did the two organisations run the game? Was there a split between the two like in rugby? What happened to the ELHLA? It would be interesting to find out and much more research needs to be done in relation to this.

However, back to the English Cup, could we find out when Newhey won the cup? Newhey is an area in Rochdale, Greater Manchester and so I looked in The Rochdale Observer, the local paper. The paper contained a weekly article about ladies’ hockey and I was able to find information about Newhey’s English Cup run. The paper contained two detailed reports on their semi-final game and the final. The year was 1951.

On 3 March 1951 they played and defeated their local rivals CSOS in the semi-final. CSOS had lost in the semi-final to Bellshaws the previous season. In the final, which took place on Saturday 7 April 1951, they beat Poynton Ladies 1-0 on the Clifton Choride (Exide) ground at Pendlebury, Salford.

Newhey's run to the final:

2 December 1950 – Round 1 – Newhey 3-1 Eagley Mills (Bolton)
13 January 1951 – Round 2 – unknown opponent or result
Unknown date – Round 3 – Newhey 2-1 Christ Church (Bolton) played at Firgrove, Rochdale
3 March 1951 – Semi-final – Newhey 3-1 CSOS (Rochdale)
7 April 1951 – Final – Newhey 1-0 Poynton played at Clifton Choride (Exide), Pendlebury

Newhey did not achieve the cup double as they lost 2-1 to CSOS in the Turner Cup final (this was the Rochdale Ladies’ Hockey League Cup). However they did win the Rochdale and District Ladies’ Hockey League that year, so not a bad season.

We had managed to answer Alan's questions and are now trying to find out more about the English Cup. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help with any further information about the English Cup, Newhey Ladies’ Hockey Team or the ELHLA.

Mark Evans, 13 December 2016

Blasts From The Past: An Introduction

This features page includes articles from hockey's rich history. With the ever increasing activity of The Hockey Museum, our research is constantly coming across fascinating stories from throughout the sport's history and across the hockey world. These are not current news stories although some may have been when they occurred....

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