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From The Archives

By Chris Briscoe

I started doing the ‘From the archives’ serial, it was at the start of the 2009/10 season, when Danny Brown first came down on one of his very rare visits to see the Moles. As this person had played for Molesey in their first season of senior status, naturally I started on the 53/54 season, and throughout that season, did an occasional series which ended in 57/58. Since then, I have covered the first 60 years, 1892 – 1952 of Molesey F.C., and here I am back at 1953! Now, I am not going to repeat what I initially put in those seasons, but just add what I missed – which is quite a lot, as I was only just starting out on what I aim is to be a 5/6 year project in the Molesey matchday programme detailing our complete history. Therefore for the next three programmes including this one, I will be talking about our first six seasons in senior football, the Surrey Senior League – spanning 1953-59.

So to 1953/54. We moved from the rec to 412 Walton-road, and the first team finished in 14th out of 16 in their first Surrey Senior League season. This is not as bad as it sounds considering our points difference was only -13. In fact the league record reads as: Played 30, Won 9 Drawn 5 Lost 16, For 57 Against 70, Points 23. The league table for both the 1st and reserve sides, plus the first team’s list of matches and goalscorers were published in the 24th October 2009 match Vs Cove, and so are not reproduced here.

With regard to our playing staff, the following pen-pictures, were published in the Molesey & Ditton News on Friday 9th October 1953…

Goal – Len Davis (21), has played for Molesey since 1948. A plumber by trade.

Right-back – Les Cook (20), right back for Molesey when 15 years of age. A cool defender who uses the ball to start attacks.

Left-back – Norman Day (27), Comes from a footballing family. Is a strong kicker with both feet. Joined the club in 1946.

Right-half – Billy Lovell (23), started with Molesey after the War. Delivers stacks of coal during the week, which accounts for his strength on the field.

Centre-half – A. Arbuckle (20), a well-built youngster who has made the first team in his first season with the club. Comes from Surbiton and is a press operator.

Left-half – Johnny Summers (22), has played for Wimbledon but chose Molesey after his demob. Captain and back bone of the side.

Outside-right – Johnny Hart (21), His second season as first choice for his position. An electrican by trade.

Inside-right – Dan Brown (21), Comes from Hook.Took over when Dennis Peacock was injured and has been retained in the first team.

Centre-forward – Ray Wilkinson (22), a Londoner recommended by Fulham. Has represented the league. Fast, and packs a hot shot in both feet. A tiler by trade.

Inside-left – Dennis Lowes (24), in his first season with the club. Played for Devizes in West Country football in 1948. A carpenter by trade.

Outside-left – Micky Housham (25), a tough and energetic winger. Works as architectural assistant in Milk Marketing Board. Has played in first team for past two seasons.

Nine days after that article was published, Molesey travelled to league leaders, Chertsey for a cup replay, and played probably their best match of the season…

Saturday 17th October 1953: Surrey Senior League Challenge Cup: 1st round replay:

Chertsey Town: 4, Molesey: 5

“MOLESEY FOX CHERTSEY IN LAST 15 MINUTES. A pre-arranged tactical move made by Molesey when they were 4 - 2 down with only 15 minutes left for play won them the cup replay game at Chertsey. Ray Wilkinson, whose footsteps had been dogged by Horrocks all through the game fell back and lured the centre half away from the middle for Dennis Peacock to take advantage of the gap to such an extent that he scored what must be his fastest hat-trick ever – the winning goal coming on the stroke of time. NEARLY OFFSIDE. Chertsey won the toss and Molesey immediately took the play into their opponent’s half. After only 10 minutes play, Ballerino, the Chertsey centre-forward, received a pass in what was very nearly an offside position. With the Molesey defence standing, he went forward to score a simple goal. Molesey retaliated and Peacock fired over from a good position. Then Wilkinson was fouled just outside the area and Summers shot over from the resultant free-kick. The home side then took up the running and after a period of pressure they were rewarded with a further goal when Baker hit a brilliant shot from fully 30 yards out into the top corner of the net. Despite their two-goal deficit, Molesey refused to depart from their short passing game which, although pretty to watch, was not paying dividends. After 25 minutes they managed to reduce the lead when Brown’s shot was pushed away by Farley and before the Chertsey goalkeeper could gather the ball, Hart dashed in and netted. When it seemed an equalizer was on the way, Ballerino scored Chertsey’s third goal with a

cleverly taken shot. Molesey again fought back and five minutes before the interval, Wilkinson headed home from Housham’s corner kick. On the stoke of half-time, Slade, the Chertsey right winger, sent in an awkward shot which hit Davis on the shoulder and the ball was bundled through by Baker to again put Chertsey two goals in the lead. The second half opened with Molesey putting everything they had into attack. Johnny Summers forsook his usual third-back game and left Ballerino in the hands of Cook and Day. Chertsey defended desperately to retain their lead and it was only occasionally when the ball was cleared over the heads of the up field Molesey halves that Ballerino and his two wingers came into the game. The Molesey forwards delighted the crowd with their short passing from ma to man, but their reluctance to shoot as the opportunities arose enabled Chertsey to survive until the last fateful 15 minutes. Peacock received from Brown and scored the first of his decisive three goals. His second followed five minutes later from Hart’s pass and with the referee looking at his watch Wilkinson put a delightful ball down the middle. DRAMATIC WINNER. The race for the ball by the advancing goalkeeper and the converging Peacock was won by the latter, who slipped the ball into the net to give Molesey a most dramatic winner. There was no time left to re centre. A grand game between two sporting sides with never a dull moment was the general verdict despite the good humored banter of rival supporters which prevailed throughout the game.

Molesey: L. Davis; L. Cook, N. Day; W. Lovell, J. Summers, A. Arbuckle; J. Hart, D. Brown, R. Wilkinson, D. Peacock, M. Housham.

Chertsey: W. Farley; E. Humphreys, G. Tucker; B. Osbourne, N. Horrocks, K. Godsen; B. Slade, S. Baker, J. Ballerino, J. Hume, J. Laycock.

The reserves finished up in 4th place. P 30, W 18 D 4 L 8, F 96 A 57, PTS 40…

Molesey Reserves – Surrey Senior League Reserve Division

Date H/A Opposition Comp. Res. Scorers, or other info

12th Sept H Banstead Athletic res SSLr 1 - 4 Mick Housham

12th A Hawkers Athletic res SSLr 4 - 0

19th H Malden Town res SSLr 4 - 4 P. Guardhouse (2), Jennings (2)

19th H Hawkers Athletic res SSLr 3 - 0

26th A Banstead Athletic res LCh:1 1 - 10

10th Oct A Watney’s Sports SIC:1 1 - 3

17th H Chertsey Town res SSLr 0 - 4

24th A Devas Institute res SSLr 2 - 1

31st H McLaren Sports res SSLr 9 - 3

7th Nov A Cobham res SSLr 3 - 1

14th H Croydon Amateurs res SSLr 1 - 1 Pat Street

21st A Camberley Town res SSLr 6 - 0 Pat Street, Housham (3), Forrester, Morris

28th H Farncombe res SSLr 1 - 0 P. Guardhouse

5th Dec A Croydon Amateurs res SSLr 1 - 2

12th H Worcester Park res SSLr 2 - 7

19th A Worcester Park res SSLr 2 - 2 P. Guardhouse, A. Clift

26th H Camberley Town res SSLr 10 - 3 Compton (3), P. Street (2), P. Guardhouse (3), D. Brown, Jennings (pen)

2nd Jan A Farnham Town res SSLr 4 - 1 P. Guardhouse, J. Mayersbeth, R. Wilkinson (2)

9th A Surbiton Town res SSLr 0 - 3

16th H Devas Institute res SSLr 5 - 2 P. Guardhouse (3), P. Street, J. Mayersbeth

23rd A Malden Town res SSLr 3 - 2 J. Hart, P. Street, Livesey

6th Feb H Horley Town res SSLr 1 - 3 P. Guardhouse

13th A Horley Town res SSLr 2 - 3 P. Street, P. Guardhouse

20th H Cobham res SSLr 6 - 0 P. Street (3), D. Brown, P. Guardhouse, F. Higham

27th H Dorking res SSLr 2 - 5

6th Mar A Farncombe res SSLr 4 - 1 F. Higham (2), D. Brown, R. Barrett

13th H Weybridge Fr 7 - 2 F. Higham (4), Livesey, R. Barrett (2)

20th A Chertsey Town res SSLr 2 - 0 Williams, O.G

27th H Farnham Town res SSLr 3 - 0 Williams, L. Stenning, D. Arbuckle

3rd Apr A McLarens Sports res SSLr 3 - 1 Billings (pen), F. Higham, L. Stenning

10th H Kingstonian ‘A’ Fr 2 - 4

17th H Surbiton Town res SSLr 7 - 0 D. George (4), P. Street, P. Guardhouse, L. Stenning

24th H Banstead Athletic res SSLr 3 - 3 Williams (2), P. Street

1st May A Dorking res SSLr 2 - 1

Key: SSLr – Surrey Senior reserve League; LCh – Surrey Senior reserve League Challenge Cup; SIC – Surrey Intermediate Cup; Fr - Friendly

Being a senior club, meant promotion throughout the ranks. None was so marked as that of the ‘A’ (3rd) XI, who the previous season had played in the Kingston & District division 3a. For 53/54, they took over the 2nd XI’s position in the Premier division!

Kingston & District Premier League: Molesey ‘A’:

PLD W D L F A PTS H A

1. Malden Sports 20 19 1 0 98 10 39

2. Mollart Athletic 20 15 1 4 83 33 31

3. Coombe 20 13 1 6 82 32 27

4. Ham Rovers 20 12 3 5 67 35 27

5. Hampton Court Palace 20 11 3 6 77 38 25

6. K.D.C.S Old Boys 20 8 5 7 49 44 21

7. Special Commissioners 20 7 4 9 47 52 18

8. Ordinance Survey 20 4 3 13 37 80 11

9. Hampton Wick 20 2 3 13 31 88 9 11 - 1

10. Molesey ‘A’ 20 3 2 13 38 90 8 XXX XXX

11. Kingston Legion 20 1 2 17 21 128 4

The Teck Cup, saw the 3rd XI exit 1 – 3 to Ham Rovers in late January 1954.

The Molesey Youth Club played in the Esher & District Youth League, as they did a few seasons ago and would again in 54/55, but beyond that, nothing more is known about them and how they did.

The following review of the 1953/54 season was published in the Molesey & Ditton News, dated Friday June 4th 1954, and makes for interesting reading…

“HOW MOLESEY SAVED THEIR STADIUM. One of best grounds in County. At the annual meeting of Molesey Football club at the Conservative Hall on Wednesday, Mr. H. W. Norman, the club’s secretary, presented his report for the year which contained the main events that had taken place during that time. He said that it was during September last that Mr. Maxwell found it was necessary for him to withdraw his project concerning the development of the Stadium. The club committee, having considered the changed circumstances, found themselves faced with the choice of one of two alternatives –to acquire the ground and continue in senior football or vacate the ground and be faced with the probable reversion to junior football. The club committee, after much deliberation decided to purchase the property. A finance sub-committee was formed with the object of performing detailed work on raising the necessary finance. This sub-committee was appointed in October, consisted of Messrs. Bird, Crouch and Norman, with power to co-opt an additional member for consultative purposes. It was charged with the task of finding ways and means of carrying into effect decisions made by the club committee. Mr. Bird subsequently found it necessary to resign and Mr. G.

Wyeth was appointed to fill the vacancy. GIVE AND TAKE. He found that the purchase price asked at £6,200 was far beyond the reach of Molesey and the club was successful in a ‘round table’ discussion with the vendors in having the amount reduced to £5,600. The committee noted, with great satisfaction, that these meetings held with the vendors were in a spirit of ‘give and take’, goodwill and common sense. It should also be worthy of note that Mr. Maxwell had forfeited a good deal in order to reach agreement in which the ground would ultimately become the property of Molesey F.C., states the report. (Note: The vendors were ‘A. J. Maxwell’, and also the ‘Lord Hotham estates’ – Chris) In their deliberations, the sub-committee felt that to subscribe the amount required by collection would not be possible, and the assistance of the Football Association was sought. A deputation from the club visited the F.A. offices at Lancaster Gate on January 28th last from which a formula was found, that a loan-equivalent to two-thirds of the valuation might be obtained subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. Negotations had been proceeding since January last with the result that the F.A. Council at its meeting on April 30 approved the loan of £3,300, upon the security of a first mortgage and of which interest will be charged at a rate of 2 per-cent per annum. The principal and interest will be repayable over a period of 15 years by equal annual installments of principal £222 4s. 0d. and interest of £35 10s. 8d. a total of £257 14s. 8d. £257 A YEAR. The club committee were now faced with raising the balance of £2,024. Arrangements are well in hand to appeal to the residents of Molesey while other schemes to supplement this amount are under consideration. Legal authority has been sought to make a ‘house to house’ collection. The committee have not overlooked the fact that £257 per annum must be found to repay the F.A. loan and this question of deriving a regular source of income to meet this must be our first and foremost consideration. Decisions which the club committee have been called upon to make have sometimes been of a very intricate nature and the negotiations with the vendors and the F.A. have likewise been of a delicate character and it is gratifying to know that these have been overcome so far. Finally on a more personal note, he said that he would like to express his thanks to two colleagues, Mr. Crouch and Mr. Wyeth who have given him much support, also to all members of the general committee who had been most helpful and tolerant. ‘I am convinced that we have taken the first step in placing Molesey F.C. in a prominent position on the amateur football map’ he said. MOMENTOUS YEAR. The report of the club committee was also presented. In it Mr. A. J. Crouch said that the season 1953/54 had been, perhaps, the most momentous in the long history of the club and it may truly be said that, despite difficulties encountered by any club in its first season in senior football, results may be considered satisfactory. The first eleven competed in the Surrey Senior League and attained 14th position out of 16 competing clubs. The second eleven competing in the senior league reserve section had a highly successful season and might well have been champions –

they occupied 4th position. The third eleven, competing in the premier division of the Kingston & District League experienced a poor season. When the club were accepted as members of the county senior league it was resolved that players who had represented the club so ably in the past should have an opportunity of appearing in senior football; that promise was kept and the majority have proved themselves capable of holding their own in a higher grade. Ray Wilkinson played for the Surrey County XI vs. Sussex County FA. In September 1953, and the club were honoured by an invitation to stage the Surrey Junior Cup Final, the first occasion on which a match of this importance has been played at Molesey. The club were also pleased to accept the invitation of the Surrey County Intermediate league to play their Challenge Cup Final at Molesey and both games attracted many supporters. ‘In Molesey Stadium your club possesses one of the best grounds in the county and the decision of the county F.A. to assign to Molesey one of its plum games is a tribute to the ability, energy and enterprise of your officers and committee,’ says Mr. Crouch. SERVICES FREE. The club has purchased a hut for use as a player’s dressing room and tea bar and Mr. A. J. Morris has promised financial help towards the cost of providing some covered accommodation for spectators. An unusual feature of the club is that no paid workers are employed, even the groundsman and trainer have given their services gratis; it is hoped, therefore that additional voluntary help will be forthcoming to make the tasks of the present members lighter.”

The letter of agreement from the Football Association to agree to the loan is below:-

“I have pleasure in informing you that the Football Association, at its meeting on April 30, decided to make an advance of £3,333 to your club upon the security of a first mortgage on the ground known as Molesey Stadium. Interest on the mortgage will be charged at the rate of 2 per cent per annum. The principal and interest will be repayable over a period of 15 years. I shall be glad if you will let me know if these terms meet with the club’s approval and at the same time let me have the name and address of the solicitors who will be acting on your behalf”

The above was written by none other than Sir Stanley Rous, the president of the F.A. Incidentally, he came to open the clubhouse which we now have in 1960. Before that the club house was an old wooden shed (see photo) purchased in the close season for 1954/55. This meant that players could change on the premises and not have to cross over a road to get to the game. That facilitated Molesey’s acceptance to the F.A. Amateur Cup. Regarding the shed, the Molesey News reported in mid-May 1954, ”A few days ago a large hut 54 feet long by 18 wide was purchased from the Old Naval Comrades Association and this will be erected on the stadium to serve as dressing room.”

The Moles 1954-55

Again, as the details of the first team’s results and table were published in the Hanworth Villa programme from Tuesday 27th October 2009, it will not be repeated. Only that the first team did better, by finishing 6th (out of 16). With the playing record of: Played 30, Won 14 Drawn 6 Lost 10, For 85 Against 75, Pts 34. Also, two trial matches were played at the start of the season, Probables (in white) Vs Possibles (in red). These were basically first team Vs reserve games, with the last match ending 3 – 3 after the previous week (14th August 1954) saw the firsts run out 8 – 1 winners.

For the last game of the season, a friendly was arranged against Fulham F.C. Here is a preview of the game, which was looked forward to by many…

“MOLESEY V FULHAM FIXTURE. Secretary Bert Norman has done a good job in arranging for Fulham to send a side here to play the 1st XI on Saturday April 30. It will be a sort of re-union for some as a few years back the Molesey Youth side was composed almost entirely from young Fulham players some of whom have since made the grade at Craven Cottage.”

Saturday 30th April 1955: Friendly, Molesey : 2, Fulham XI: 2

“Molesey Equal Polish of Professionals. Coming after the rough and tumble of league football it was most refreshing to see two sides that devoted their energies entirely to the finer arts of the game. On Saturday, at Molesey Stadium, the young Fulham side, which included six young professionals, played along the carpet football. Molesey emulated their opponents and although the finishing of both sides was not as good as their approach work, Molesey fully deserved their late equalizer. In the opening half, Fulham looked what they obviously were – a well-trained side. Their out-side left – Pratt – an ex-schoolboy international, impressed with some clever footwork which had Les Cook puzzled, and a centre from the winger put centre-forward Noyce through to open the scoring for Fulham with a hard shot which Stamps could only push over his head and into the net. Sinclair, the well built Fulham goalkeeper, pushed out a close-in shot by Reynolds, and George following up, shot narrowly wide. Wilkinson had a hard drive saved by the goalkeeper and at the other end, Noyce crashed a shot against the crossbar, with Stamps well beaten. Reynolds by falling back started a movement near the Molesey corner flag which led to Wilkinson getting a good equaliser! But Fulham came again before the interval and went ahead when Noyce headed a well-placed corner kick past Stamps. The professionals were not so prominent in the second half, mainly because Housham, deputizing for Summers, held up the progress of Noyce and Cook found the way to subdue Pratt. George, clear of all opposition, delayed his shot

long enough for Sinclair to rush out and deflect the ball inches the wrong side of the upright. Heard made a perfect opening for Reynolds, who had the ball snapped off his toes by the goalkeeper. The visitors kept clam under pressure and moved the defence to attack with short cross-field passes which broke down only when they got into shooting range. After Peacock had a point blank drive charged down on the goal line and Lowes had his 25-yard drive deflected onto the upright by Sinclair, it seemed that Fulham would retain their slender lead against the run of play. But justice was done when in the final minutes Peacock and Reynolds moved well down the right wing and from the latter’s centre, George slipped the ball past Sinclair for the equalizer.”

Molesey: Geoff Stamps; Les Cook, Jim Hollywood; Dennis Lowes, Micky Housham, Albert Hemingway; Derek Reynolds, Roy Heard, Derek George, Dennis Peacock, Ray Wilkinson

Fulham: Sinclair; Collins, Healey; Grout, Wilson, Lambden; Borrent, Cronin, Noyce, Kent, Pratt

Here, the reserves’ fortunes are covered in detail…

Molesey Reserves – Surrey Senior League Reserve Division

Date H/A Opposition Comp. Res. Scorers, or other info

28th Aug A Devas Institute res SSLr 6 - 0 D. Brown, M. Housham, F. Higham (2), P. Davis, L. Stenning

2nd Sept H Chertsey Town res SSLr 2 - 2

4th A Banstead Athletic res SSLr 3 - 1 D. Peacock, D. Brown, F. Higham

9th A Chertsey Town res SSLr 2 - 0

11th H Dorking res SSLr 5 - 1 Frankie Higham (4), D. Peacock

16th A Hawkers Athletic res SSLr 4 - 1

18th A Surbton Town res SSLr 8 - 2 Dennis Peacock (4), J. Hart (2), D. Brown, I. McTear

23rd H Hawkers Athletic res SSLr 4 - 0

25th A Farnham Town res SSLr 3 - 3 J. Hart (2), P. Davis

2nd Oct A Camberley Town res SSLr 1 - 3 Ron Barrett

9th H Norbury Rangers SIC:1 3 - 4 F. Higham (3)

23rd A Horley Town res SSLr 5 - 0 N. Townsend (2), J. Hart, P. Guardhouse (2)

30th H Farnham Town res LCC:1 3 - 2

13th Nov H Camberley Town res SSLr 2 - 1 Ray Wilkinson, J. Apps

20th A McLaren Sports SSLr 6 - 3 Frankie Higham (3), Ray Wilkinson, Jimmie Apps, Peter Guardhouse

27th H Croydon Amateurs res SSLr 5 - 1 F. Higham (3), Ray Wilkinson

11th Dec H McLarens Sports res SSLr 5 - 1 R. Wilkinson (4), Ray Morris

18th A Andre Rubber Sports SICha:1 3 - 6

24th H Worcester Park res SSLr 4 - 5

1st Jan H Banstead Athletic res SSLr 2 - 2 F. Higham, D. Peacock

8th A Cobham res SSLr 0 - 1

22nd A Dorking res SSLr 0 - 4

29th H Farnham Town res SSLr 7 - 1 A. Applegate (3), Ray Wilkinson (2), R. Morris, P. Guardhouse

5th Feb H Dorking res LCC:QF 4 - 4 R. Wilkinson (2), F. Higham, A. Applegate

12th A Malden Town res SSLr 3 - 4 R. Wilkinson (2), D. Brown

26th H Horley Town res SSLr 3 - 0 F. Higham, Hartz, A. Applegate

5th Mar A Dorking res LCC:QF replay 3 - 4 R. Wilkinson, L. Higham, L. Stenning

12th A Farncombe SSLr 4 - 3 F. Higham (4)

19th H Cobham res SSLr 6 - 1 F. Higham (2), J. Apps (2), B. Livesey, Woods

26th H Farncombe res SSLr 2 - 3 F. Higham, Marshall

11th Apr A Worcester Park res SSLr 2 - 5 Townsend

16th H Malden Town res SSLr 5 - 1 F. Higham (3), D. Brown, B. Livesey

23rd H Devas Institute res SSLr 0 - 0

27th A Croydon Amateurs res SSLr 3 - 1

30th H Surbiton Town res SSLr 2 - 2 ‘Jock’ Marshall, Derek Reynolds

Surrey Senior League: Reserve Division: Molesey Reserves:

PLD W D L F A PTS H A

1. Banstead Athletic 30 24 2 4 156 38 50 2 - 2 3 - 1

2. Dorking 30 24 2 4 126 52 50 5 - 1 0 - 4

3. Molesey 30 18 5 7 104 52 41 XXX XXX

4. Camberley Town 30 19 3 8 93 60 41 2 - 1 1 - 3

5. Worcester Park 30 19 1 10 93 48 39 4 - 5 2 - 5

6. Chertsey Town 30 16 3 11 80 82 35 2 - 2 2 - 0

7. McLaren Sports 30 15 2 13 66 65 32 5 - 1 6 - 3

8. Farnham Town 30 12 6 12 71 68 30 1 - 0 3 - 1

9. Farncombe 30 11 5 14 82 101 27 2 - 3 4 - 3

10. Malden Town 30 11 4 15 60 69 26 5 - 1 3 - 4

11. Croydon Amateurs 30 12 2 16 60 87 26 5 - 1 3 - 1

12. Devas Institute 30 10 5 15 50 84 25 0 - 0 6 - 0

13. Hawkers Athletic 30 7 4 19 48 78 18 4 - 0 4 - 1

14. Cobham 30 5 4 21 38 83 14 6 - 1 0 - 1

15. Horley Town 30 6 1 23 37 114 13 3 - 0 5 - 0

16. Surbiton Town 30 4 5 21 36 119 13 2 - 2 8 - 2

On Saturday 5th March 1955, the reserves played in the replay of the Quarter Finals of the Reserve League Challenge Cup, following a 4 – 4 draw at home to Dorking reserves so now to Dorking, and there was another thriller. Report: “Dorking res 4, Molesey res 3. Two goals up in 15 minutes in their Challenge Cup replay at Dorking, Molesey reserves finally went under by the odd goal in seven. A crowd of over 500 watched a keen battle. Wilkinson scored after ten minutes, and Stenning got the second almost immediately. But three quick goals gave Dorking a 3 – 2 interval lead which they added to after the change-round. Higham scored Molesey’s third with six minutes to go but although Dorking’s goal was under severe pressure the equaliser was prevented.”

Molesey’s 3rd XI (Molesey ‘A’) withdrew from the Kingston & District, and played in the very tough Surrey Combination League, rubbing shoulders with the ‘A’ (ie: 3rd) sides of local leading amateur clubs. An interesting experiment…

Surrey Combination League: Molesey ‘A’: (up to & incl. Oct 30th 1954)

PLD W D L PTS H A

1. Wimbledon ‘A’ 6 4 2 0 10 0 - 5

2. Molesey ‘A’ 7 3 1 3 7 XXX XXX

3. Carshalton Athletic ‘A’ 3 3 0 0 6 0 - 4 1 - 7

4. Kingstonian ‘A’ 4 3 0 1 6 1 - 7

5. Woking ‘A’ 5 2 1 2 5 2 - 11

6. Sutton United ‘A’ 5 2 1 2 5 0 - 2 0 - 8

7. Epsom Town ‘A’ 3 2 1 0 5

8. Walton & Hersham ‘A’ 4 1 1 2 3 0 - 0 5 - 1

9. Banstead Athletic ‘A’ 6 1 1 4 3

10. Chertsey Town ‘A’ 7 1 1 5 3 5 - 4

11. Vickers (Weybridge) ‘A’ 5 0 1 4 1 4 - 3 2 - 1

If ever there was a case of ‘false league position’ – this is it! The only published table that season was near its beginning when Molesey played more games than everyone else, and mostly against the lower sides. As the season continued, Molesey ‘A’, their 3rd string, found themselves playing more and more third teams from clubs that played in the high grade Isthmian and Athenian Leagues and suffered many heavy defeats. During the course of that season, friendly matches Vs Bentalls, 1 – 1, and West End, 7 – 2 were played. Many results not published – so a lot is missing.

One aspect of the 1954/55 season worth mentioning is the club’s admission into the F.A. Amateur Cup (as the clubhouse was on the club’s premises, Molesey were allowed to enter, whilst in 53/54, it wasn’t, so they were not). Devas Institute were accounted for 5 – 2 in the preliminary round, before Uxbridge, from the higher Corinthian League, came out of the hat for the 1st Qualifying round. Much was written about that game when I featured 54/55 in 2009/10, but I will repeat that the game finished 1 – 1 at Walton road, before a week later, Uxbridge ran out narrow 2 – 1 winners at Honeycroft. I will also add, that around 1,350 paid at the gate for the replay, and their matchday programme contained the following words: “BETWEEN YOU AND ME. Bothered, badgered, bewildered and bewitched, just about sums up the visit of the Reds to East Molesey. Entirely unimpressed by the august position of their opponents, or their status, the ‘Lilywhites’ (Note: This may have been our nickname then, though they are wrong about East Molesey! – Chris) knocked Don Bevan (Note: Their captain – Chris) and his merry men right out of their stride. First time tackling, hard, clean, and purposeful, had the Reds at great disadvantage, and although it would be unfair to claim that Molesey deserved to win, they were certainly full value for their sharing of honours. It is, therefore, not only with pleasure that we offer them a very warm welcome to Honeycroft this afternoon, but with admiration for their powers of tenacity and with the very necessary WILL TO WIN.”

After another hard-fought game, resulting in a 1 – 2 defeat, brought about some questions regarding a change in formation among the Molesey forwards late in the game, this was answered in the Molesey & Ditton News… “EXPLANATION. The re-arranged forward-line for the last 15 minutes of the match can now be explained. That courageous little inside-forward Danny Brown had played himself to the point of exhaustion and his skipper wisely sent him to the wing.”

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