Friday, 28 May 2010

Neighbourhood watch

The 2010 South Holderness Cup
A very traditional way to end the season

Hedon Rangers with "our cup"...for a third year running!

Last night saw Hedon Rangers complete a hat-trick of South Holderness Cup wins courtesy of an 8-1 trouncing of gallant Paull Wanderers at Low Farm.  To some people the result is further evidence of the decline of this traditional end-of-season competition.  Far from it I say...
The South Holderness Cup is one of the few such competitions still on the go.  Along with its north Holderness equivalent (the Tanton Cup) it provides Saturday clubs in our corner of the East Riding with a chance to claim bragging rights for a year.
Hedon Rangers are the current form team.  Their emphatic win in this year's final ensured they became only the third side to complete such a feat since the competition's inception in 1956 (I'm proud to say that one of the other two is Easington United).
The South Holderness Association Football Challenge Cup was born out of the ashes of the post-War South Holderness League, which had operated between 1946 and 1954 and at one time operated two divisions.
The actual trophy used for the first final in 1956 - won by Hedon United in controversial fashion against Patrington United - was the former South Holderness League Cup,.  This had first been competed for in 1950 and was won by this year's finalists ,Paull Wanderers  a year later, their last appearance in the final!

Like all such competitions the South Holderness Cup has had its fair share of ups and downs.  It nearly fell by the wayside in the early Eighties before a new committee, headed up by local referee Tom Southcoat and long-time Thorngumbald AFC secretary Arthur Brummitt, took up the reins from the "old guard".  In the past couple of years these "elderly statesmen" of local football have also passed on the baton to a younger quartet, which
In recent years the lack of participating clubs has been something of an issue.  Several reasons have been put forward for this, mainly involving fixture backlogs due to outstanding league/County cup commitments and/or bad weather, as experienced this winter.
Another perhaps more worrying reason put forward for some of the smaller clubs declining the invitation to enter is the widening gap between these teams and the competition favourites.  And while Paull's appearance in the Final (having dumped HPL Division 1 side Withernsea out in the semi-final) gives all "minnows" hope the emphatic result therein also served to reinforce this perception.
Not surprisingly Withernsea have the most number of wins in the South Holderness Cup.  However, the last of their fourteen victories came back in 1993.  Six times snce they've appeared in the final, only to lose out.  
Four of these defeats have come against us and our record in recent times is quite outstanding.  Having only reached the final for the first time in 1991 (losing out to Withernsea) we returned again in 1993 (again losing to the same opponents) and 1995 (beaten on pens at Hedon United).  But in 1997 we finally lifted the trophy for the first time on a night that typified what the South Holderness Cup used to be about - tight, competitive finals (we won on pens after a 1-1 draw in extra-time) played in front of a large crowd on a balmy spring evening.
1997: Walking in a Wilson Wonderland

Since that memorable May evening at Hull Road, the Eastenders have returned to the final seven times (eight if you include the bonus appearance of the Reserves last year).  All seven occasions - 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 - resulted in victory.  Given  that HPL commitments prevented entry in 2001 (we were instead represented by the Reserves in a tournament won by Keyingham thanks to victory over fellow Amateur League side Withernsea) our tally of wins stood at eight in ten attempts and an unofficial five in a row, matching the feat of Withernsea between 1963 and 1967.  Along with our impressive rise from County League whipping boys to Humber Premier League high-flyers  it helped make Easington United THE team everyone in Holderness wanted to beat.

 First timers - Holderness Cup Winners Cup 2007

In 2007 Mack's men also became inaugural winners of the Holderness Cup Winners Cup, an annual play-off between the South Holderness and Tanton Cup winners.  The motto "Pride of Holderness" never rang truer.
But recent times have seen us fail to add to these victories.  Indeed, the fact that each attempt has been halted by Hedon Rangers has led some to suggesting that the balance of power has shifted.  It's not a view you'll find me or anyone else at Low Farm subscribing to.  We simply point to our tally of wins that Rangers still have to match, plus a HPL record that leaves that of the Eastside club in the shade.  But I will admit we desperately need to regain that famous old trophy if only to regain a sense of order!
This year's draw meant a potential if not probable semi-final meeting of the "big two" should both progress past Hedon Rangers Juniors and Patrington.  

Thommo filled his boots at Eastside

We travelled to Eastside (the current name for the former BP site at Saltend) to face Hedon's third-string on the back of two defeats that had ended the league campaign on a low note.  But this game provided the perfect opportunity to bounce back and hat-tricks from Thommo, Fitz and Hutch plus a Mozzer brace helped us to an 11-0 rout.
Hedon's passage through was even more straightforward - a "walkover" thanks to Patrington's failure to raise a team.
And so a week after our first round win we returned to Eastside  to play for a place in the final.

 "Ooh I say!"
Unfortunately, on a playing surface best described as unkempt, we didn't play.  None of those who kicked a ball for Easington that night can claim to have performed to the ir best. As such Hedon, who passed the ball around impressively, deserved their win.  Even so, it took a last minute strike from Craig Palmer to earn the hosts their final berth - and this just a few minutes after goalkeeper Dez Peat had somehow got across his goal to keep out Fitzy's downward header.
The other side of the draw saw our Reserves edge past their Hedon counterparts before losing out to Withernsea in a game they'll feel they should have got something out of.

 Foz does him with the eyes

It took the Stiffs to fall two behind and down to ten men (keeper Pagey seeing red for saying some rather uncomplimentary things to referee Ron McNaughton) before they gave it a real go.  Foz reduced arrears from the spot after Stumo had been fouled, then only an acrobatic save by keeper Phil Richardson denied the latter an equaliser moments later.
Withernsea's Reserves were beaten 0-3 at home by Paull setting up a semi-final at Hull Road that few could see throwing up anything but a convincing home win.
Certainly those Seasiders players who had taken great delight in our defeat two nights earlier were confident of a Withernsea v Hedon showpiece at Easington in the final.  Oh dear.
Despite creating a hatful of chances, including a 50th minute penalty, Withernsea failed to breach the Paull goal in 120 minutes football.  And so to penalties where the Wanderers came up trumps.  Withernsea's wait for win number fifteen goes on.

Just eight minutes in, it's not looking good for Paull...

As feared, a meeting of a side from the top half of the HPL Premier Division and one from the lower reaches of the Amateur League's second level proved an ill-match.  And when Spinks opened the scoring on 8mins the writing was on the wall.  Just over eighty minutes later a new record winning margin for the final had been established - eclipsing Patrington's 7-1 thumping of Hedon (& Marfleet) United back in 1969.
Despite the one-sided nature of the Final for a third successive year (you have to go back to 2007 when Steve Harrod's sublime extra-time winner gave us victory over Hedon Rangers) I still believe that the South Holderness Cup provides a valuable service on the local footballing calendar.
for a start, take Paull Wanderers.  Circumstances dictate that the South Holderness Cup Final may well turn out to be the last game they play under their current moniker.  Now comprised almost solely of Hull-based players, the club looks set to relocate away from their infamous Foreshore home to a place in the "big smoke".  
It was therefore fitting that the last game as Paull Wanderers should come in the competition that had prompted the club's switch from Sunday football back in 1967.

Look after it Spinksy, it's only on loan

And for those who point to the result as evidence of a now insurmountable gap in standards, cast your mind back to 1994.  then, in front of one of the biggest Final crowds many can remember (300+), little old Holmpton United overcame the then mighty Withernsea 3-2 to lift the trophy for the only time in their history.  It can be done.  Hopefully though not next year when, if I don't sound too arrogant, "normal service" will be resumed!

Thanks to Colin Brammer, Burt Graham & Dooley Cousins for some of the photographs used here

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