Fryston Colliery’s Pursuit of the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup
On 22 May 1963, a group of men representing Fryston Colliery Welfare ran out against the much-vaunted Bradford team, Thackley AFC, to contest the final of the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup, the ‘ultimate prize’ for local amateur teams. Captaining the Fryston side that day was Pete Waddington.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the final, the author, academic and son of The Colliers’ captain, Dave Waddington, has produced a book that tells the story of a century of footballing exploits by a team from the heart of the Yorkshire coalfield. This is an account of ‘bread and butter’ contests, where the slope of the pitch and the strength of the wind are important factors in results, where ‘unnecessary roughness’ is all part of the game. It is an account of a group of working men from one small village, whose endeavours in pursuit of the ‘ultimate prize’ are revealed to be just as extraordinary as those of their supposedly more illustrious contemporaries of the professional game.
Armed with three years’ worth of research in local archives, and interviews with the surviving players from the final, Waddington has used all the academic discipline he can muster to try and provide an objective and dispassionate account, both of the final and of the wider history of the club. What has emerged, however, is a story of sporting heroism and romance, where the names of heroes like Dick and Jabie Foulkes, Archie Ward, Jack Sharp, Agga Mattison, Cobbo Robinson and Freddie Howard resonate just as loudly as those of the professional icons, such as Clem Stephenson, Len Shackleton, John Charles and Stanley Matthews, who we also encounter along the way.
Foreword by Ian Clayton