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Brief History of Colchester & District Sunday Football League
Back in the mid 60’s there was no organised League on a Sunday for the footballers of Colchester. It was thanks to two men Jack Poole and Dennis Barber that this situation was changed. Jack was a former Area Officer for the Essex County Football Association while Dennis was a Referee and Treasurer of the local Referees’ Society. The Colchester & District Sports Council Sunday Football League was formed in 1966 with Jack as Chairman and Dennis the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. The first season kicked off in September 1966 with one division of thirteen teams and the League’s first Cup Competition was staged – the Sunday Knock-out Cup. The first Final of the Sunday Knock-out Cup was played at Colchester United’s Layer Road ground before a crowd of 700 spectators. Referee Ted Maidens led the two finalists Belle Vue F.C. and Salisbury Rangers ‘A’ F.C. through to the final whistle with Salisbury Rangers ‘A’ FC the first winners of the silverware. From that point on, Ted has served the League in various capacities including a long spell as Chairman and is today’s Patron. From 1967, the League grew with as many as seven divisions at one point. The number of divisions has been generally stable until the last couple of years, and we now have four divisions. After the success of the first Sunday Knock-out Cup the number of Cup Competitions has grown over the years. The original Knock-out Cup was renamed the Thornavon Knock-out Cup due to the Thornavon firm sponsoring this Competition and they were the League Sponsors from 1990 to 1997. Sadly the League lost its President Mr Charles Hewitt near the end of Season 2010/2011 and the decision was taken to rename the Knock-out Cup once again. Clubs now challenge for the Charles Hewitt Memorial Knock-out Cup. ‘Mr Sunday League’ as he became continues to be sadly missed. The current cup competitions are as follows; the John Fowler Memorial Cup introduced in 1976; John
many will remember, was a Colchester United player who later played in our League. The Ernie Osborne Challenge Cup was donated in 1976 by Ernie Osborne to create a Competition for the lower divisions. Ernie is still an active Committee Member. The Terry Martin Trophy was donated by Boxted Wanderers F.C. in 1987 after their player’s serious road accident. Although of course unable to play Terry is there to present the Trophy each season. In 1994 Mick Baker and Ken Salmon, donated The Arthur Boswell Cup in memory of Arthur Boswell’s services to the League’s Management Committee. The Wally Castle Invitation Trophy was introduced in 1998 in memory of the Class One Referee and good friend to local football. In 2001 the Roy Rogers Memorial Saturday and Sunday Representative Leagues Bowl was created in memory of Roy Rogers who served on both League Management Committees for a number of years. The Colchester & District Sunday League also presents the Chairman’s Harbour Trophy, the League Merit Award and the Charlie Duthie Fair Play Awards. On its 40th Anniversary the League restructured to form a Premier Division and at the same time a commemorative cup competition was introduced, the Ruby Challenge Cup. The League has a hard working Management Committee, served by Executive Officers including, notably Bob Warner who has over a quarter of a century’s continuous service as Registration Secretary. It also has a four-times E.C.F.A. award-winning website containing an abundance of current and archive information. As the Colchester & District League enters its Fifty-first Season, The League Management Committee would like to take this opportunity to offer their thanks to all those Clubs, players, officials, Committee Members and volunteers , both past and present, for their support over the last fifty Years. Without all of them the League wouldn’t have been able to celebrate such a landmark.