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The Rushden Echo & Argus, 20th June, 1930, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Wesleyan Sunday School Young Men’s Institute

Peeps into other days

After wrestling with a large number of letters in reference to last week’s photograph the Editor finds nothing to choose between the notes supplied by Mr. Reginald Denton “Mounthaven,” Rushden, Mr. A. W. Ablett, 2 Robinson-road, Rushden, and Mr. H. Alderman, High-street South, Rushden. Each of these will receive a postal order for Half-a-crown.

Among entries remarkable for the accuracy with which names were recalled were those of four ladies.

Mr. Denton writes:- Always interested in your photograph of “Peeps into other days,” the one you publish this week brings vividly before me the days of my childhood. The photograph must have been taken in the early nineties, and is of the eleven in connection with the Queen-street, Wesleyan Sunday School Young Men’s Institute. I have known all these fellows well all my life, and have played cricket and football with them all a great many times.

Wesleyan football team c1895

The players are arranged in the photograph in the positions they occupied on the field. Goal, Harry (Puffen) Whiting, kept goal for a good number of years for various Rushden teams. Right back, Harry White, a real good back and should have made a name in higher class football, but a badly damaged knee prevented him. Left back, Ernest Cunnington, whose tragic death in Canada a month or two ago shocked his many friends in the town. Right half, Herbert (Bert) Ette, keen on the game, always ready to give advice, a cousin of mine. Centre-half, Herbert (Dobbin) Cox, always ready for a joke and delighted in “leg pulling.” A great admirer of Jack Hobbs. I remember him saying on one occasion “You might as well try to cross the Atlantic in a bottomless boat as attempt to beat Australia without Jack Hobbs.” His early death a few years ago was lamented by all who came in contact with him. Left half, Jesse Cunnington, elder brother of Ernest, resides in Griffith-street. Outside-right, David (Dave) Baldry, always a keen player, is a brother of Ernest, the renowned Rushden Goalkeeper. Dave is steward at the Conservative Club at the present time. Inside right, Fred (Tilley) Tye, in later years developed into a sound full back. Centre-forward, Herbert (Bert) Bailey, the “class” forward of the side, resides at Raunds, and takes an active interest in the game now. Inside left, Joe Sprake, well known in Rushden club life, still gets as excited over a football match as ever. Outside left, Arthur (Jonah) Wilmott, as strong a shot at goal as I remember seeing. The fellow in mufti on the left of the picture is Oliver (Ollie) Ablett, at one time well-known on the flat racing track. Elder brother of Archie the local “knight of the whistle” on the right is John (Jack) Adams, who before his death a few years ago was Secretary to the local branch of the Free Gardeners.

Mr. Ablett says:- This club consisted of the Senior Bible Class lads. Their playing pitch was in Mr. George Denton’s field off Upper Queen-street. The club was financed by the members themselves, as gate money was the last of their thoughts, and if I remember right they played friendly games only. The Bible Class leader was the last Mr. Thomas Bromage, and the Football Club members were regular attendants of the class. One feature of the class was that Mr. Bromage would allow these lads so long (about 10 minutes) to talk about yesterday’s match, when the Class leader would say, “Now lads, it is my turn.” Then the conversation would cease and each member would sit and listen to a man whom they respected. One amusing incident occurred when the team went to play Kettering Stars. On the way to the ground they had to pass over a brook, when one of the members said “See me jump over it,” But unfortunately he made a short jump and landed in the middle of the brook, which caused much amusement.

Another incident in the club’s history was when the Wesleyans went to play Sharnbrook, at Sharnbrook. They took a sub for goalkeeper, but unfortunately he let in six soft goals. Then E. Cunnington (the left back) turned and booted the ball at him as hard as he could, but the sub made a brilliant save by touching the ball over the bar.

Mr. Alderman remembers that the photograph was taken in the 1895-6 season, when the team were only twice defeated in 38 matches, and scored over 100 goals.

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