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GREAT CUP RUNS: 1934-35

As we've not played Tavistock in the league before, historian Steve Jupp looked into the cup games behind our sides, which led us onto the how the club have progressed in various cup competitions. Steve takes a look back at the 1934-35 season.

Bill Bush

FA AMATEUR CUP 1934-35


Football in Frome was booming in the mid-1930s. The Robins had won the Somerset Senior Cup two years in a row and fans were hopeful of a hat-trick as the 1934-35 campaign opened on a wave of optimism.


But it was the national FA Amateur Cup in which they excelled, the equivalent of the Trophy and Vase combined in those far off times and the run began just a couple of days after a disappointing FA Cup replay exit at home to Devizes.


600 returned to Badgers Hill for the visit of near neighbours Westbury and goals from Herbert Sweet, Fred Benger and Ron Gould ensured a 3-1 win and another derby in the next round, home to Trowbridge Town.


Between games, little-known centre-forward Bill Bush was signed from Bristol junior football, and he gave the 1,200 crowd a first team debut to remember with a hat-trick as the Wiltshire rivals were swept aside 5-2.


His addition to an already potent front line containing the prolific Leslie Taylor (second only to Mark Salter in the all-time club goal scoring list), Jimmy Clifford and Joe Viner made for a season of exhilarating encounters as Radstock became their Third Qualifying Round victims in a 6-2 trouncing at Southfields.


Few had heard of the 2nd Battalion Loyal Lancs Regiment, their opponents in the next round but the tie attracted 1,689 to Badgers Hill where doubles from the Bush/Taylor combo contributed to a 5-2 triumph and a place in the Frist Round Proper.


It was mid-November and their cup commitments meant only eight league fixtures had been played but all ears and eyes were on the draw which gave them a tantalising tie at Gloucester City in the New Year.


A fleet of char-a-bancs and a special train took hundreds of Frome followers north as they swelled the crowd to 1,750 and roared their side on to a famous 3-0 victory and a place in the Second Round (last 32) for the first time in the club’s history.


The draw could not have been kinder for it paired The Robins with one of the most famous amateur teams in the country, away to The Casuals FC but there was a twist due the London club ground sharing with Kingstonians who were also drawn at home, so the tie was switched to Badgers Hill.


Hasty preparations were made to get the ground ready with beer crates and planks combined to create extra seating, but some supporters were unhappy at the committee’s decision to raise the admission price from the usual seven pence to a shilling.


A shilling or not, 2,942 packed into The Hill that February afternoon as The Casuals, with three internationals in their line-up, one of whom, centre half Bernard Joy who also played for Arsenal, would go on to be the last amateur player to win a full England cap, showed their class from the first whistle and were three up by half time.



Urged on by the watching masses, Frome came storming back as Bush netted twice to set up a rip-roaring finale in which the visitors struck late on to make the final score: -


FROME TOWN…..2 THE CASUALS…..4


Although the great cup run was over, there was still much to play for but the dream of a third County Cup triumph ended in an epic semi-final second replay defeat to Keynsham.


Cup success caused a backlog of league fixtures with fourteen games shoehorned into the last month of a goal laden season with Taylor bagging 48, Bush not far behind on 41 and Clifford third top scorer with 27.


Although Frome had to settle for fifth place in Western League Division Two, no side scored more and, in all competitions, they netted 168 times in 51 games.


The Casuals would fall at the quarter final stage to Bishop Auckland before going all the way the following season, beating Ilford 2-0 in a replayed final at West Ham in front of 28,000.


They always had close links with fellow amateurs Corinthian FC (many players turned out for both) and in 1939, the two merged to form Corinthian-Casuals FC who continue to this day to operate on an unpaid basis in the Isthmian League.


With thanks to Kerry Miller’s history book ‘The Boys on the Hill’

 

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