For two towns barely eight miles apart, footballing encounters between Frome and Westbury have been few and far between. In close on eight decades since the end of World War Two, the pair have met on less than two dozen occasions in competitive fixtures.
This is a rare derby indeed but, despite the lack of encounters, there have been ample highlights over the years and none more so than in the first post-war clash in November 1945 in the Wiltshire League.
Those were the days before managers when the committee would select the team and in a thirteen-goal thriller, with hat-tricks from Ron Price and Ray Chalk, Frome won 8-5 but Westbury didn’t have long to wait for revenge, winning 3-2 at Meadow Lane less than a month later.
Non-league crowds were huge in those days as 500 travelling Frome fans clearly thought the short journey was worthwhile as their team triumphed 3-0 in a 1948 FA Amateur Cup tie and when the sides were paired in the same competition four years later, over 2,000 attended both the original drawn game at Badgers Hill (2-2) and the replay which The Robins won 2-1 at Meadow Lane.
1955 saw the local rivals drawn together in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup which drew a massive crowd of 3,015 to The Hill. A young Tony Book, who would go on to achieve great things at Manchester City as player and manager, was in the Frome line-up that day as the game ended all square at 2-2 before a Fred Rolls double ensured they triumphed in the replay.
The Robins competed for three seasons in the Wilts Premier League in the early 60s where they generally had the better of clashes against Westbury with the highpoint being a 7-1 success in December 1962, their third home win on the bounce by the same score in a championship winning campaign.
Derbies would not take place for another thirty years, until The White Horse Men’s promotion to the topflight of the Western League, where, at Badgers Hill, they dominated, winning four times in a row (including a 5-0 mauling in March 1995) without conceding a single goal.
Frome fared a little better across the border, winning 5-2 in September 1994 when Bryan Wade bagged a hat-trick in the first ten minutes but late in the following season, when the Wiltshire side’s wretched home form had brought them just a solitary league goal, the Robins were spanked to the tune of 6-2.
When they next met in 2000, Frome were in the unusual position of being in a lower division but they pulled-off a ‘giant-killing’ thanks to a Mark Salter strike in a 1-0 FA Vase win before the last competitive encounter took place in November 2008.
It was a Les Phillips Cup tie at Meadow Lane (where a young Matt Smith turned out for The Greens) in the season before The Robins became a Southern League outfit and a hard-fought contest was won 2-0 with goals from Simeon Allison and Sam Duggan in front of a gathering of 148.
Fourteen years on, Frome Town and Westbury United lock horns once more in what is an infrequent but much anticipated local derby.
Post war record
Played Frome Wins Draws Westbury Wins Frome Westbury
At Badgers Hill 11 4 3 4 25 - 22
At Meadow Lane 12 8 1 3 28 - 19
Total 23 12 4 7 53 - 41
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