Sport - Football

The first mention of a football team in Watton was in 1888 and the first photographic record is the 1896-7 season when several distinguished players donned the Watton colours. Although they had many fine teams over the years, they don't appear to have been in any league until after the 1st world war when they entered the Dereham & District League, winning it on a number of occasions the 1920's and their best pre-war season was 1926-7 when they won the League, the Wilson Pea Cup and the Watton Hospital Cup. In 1951 Watton United won the Championship of Div. II oft East Anglian League and both the Swaffham and Watton Charity Cups and in 1953 and 1967 they won the Anglian Combination League Cup.

Watton Football Team, Season 1896-7. Left to right
Back row, left to right: —— , L. Vincent, A. Hewlett, —— , —— ,
A. Bailey, E. Adcock. Middle row: P. Vincent, ——, S. Vincent, L. Julnes, E. Jessup.
Front row: ——, A. Julnes.

The following players have been selected to play for Norfolk on a number of occasions. John Saunders in 1967, Chris Warner 1968 and Bob Dates, Mark Allcock, Karl Bristow and Mick Patter in 1985. Ken Worden, who was the club secretary for thirty years, and also one of their most pro goal scorers gained his Suffolk County Colours when playing for Lowestoft Town. He remained secretary of Watton during his short playing career at Lowestoft and returned to add to his impressive goal-scoring feats. Undoubtedly the finest season Watton United have ever had was 196 when the first XI, the reserves and the "A" team won 8 out of the 9 competitions they entered. ‘Norfolk Senior Cup being the only trophy they failed to win, losing by the odd goal to C.N.S.O.B.

In the semi-final. This trophy has still eluded them, the nearest they have been to winning it was in 1971 when Fakenham beat them 2-0 in the final at Carrow Road. From 1900 to the first world war Watton had another fine team, the Liberal Club, who played friendly matches against some of the best teams in Norfolk at that time and the following report of a match against Yarmouth Garrison Artillery will in­ terest some senior citizens who will remember most of those players: — This match, played at Wat-ton on the 20th was a splendid game ending 1-1. Swann in the Watton goal was particularly brilliant. The Walton team was, Swann, Doyle and McEwen, Harvey H., Tennant and Nice, Myhill, Farrall A., Pickering, Carter and Drake. The Watton President thanked Yarmouth for giving them such a good game and said what a good season Watton were having, played 26, won 23, lost 2 and now drawn one. In fact, our team stands out as about the best small town team in the county". This game was played in March circa 1909.

Watton Church Lads Football Club 1916-17.
Back row, left to right: C. Rose, L. Brown, H. Davey, P. Fisher, K. Sturman, A. Dunnett.
Front row: F. Lancaster, F. Hoy. J, Bedford, V. Tennant and D. Moore.

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