Lancaster nostalgia: Storey Brothers and the Senior Infirmary Cup

Lancaster nostalgia: Front row from left: J Livesey (trainer), William (Bill) Bleasdale (Peters Dad), W Metcalfe, G Morris, R Griffin (captain), E McBride, Rene Procter, T Bilsborough (secretary) is stood to the right of Rene Procter.
Lancaster nostalgia: Front row from left: J Livesey (trainer), William (Bill) Bleasdale (Peters Dad), W Metcalfe, G Morris, R Griffin (captain), E McBride, Rene Procter, T Bilsborough (secretary) is stood to the right of Rene Procter.

Local historian Terry Ainsworth takes a look back at a football match won by the Storey Brothers.

About 20 years ago, as I was researching North Lancs League football in the archives of the Lancaster Guardian I came across a report of the Infirmary Senior Cup final that was won by Storey Bros in May 1927.

Lancaster nostalgia: Storey Brothers football team.

Lancaster nostalgia: Storey Brothers football team.

This report was dated May 7, 1927 and then a week later on May 14 the Guardian published a photograph of the team with their trophy but the image was dire, as you can see below, and so I scanned the photograph and put it away in a folder called “Storey Bros.”

That would seem to be the end of the story but in 2016 Diane Bleasdale, who lives in Australia, contacted me after she read an article about the Bleasdale family on my website.

I put her in touch with Peter Bleasdale who played alongside me for the Lancaster Lads Club and after exchanging a few emails Diane said she would send me some photographs which could be of interest.

In January 2017, an envelope arrived with nine postcard sized photographs and one of them immediately caught my eye, it was Storey Brothers photographed on the Quay Meadow with the Infirmary Senior Cup and what a revelation that turned out to be as can be seen in this wonderful image.

It shows three rows of players and officials, not two as the old image suggested.

We have names for the front row but can only guess where the other names on the poor image are placed.

To reach the final of the Infirmary Senior Cup Storey Brothers beat Carnforth Rangers 1-0 at Bolton-le-Sands and Park Ward were beaten 1-2 by Bolton-le-Sands on the Quay Meadow in the semi-finals.

The report reads: “A good crowd witnessed the Senior Cup final between Storey Bros and Bolton-le-Sands on the Giant Axe Field on Saturday evening. Both teams were at full strength and lined up as follows: -

“Bolton-le-Sands: - Bills; Thornton, Hough; Bryan, Bonnick, Morrow; Whitehead, Layer, Burrows, Muckle, Owen

“Storey Bros: - Locke; Whitehead, Metcalfe; McBride, Griffin, Elkin; Bleasdale, Bennett, Morris, Ellwood, Procter “Storey’s kicked off but Bolton-le-Sands soon gained possession and then followed a period of constant pressure from the villagers which earned them two fruitless corners.

“Bleasdale got possession and passed to Bennett whose shot hit the bar and from the rebound Ellwood opened Storey’s account.

“Two minutes later Ellwood picked up the ball near the halfway line and took a chance with a beautiful long shot which completely deceived Bills and gave the works side a two-goal lead.

“Two minutes before halftime Bonnick fed Owen who tested Locke who couldn’t hold on to the ball and the winger reduced the lead. Following the break Bolton-le-Sands resumed the offensive and Locke fisted away from Whitehead and then tipped a 40 yard shot from Bonnick.

“A breakaway by Storeys resulted in Morris shooting wide when well placed. Bolton-le-Sands came back and forced two corners in succession but their shooting was bad. The final whistle came bringing Storeys the cup by the odd goal in three. Bolton-le-Sands were unlucky for they practically monopolised the second half.”

As Mr J S Webster remarked when presenting the cup to Griffin, Storey’s captain: “It is the team which gets the goals that wins, no matter how good the other team is.”

I suppose the moral of this story is never to throw away or dismiss a poor photograph because somewhere in the future a guardian angel like Diane Bleasdale will provide the missing pieces to the jigsaw puzzle and a tangled web will be unravelled.

Bill Bleasdale, Peter’s father, was the brother of Diane’s grandfather, John (Jack) Tyson Bleasdale, two sons of Skerton who excelled on the football field. Go to www.soccernostalgia.co.uk for more articles.