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 Post subject: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:27 pm 
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The first Ossett Football Club that I am aware of existed in the late 1890's. the little information I have about this club is derived mainly from research done by Rob Grillo, who wrote books about football in Keighley and Bradford. I also consulted a book written by Mike Green about the early days of football in Leeds.

The first West Yorkshire League was formed in 1894 and in 1897-98, Keighley were Division 2 North champions. The Division 2 South champions were Oulton St John's and these two clubs met in a play off at Ossett, Keighley winning 2-1. It is not recorded which division Ossett were in, but I'm guessing at Division 2 South.

The following season, 1898-99, Ossett were described as newcomers to Division 2 North. Other clubs in that division were Beeston Hill Parish Church, Bowling, Bradford 'A', Harrogate, Keighley, Leeds United, Menston, Otley, Renshaw Albion and Yeadon.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:38 pm 
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Early in the season, "runaway leaders" Ossett defeated Keighley 9-0. The return match was on January 28th, 1899 at Keighley's ground in Victoria Park. Ossett "maintained their 100% record" though the final score is not known. this game was noteworthy for Keighley because their average attendance was usually about 100, but against Ossett, over 1000 attended, raising gate receipts of £11. The reason for the unusually high attendance was that a Northern Union county championship game between Yorkshire and Cumberland was due to be played across the road at Lawkholme Lane, that game was called off due to a frozen pitch, and many of the rugby fans crossed the road to watch a game of association football.

Incidentally, Leeds United (nothing to do with the current shower), failed to complete the season.

To give an indication of the relative strength of this division, Bradford 'A' were the reserve side of Bradford FC who were playing in the original Yorkshire League, formed in 1897 and contained the reserve sides of Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers as well as the first teams of Mexborough, Hunslet, Leeds FC, Halifax FC and Huddersfield FC. In 1898-99, Wombwell Town, Sheffield FC and Dewsbury joined the Yorkshire League, replacing Barnsley reserves, Leeds FC and Halifax FC.

the West Yorkshire sides in the Yorkshire League were, in the main, football teams affiliated to bigger Northern Union clubs.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:48 pm 
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for those of you who don't live near the M62 or live on the west coast of Cumbria, Northern Union is the old name for Rugby League.

I won't go into the why's and wherefores of the schism of 1895 which saw a large number of Yorkshire and Lancashire clubs holding a meeting at The George Hotel in Huddersfield and breaking away from the Rugby Union and forming the Northern Union. But quite a number of clubs appear to have switched from football to rugby or from rugby to football in the 1890's and 1900's.

back to Ossett FC, further research from Rob Grillo and published in the "Non League Report", a now defunct London based publication, showed that the Yorkshire League continued in 1899-1900 with reduced membership. The South Yorkshire contingent had left to join the Sheffield & Hallamshire League, leaving Hunslet, Huddersfield, Dewsbury and newcomers Featherstone and Ossett. Each club only played 8 games, so I suspect these clubs may have supplemented their fixtures by playing in another league.

The Yorkshire League closed in 1900. It would appear that Ossett FC had also closed, they weren't responding to letters sent to them and no mention of them being amongst the clubs interested in joining the West Yorkshire League for the 1900-01 season. The West Yorkshire League then closed down and reformed in 1902, closing down again in 1910. The current West Yorkshire League was originally the Leeds League and changed it's name to the West Yorkshire League in 1939.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:59 pm 
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The Yorkshire League champions in 1900 were Hunslet. They switched to the Sheffield & Hallamshire League but were unable to secure their own ground and closed in 1902. Hunslet officials later helped to form Leeds City in 1904 and they took over the tenancy of the Elland Road ground when Holbeck Northern Union club closed down. Leeds City then moved the pitch 90 degrees to its current location and joined the Football League.

I mentioned earlier about clubs changing codes. the two best known examples are from Bradford. In 1903, Manningham Northern Union club, playing at Valley Parade; had meetings with the Football League arranged by a Scottish journalist living in Bradford. Manningham changed their name to Bradford City and were elected to the Football League. Their subsequent success persuaded Bradford FC, playing at Park Avenue, to give football another go, having scrapped their football team back in 1899. Bradford FC initially played in the Southern League before joining the Football League. Better known as Bradford (Park Avenue), they eventually closed down in 1974. Those people from Bradford FC who wanted to continue playing with funny shaped balls formed their own club, Bradford Northern, now known as Bradford Bulls.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:17 pm 
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So, were Ossett FC a football club in it's own right, or where they the football section of a rugby club? I have no idea, but in Ossett we do have a rugby union club and Ossett Trinity Rugby league club, who were reformed in the 1980's.

Where was Ossett's ground? I used to have a reprint of a map of Ossett published in the 1890's. Where the current Southdale School is, there used to be a football ground. Back then, rugby grounds were also called football grounds, so no clues there, but it was across the road from the old Ossett railway station. Going back to the start of this article, I mentioned that the West Yorkshire League staged a play off at Ossett between Keighley and Oulton; Ossett station had direct services to Bradford and Leeds, so would have been an ideal neutral venue for this particular game.

After Ossett FC, other clubs representing Ossett appeared. In Rob Grillo's book about the early days of football in Bradford, he re-printed an old match report from the 1901-02 season. On the same page, were the results from various local leagues including the Heavy Woollen District League. Clubs in that league included Batley, Boothroyd White Star, Dewsbury & Savile, Dewsbury Celtic, Dewsbury St Matthew's, Hartshead, Heckmondwike Swifts, Mirfield United, Morley, Ossett Juniors, Ravensthorpe Clarence and Savile Town Clarence.

Mirfield and Morley later played in the Yorkshire Combination alongside Halifax Town and Scarborough, Dewsbury & Savile were founder members of the new Yorkshire League in 1920, while Dewsbury Celtic are now a well known amateur rugby league side.

Ossett Common Rovers were formed in 1910 and the book about Keighley football threw up a league table for the West Riding Senior League in 1922-23, where fellow members included Altofts, Garforth Villa, Hebden Bridge, Horsforth, Keighley Parkwood, Marsden, Methley Perserverance and Mytholmroyd. This league closed in 1924 and was a separate league from the West Riding County Amateur League.

Ossett Town were formed in 1936, apparently, according to a member of the Furniss family who know a lot more about the club than I ever will, most of the officials and players came from Flushdyke Rangers.

Ossett Albion were formed in 1944, originally as a junior side.

There was an Ossett Wanderers, originally known as Ossett Community Centre, but they shut down in the 1980's.

Quite a few other Ossett sides have played in the Wakefield League, the Wakefield Sunday League and the Heavy Woollen Gate Sunday League.

EDIT
The Heckmondwike book mentioned below had a couple of mid season tables from the 1902-03 season for the Heavy Woollen District League:

Senior Division clubs (alpha order) - Batley, Dewsbury & Savile, Dewsbury Parish Church, Hartshead, Heckmondwike Casuals, Heckmondwike Swifts, Mirfield United, Ravensthorpe Clarence, Shepley Bridge, South Ossett Albion, Thornhill Lees Albion

Junior Division clubs (alpha order) - Dewsbury Moor St John's, Grange Moor Wanderers, Hartshead reserves, Heckmondwike Parish Church, Hopton Rovers, Kilpin Hill Rangers, Liversedge United, Lower Hopton, Morley Clarence, Thornhill Edge, Thornhill Lees Parish Church

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Last edited by SOUTH OSSETTIAN on Mon May 22, 2017 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:39 pm 
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HORACE OSBORN ROWBOTHAM

Harry Rowbotham was born in Heath Town, near Wolverhampton in 1879. He was a wing half and played his early football with Wolverhampton Post Office. Later he moved to Yorkshire and played for Leeds side Renshaw Albion in the West Yorkshire League. He joined Ossett FC in 1899 and played in the short lived Yorkshire League, transferring to Hunslet in December 1899 and winning a league medal in 1900. In August 1901, Harry returned home to join Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was mainly captain of the reserve side in the Birmingham & District League, but he did play 6 first team games in 1901-02, making his debut v Aston Villa. In 1902-03, he only made one first team appearance, against West Bromwich Albion.

In 1903, Harry joined Fulham, who played in the Southern League on Saturday's and the London League in midweek games. Harry's first team debut was in the London League v QPR. In all, Harry played 39 games during the 1903-04 season, scoring 1 goal. In 1904-05, Harry made 10 appearances, including a FA Cup game v Manchester United. In 1904, Fulham moved their midweek team from the London League to the Western League. He made 5 appearances in the 1904-05 season, his last game v Southampton in December 1904. Later that month he joined Brentford, who were also in the Southern League. I don't have any information about Brentford in that era but he did make 21 appearances for them until he was transferred to Glossop, a Football League Division 2 side in May 1906.

Glossop got off to a cracking start to the 1906-07 season, losing 2-9 at Chelsea, England forward George Hilsdon scoring 5 goals. In all, Harry made 24 appearances for Glossop, scoring 4 goals. In 1907, Harry returned to the Southern League, joining New Brompton (now known as Gillingham), where he made 33 appearances.

He later returned to Wolverhampton and worked as a window cleaner and greengrocer. In 1914, he joined the Army and served in the Middlesex Regiment's Footballer's Battalion. He died on The Somme in September 1916. His body was never found and he is commemorated at the Threpval Memorial.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:48 pm 
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The information about Harry Rowbotham was largely taken from books about Fulham by Alex White and a book about Glossop written by Garth Dykes, as well as other publications from Tony Brown in Nottingham.

However, a book about Wolves written by Tony Matthews has a different tale about Harry Rowbotham. In this version, Harold Rowbotham was born in Bilston in 1879, played for Bilston Town before joining Wolves in June 1900, played 7 games for Wolves before joining Fulham, later returned to the midlands and played for Stourbridge, Netherton and Oldbury St Michael's. He died in Birmingham in 1969.

I'll let someone else sort that one out :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:04 pm 
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for who ever needs to know these things, Ossett Town won the Wheatley Cup in 1938, 1939 and 1943. Now go back to sleep.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:13 pm 
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i recently acquired a book published about rugby and football in Heckmondwike before world war 1, written by someone from Batley called AJ Hodgson and published by Stormwatch Publications, it's sold by mail order outfit Soccer Books in Cleethorpes.

with the research in this book and gaps filled in via the internet, I have an idea now what was going in Ossett at the turn of the 20th century, with regard to Ossett rugby club at least.

After the schism of 1894, the Northern Union was divided into Lancashire and Yorkshire sections. Information about the lower divisions is not forthcoming at the moment, but this book about Heckmondwike called "well, i'll go to Heckmondwike!" does have details that mention Ossett in the 1899-1900 and 1900-01 seasons. The following is a list of clubs in each division in the Yorkshire section for those two seasons.

1899-1900 - Yorkshire Senior Competition
Batley, Bradford, Bramley, Brighouse Rangers, Castleford, Halifax, Holbeck, Huddersfield, Hull, Hull KR, Hunslet, Leeds, Leeds Parish Church, Liversedge, Manningham, Wakefield Trinity

1899-1900 - 2nd competition Western Division
Birstall, Dewsbury, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Heckmondwike, Idle, Kirkstall, Luddendenfoot, Shipley, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden, Windhill.

1899-1900 - 2nd competition Eastern Division
Alverthorpe, Eastmoor, Featherstone, Goole, Kinsley, Normanton, Ossett, Outwood Church, Pontefract, Rothwell, York

1900-01 - Yorkshire Senior Competition
Batley, Bradford, Bramley, Brighouse Rangers, Castleford, Halifax, Holbeck, Huddersfield, Hull, Hull KR, Hunslet, Leeds, Leeds Parish Church, Liversedge, Manningham, Wakefield Trinity

1900-01 - 2nd competition Western Division
Bingley, Birstall, Dewsbury, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Heckmondwike, Idle, Keighley, Luddendenfoot, Otley, Shipley, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden, Windhill

1900-01 - 2nd competition Eastern Division
Alverthorpe, Eastmoor, Featherstone, Goole, Kinsley, Kirkstall, Normanton, Ossett, Outwood Church, Pontefract, York, York Melbourne

In 1901, the Northern Union brought together the top 7 clubs out of both Lancashire and Yorkshire to form the Northern Rugby Football League, Broughton Rangers being the first ever champions. The remainder continued to play in county leagues as a 2nd division.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:25 pm 
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some clubs, mainly in the western division, did not complete the 1900-01 season. It would appear in the following few years, a number of clubs, including Heckmondwike themselves, all closed down or switched to rugby union or football. I suspect the same probably happened to Ossett.

Bradford switched to football and became Bradford Park Avenue

Manningham switched to football and became Bradford City

Holbeck closed down and their Elland Road ground was taken over by Leeds City

Liversedge merged with Cleckheaton after earlier turning down a merger with Heckmondwike.

Dewsbury switched from rugby union and their football team left Crown Flatt and moved to Savile Town.

Heckmondwike, who played at Beck Lane, closed down in 1903.

My thanks to AJ Hodgson for his research and his book, if you can get hold of a copy, you will enjoy reading it.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:30 pm 
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I think Ossett were still in the second competition in 1901-02, details not known, but they did lose 7-4 to Heckmondwike in the Northern Union Cup. In the 1902-03, the Northern Rugby League set up a second division made up of clubs from both Lancashire and Yorkshire and those clubs not included made up the Yorkshire Senior Competition. Ossett played against Alverthorpe, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Hull Marlborough, Kinsley, Otley, Outwood Church, Pontefract, Sowerby Bridge and Windhill.

Heckmondwike closed down in 1903 and I suspect most of the other clubs in that division closed down or switched codes later.

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 Post subject: Re: YE OLDE OSSETT
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:04 pm 
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I love reading all this stuff. keep it up!


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