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Hospital Cup final - Borders beaten ahead of Gallipoli PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Saturday, 06 February 2021

border action.jpgA week ago you may recall a piece by former Keswick photographer Robert Rathbone on the Border Regiment.

Involved with the Gallipoli Association, Robert turned-up a match report from a Hospital Cup semi-final contested by the Border Regiment.

The match, on January 31, 1915 saw the Borders beat Rugby Town 5-1 in front of around 2,000 spectators.

Did they have time to play the final before sailing to Gallipoli?

Well yes they did, as Robert reports – back in action six days later on February 5.

The Rugby Hospital Cup final was played at Rugby Town Football Club's Eastlands Ground, Warwickshire on this day in 1915.

The match report was published in The Rugby Advertiser:

“Despite the wretched weather a crowd between 2 and 3,000, including a good mustering in khaki watched as the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers beat the Border Regiment 3-0 to take the cup.  

“The game was well fought although the treacherous state of the ground made play difficult.  

“The Border Regiment did most of the early pressing playing with rare dash and enthusiasm, but they could not get past Leaming in goal.  

“The Irishmen made the breakthrough after 15 minutes when Ward beat Sully with a peculiar placed shot. border reg medals 2.jpg

“The Irishmen then pressed forward and they increased their lead just before half time when Beswick beat Sully with a beautifully placed shot at terrific speed, which gave the goalkeeper no chance.  

“It was still 2-0 at half-time and the rain returned for the second half adding to the difficult playing conditions. 

“The Border Regiment started strongly and had several near misses but they could not reduce the deficit with Leaming making several fine saves.  

“At the other end Collings hit the crossbar before Thacker put the result beyond doubt with a fine shot.

“The cup was presented to Ward, of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and each member of the two sides received a medal.  

The Colonel presenting said: “The medals would remind the men of the kindness they had received in Rugby, kindness such that they could never forget.

“They would look at those medals on even muddier, and perhaps bloodier fields and they would then think of their friends in Rugby.”

Sadly, it proved a prophetic statement. The Regiment sailed for Gallipoli on March 17 from Avonmouth – 27 officers and 1,000 other ranks.

From April to January 2016, 23 of those officers were killed along with 520 of their soldiers. There were 839 wounded or sick, including replacements sent-out to make-up their numbers.

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