West Auckland is famous for being the first team ever to win the World Cup! Sir Thomas Lipton, a multi-millionaire and keen sportsman, put up a trophy for a tournament to be played in Italy in 1909. Apparently, none of the higher profile English clubs were interested so, West Auckland took up the challenge and ended up as winners! Two years later, they were invited to defend their title, which they did. The players, mostly coal-miners, had to finance their trip to Italy themselves and when they returned home, they had to sell the trophy to redeem a debt of £40. The full story of their World Cup exploits can be found at http://www.westaucklandweb.co.uk/
West Auckland has one of those grounds which are apparently unique to County Durham, having been affected by subsidence and the pitch resembles a handkerchief held at the four corners.
The match started off well, Rangers looked the more dangerous but when West attacked, the Rangers defence looked a little suspect and I thought that West would be able to exploit that weakness. Each side had a player sent off inside the first 20 minutes - my Facebook Friend, Dale Jardine retaliated after a nasty two-footed tackle on him and both players were red-carded.
0-0 at half time. Rangers took the lead against the run of play in the 52nd. minute, courtesy of Martin Thacker with a rocket shot into the top corner. West replied 2 minutes later through Ian Maddison. Steve Flockett put West into the lead with about 15 minutes left.
The mince 'n' onion pies were delicious - I had two (!?!), but my day was rounded off by winning the second prize of 4 cans of ale in the half time draw!
Photographs of my match day at West Auckland can be found at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/blackfelladder/WestAucklandTownVHallRoadRangers