South Yorkshire Times May 31, 1969
Montagu Cup History
When the Montagu Cup competition was initiated in 1896, the hospital Sports and Entertainment Committee hope that he would develop into a regular source of revenue for the privately owned hospital.
Revenue was, and still is, derived from an entrance fee which all clubs must pay – 10% of the “gate” money from the rounds, and the bigger “gate” money from the semifinals and the final
Mexborough Athletic ground immediately became the accepted venue for the beginning, and the first final resulted in Ecclesfield defeating New Hill 2-0
The popularity of the contest was soon assured. It was a day when football was very nearly the only form of entertainment available, and thousands would walk to Mexborough each year for the local cup final. Being the focal point of the competition, Mexborough was naturally the home of the final, but in later years it was moved to the Wath Athletic ground. A dispute between officials of the Cup and the Mexborough Athletic Club ended, for the time being, the association of the Montagu Cup Final and Hampden Road. This was in 1931 and the last final to be played at Mexborough was the 1930 tussle between Goldthorpe United and Highgate. Goldthorpe won this 2-1 and the following year they retained the trophy at Wath by defeating Broomhill 1-0
Wath finals have produced the biggest gates in the 73 years of the Cups history, including the 5704 who saw the drawn final between Wath Wanderers and Denaby United in 1944. However, by 1937 the finals back in Mexborough, Conisbrough Northcliffe defeating Station Lane 4-1, and although the venue was moved to suit the clubs on occasions, Mexborough is now the home of the cup once more.
Denaby’s Tickill Square saw a number of finals, notably the 1942 Manvers victory which made them the first team to complete a hat-trick of wins.
The Manvers team which triumphed over Upton in this final might be regarded by many as the best team ever to win the cup. But this was in the war years, when guest appearances were allowed, and the pits received a big boost with the influx of top class league players.
In 1940 Manvers scored the biggest win in the Montagu Cup Final as ever known, when defeating Grimethorpe Rovers 8-0, and the following year Grimethorpe again were the victims, but the scoreline a more respectable 2-1. But for the achievement of the competition, the 1936 victory of Wath Road Athletic must rank high on the list.
In only their third season the Mexborough team succeeded in the most hotly contested of the areas football competitions, winning the coveted trophy in what was described as quotes one of the best finals record.” The score was Wath Road Athletic 3 Rawmarsh Welfare 1
This was the last of the regular Wath finals, and present to see the match and give the trophy and medals was Sam Cowan, then with Bradford City. The ball had been given to the Cup officials for the occasion by one of the areas most popular football sons, Eric Brook, who was at the time one of his best seasons with Manchester City, finding the net time after time from the left-wing berth. The ball was autographed by the entire City team.
Rawmarsh were without their regular centre half land, for the final, and Wath Road centre forward Jeavons putting one of the best performances seen in a Montagu Cup Final. This includes a goal which must rank as one of the best the competition as ever produced, a tremendous long-range effort which barely left the ground before flashing into the net… Scored after a run from the halfway line.
Wath Road’s robust play upset the “gentlemanly academic football” of cultured Rawmarsh, and a missed penalty was the last straw. The speedy Cotton netted Wath Road’s second, and Clegg the third from a penalty. When Unwin scored for Rawmarsh, “hat’s went into the air on a glorious spring morning,” says the “Times” report on the match.
This may not have been Rawmarsh’s day, but they later completed a Montagu Cup hat-trick, and were involved in the only dead heat for the trophy, share in the cup with Kilnhurst Colliery in 1949.