With the North Field re-seeded and out of action for the whole season, difficulties were expected but, of course, no-one anticipated the weather after Christmas. We were very grateful for the use of Chapel End's pitch in games' periods and for the pitches behind the Town Hall on Saturdays, but all of this meant frantic improvisation, as we never knew till the last minute which pitch would be available, and when the Walthamstow clay defeated all the various groundsmen's efforts we were able to transfer some of our fixtures to our opponents' grounds. The local Cup games were all called off, but at the moment of going to press we have reached the semi-final of the A. Wood Cup and the quarter finals of the Lipton Trophy, for which 73 teams have entered. Constant postponements and desperate attempts to find new grounds to play on have added considerably to the School's telephone bill, and if we continue to be successful we shall be faced by the problem of playing soccer in the cricket season.
In spite of the "weather blues", however, the season has been a successful one. A number of representative honours were gained once more. At least four of the First Eleven were selected for the Football Alliance Public Schools Teams at Christmas; Eccles was travelling reserve for the Essex Grammar Schools team; Wenham and Willis have played for the London Schools F.A. team which annually meets the Glasgow Schoolboys. In the Walthamstow District Representatives teams, Church and Whitehurst have played for the Under 15 team, Sundler and Addington for the Under 14 team and Clarke and Hassall in the Under 13 team.
We have had a most promising 1st Form year and not only have they done well in school matches, but they have played nobly in unofficial matches under the helpful wing of Raymond and Arnott.
The under 13 team had some good wins, and one or two surprising defeats.
The under 14 team again showed great skill, but less drive.
The under 15 team continued their unenviable record of defeats, and it is difficult to know whether to criticise them for their lack of concern or to admire them for their unfailing good humour in adversity.
The Second Eleven, well led by Hougham, had a stirring season, culminating in the crushing of Woodberry Down by 13 goals to 1.
The First Eleven was surprisingly good and, but for postponements, might have approached the record of the fine 1960-61 team. Rarely has a School Team played better, in my experience, than the First Eleven in its overwhelming defeat of the Royal Liberty School, Romford, by 6 goals to 1. Fast, clever, and witty, the whole team played at great speed and with devastating skill and verve. However, on one or two other occasions verve seemed to be replaced by semi-hysteria: if goals did not always come easily temporary dejection would change to frantic, and rather irresponsible attack, which cost us the three school games we lost.
Once again, thanks must be extended to the masters who helped to run the School teams, in particular Messrs. Chambers, Carter, and Lord. Mr. Dade and his colleagues coped valiantly with the last minute demands made of them.
Looking back, the amount of football played in the circumstances seems little short of incredible; if all those who have helped with the arranging of fixtures, refereeing and the accompanying of away teams have experienced inconvenience and irritation, it has been more than compensated by the unwavering keenness of all the players.
Perhaps the most significant feature of this season was the lack of activity from the beginning of December to the end of February. In all, 16 games had to be postponed. A glance at the results of the matches indicates that the form of the team was somewhat of an enigma, but the season was as successful as we had dared hope in September. Compared with previous seasons, the team was young, four regular members being in the 5th Form, and only three in the Upper Sixth.
In common with other seasons, the team started shakily, but mid-way through the Christmas term the team was playing extremely well. After an unaccountable lapse against Central Foundation, the rhythm of the team deserted it, and we lost to Southend and Palmers after leading at half-time on each occasion: both defeats may be attributed to defensive errors. The age old adage that a team plays as well as its wing-halves applied to the first eleven this year.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking my most efficient vice-captain and secrctary, Ludlow, for the great amount of hard work that he did this year, Piggott, who so ably organised the teas on Saturdays and Wedncsdays; and Terry Dade, the groundsman, and his assistant who did so much to ensure that we could play whenever the weather permitted.
Finally, I would thank the masters who were responsible for junior teams, and especially Mr. Marshall for the enthusiasm he showed, and encouragement he gave.