Football by Electric Light
“Football at night is by no means an unusual pastime, and many persons have “kicked by the light of the moon” in Gloucester Park. But a football match under the new rules, with the accompaniment of electric light is certainly a novelty, and therefore it is not surprising that the match Gloucester v Rockleaze, which took place on Thursday evening in the cricket field, Gloucester, should have drawn an immense concourse of persons. The lighting arrangements were entrusted to Messrs. C. W. Provis and Co. of Manchester, a firm which the illuminating power has furnished with a vocation – that of travelling about the country, and throwing light upon such subjects as football matches, skating rinks, and music-halls. The light was on Siemen’s principle. A portable steam engine drove four electric batteries, and there were two wires from each battery to each of the four lamps, which had reflecting lanterns, and were raised on poles at the corners of the playground. The illumination of the field was not very successful, for, owing to some fault in the apparatus, only three lamps could be worked simultaneously, and awkward shadows were thrown across the ground.
The kickoff was at half past seven-o-clock, but long before that time several thousand persons had assembled in and around the field. A narrow canvas screen placed around by the hedges was not sufficiently high to prevent a view of the lamps to the outside public, and where it interfered with their seeing the play they speedily pulled it down, or selected coigns [sic] of vantage in the trees and on the fencing thus to overlook the field. As it was hundreds of persons swarmed over the hedges and fencing, and gained gratuitous admission to the field.
The play was watched by the multitude with great interest; but it was difficult to distinguish “which was which” of the players. The teams did their work remarkably well under the novel circumstances. The ground being very hard from the frost, the falls and throws were numerous, and produced a plentiful crop of bruises and abrasions. The Gloucester Club must have made a very good “spec” with this match; they engaged to pay Provis and Co. £20 and a third of the takings, and the receipts were beyond their most sanguine expectations.
Lucas won the toss, and Brown deputed Bennett to kick off from the town end, loose scrummages at once commencing. Rockleaze, by good forward play, in which Hunt, Mackenzie, and James were most prominent, and aided by good runs by Heywood and Todd, somewhat penned the home team until W. Boughton, Bennett and Berry by long runs, removed the danger, W. Boughton at length getting a try, from which a goal was kicked by H. Boughton. Directly afterwards Bennett ran in, the place, however, failing. No further score had been obtained when half time was called. Ends being changed, Lucas kicked off. Both sides now played up with renewed vigour, Hurst and James, for Rockleaze, doing their utmost to score; while of the Gloucester forwards, Dewey, W. Brown, Stephens and Winterbotham, were playing splendidly , the last named at length getting a try after a fine run. The place was successful. Snushall next got the ball and passed to J. F. Brown, who passed to W. Boughton; the latter after a neat dodgy run, gaining another try. The place failed. Heywood and Todd now made some fine runs and Lucas some good drops for Rockleaze; but despite their strenuous efforts Gloucester were not to be denied, and J. F. Brown obtained two tries in quick succession, from one of which a goal was kicked. Gloucester in their turn were now hard pressed, and Rockleaze seemed bent on scoring, Hurst getting within a few feet of their line; Snushall, however, by a fine long run, and Grimes by a really splendid dribble, removed the danger, and the latter after escaping nearly all the Rockleaze men, passed the ball unselfishly to J. F. Brown, who kicked it over the line, and outpacing the opposing back obtained a try, from which a goal was kicked. Winterbotham succeeded in getting behind again before “no side” was called leaving Gloucester victorious after a very pleasant game by 4 goals and 4 tries to nil. The home team perhaps never played better; while besides those mentioned above, K. Smith for Rockleaze and Cartwright and Cadle for Gloucester, were perhaps most conspicuous. The place kicking of H. Boughton was very good indeed, some of the tries being most difficult, yet all were well attempted. From the score the game would appear to have been very one–sided; such, however, was not the case, the Rockleaze men in many instances quite holding their own, and the long score of the home team being mainly attributable to their superiority after the scrummages had broken up, and to their better passing.
The players were – Gloucester : J. F. Brown (captain), half; W. A. Boughton and W. Snushall, quarter; H. Boughton and J. Bennett, three quarter; H. Berry, back; forwards, W. Brown, G. Archer, J. F. Grimes, F. Winterbotham, M. Cartwright, J. Cadle, G. Dewey, F. O. Stephens, P. B. Cooke, and F. Tandy.
Rockleaze: Lucas (captain) and Dupen, backs; Clarke and K. Smith, three quarter; Todd and Heywood, half backs; forwards, Hurst, Mackenzie, Murton, R. Joseph, F. Bromhead, Isaac, Prentice, Blackford, H. James, and H. Bretherton.