Smiths Cup (Senior) R/U 1952-53

No Walk-Over For Otford In Smith Final
Otford  2       Platt   1

When Otford scored two minutes after the start of their Smith Senior Final against Platt on Boxing Day, writes "Marksman", the goal might excusably have produced visions of a slaughter of the Sevenoaks League innocents by the Tonbridge premier division team.

It served instead as an inspiration to both teams, for Platt immediately tightened up their defence and gave the opposition a good deal of thought before equalising in the 16th minute, while Otford tried hard to increase their advantage without being able to beat Parrett a second time before the interval.

It was during the first-half that Platt's chances of snatching a surprise win were brightest, for they had almost as many openings as Otford and appeared to be more accurate with their shooting. Yet they had one man to thank above all others for the fact that they were not four or five goals behind when half-time came ....... W.Parrett, their goalkeeper, was magnificent and produced the most spectacular saves seen in local football this season.

Every one of the Otford forwards tested his ability fully during this period from every angle and range but found him able to cope with every type of shot from the skidding grounder to the stinging drive just under the bar.

For all that he was spared the bother of picking the ball out of the net more than once by the unaccountable inaccuracy of C.Paige, the young Otford inside-forward, who hooked the ball miles wide when it appeared even easier to score.

When Platt did get to the other end, and these occasions became more frequent as the interval approached, they always looked dangerous and had Vizard in difficulties once or twice, although he was only beaten once spite of suffering from a sharp attack of 'flu.

When the teams changed over however, it became increasingly apparent that the cup was on it's way to Otford for the second time in three years. The Tonbridge side soon regained the lead and although they failed to increase it they methodically played Platt out of the game long before the end.

In the last 20 minutes every one of the winning players showed a fitness which was not matched by many of their opponents, although it was a brilliant save by Vizard from Higgins two or three minutes from the end which prevented extra-time, when the Platt man seemed sure to score.

Mention has already been made of Parrett's brilliance in goal, but even he had to take second place to the man-of-the-match. I am told that Don Rosser, Otford's right-half, never plays a bad game, although I doubt whether he has ever played a better one that he turned in on Boxing Day.

Just about the smallest player on the field, he displayed unending energy with his persistent tackling which often blotted Hawkes and R.Bowen out of the game, and also controlled the slimy ball perfectly. His eye for an opening and the precision with which he placed his passes made the Otford right-wing pair Martin and Potter, as dangerous as any I have seen this year.

For the rest of the players on both sides it can be said that their work was good. There was no failures in spite of the treacherous nature of the slippery pitch and the standard of play was frequently high, if not exciting all the time.

Where Otford had an undoubted advantage was in their closer teamwork and their physical fitness. There was purpose about most of their moves and a confidence which brought it's reward.

Only two minutes after the start Marchant caught the Platt defence by surprise and gave Otford an encouraging goal, but the opposition gradually recovered until a throw-out from Vizard went astray and Richardson was given an easy chance to equalise.

Just as quickly after the interval Otford regained their lead when one hard shot smacked against the crossbar with Parrett beaten and Potter netted coolly from close in.

The cup and medals were presented by Mr J.May, Chairman of the Tonbridge League.

Team: W.Parrett, Roy Bowen, J.Bowen, L.Garrett, L.Gladdish, N.Holdstock, P.Richardson, R.Pearce, W.Higgins, H.Hawkes, Ray Bowen.