Sevenoaks Charity Cup
Wednesday 26th April 1893, Sevenoaks are defeated at Knole Paddock by the first eleven of Royal Arsenal F.C. by the score of 11-0. The match was viewed by over 1,000 spectators who had come to see the only professional club in the South of England. The proceeds from the game going to two local hospitals ............. the Charity Trophy was born!
Woolwich Arsenal defeated Swanscombe 4-1 in the final on 16th April 1898. This match was played on the same day that Nottingham Forest defeated Derby County 3-1 in the English Cup Final at Crystal Palace. Despite this, well over 3,000 spectators gathered at the Manor Ground, Plumstead, home of Woolwich Arsenal F.C. until 1913 when the club moved to Highbury. Due to clubs pulling out at short notice because of County games, it was suggested by The Kentish Mercury that leading professional clubs were to be asked to enter the competition the following season and listed Tottenham Hotspur, Millwall, Luton, Southampton and Chatham as possible candidates.
One of the best ever trophies was on offer together with valuable medals for winners and runners-up and a portion of the gates were going back to the competing clubs.
To add further insult to the proceedings, James Smith, the Secretary of Crayford Utd was also charged with assault and sentenced to 1 month's hard labour. Needless to say, no invitation was extended to their club for the following season.
The first appearance in a Charity Cup final for Platt and indeed myself was in the Junior final of 1986 when Platt, after defeating Borough Green 4-3 after extra time in the semi-finals, then lost out to Sevenoaks Reserves in the final 4-3, again after extra time.
The 1989-90 competition still ranks as 'the one that got away', as Platt faced Wilmington in the semi-finals at Dartford. After totally dominating the game and extra time still not producing the breakthrough we went on to perform a penalty shootout that has become synonymous with the National Team .................... converting only 1 out of 5 from the spot. Wilmington went on to lose in the final to Oakwood by 2-0. This was Oakwood's 3rd successive victory, matching the feat of Borough Green in the early sixties.
In 1993 Platt defeated Knockholt in the semi-finals 4-2 after extra time to earn the right for their first appearance in a Senior final against Sevenoaks Town. At Greatness Park on Easter Monday, Platt romped to a 4-0 victory defying the odds against senior opposition.
1994 was a very successful year for the club, both at league level and in numerous cup competitions. The Reserve team narrowly missed out on a Junior Cup final appearance losing 3-2 to Bearsted Reserves and a protest against an ineligible player for Bearsted was unsuccessful. Platt first eleven made it back to the final again by defeating Knockholt for the second year running in the semi-finals by 2-0. This ironically, also set up a repeat of the previous final against Sevenoaks Town. This was always going to be a hard fought battle, with Sevenoaks seeking revenge for last year's final.
Indeed it turned out to be a fast and frantic game with Sevenoaks desperate to clinch the trophy in it's centenary season. Platt were 2-1 up with only a couple of minutes remaining when Sevenoaks grabbed a late equaliser and just when it seemed destined for extra time up steps Charlie Gill to volley an unstoppable shot to the corner of the net. There was barely enough time for the restart when the referee blew up for full time. Again, as underdogs we had kept hold of the magnificent Cup.
1995 also saw Platt Reserves reach the Junior Cup Final, losing out to Sevenoaks Reserves by two goals to nil. However, the following season they lifted the trophy by defeating Hever 2-0 in the 1996 Junior Cup Final. Platt Reserves had their final victory in the 2014 Sevenoaks Junior Final, overcoming Seal on penalties after the game was locked at 2-2 following extra time.
To read other cup final match reports, please visit the Honours List section.