Extract from Midsummer, 1914 Part 2
Monday, June 22nd, 1914, was a great day for the School, and in years to come many of us as Old Boys “will stand a tiptoe when this day is named.”
Since 1908 we had taken a rather humble part in the Annual Athletic Championships Meeting at Portland Road, and therefore our victory was all the more welcome, and received with all the greater enthusiasm because our appetite had by no means been cloyed with success during the intervening years.
We knew that we possessed a useful, level team – one capable of extending an average eight, but we had heard so much of the performances and prospects of certain of our opponents that we feared, and almost trembled.
We had a great desire to win that Team Race: nothing short of the Shield itself loomed larger in our ambitious eye. Lycett, Darby and Welch we could rely upon to get us points. We confess that we really expected Lycett to win the sprint, and after the Preliminary Trials on the 15th, encouraged by the running of Darby in the Quarter and the performance of Welch in the high Jump we believed that we had just a chance for the Championship.
How well our boys set about their task is now old news: there were anxious moments, especially when it was seen that Welch was too ill to take his place in the Jump or in the Team Race, but this misfortune only served to give Potts his opportunity and bring off one of the most gratifying of our successes.
We drew “first blood” with Darby in the opening head of the 100 yards. Lycett followed by winning the second heat. Next came the much anticipated Team Race. A fine struggle between Five Ways and Aston gave victory to the first named, and we disposed of Geo. Dixon rather comfortably. Our last man, Darby, was not pressed, but the time recorded was encouraging.
In the mile Fletcher ran gamely and with a splendid stamina, but his lack of speed prevented his gaining a better position than fifth. Yet was he the first to win us a point. Five Ways, though, had annexed thirteen!
Now came the 100 yards Final. Darby got off very moderately, but a full-blooded roar from our boys on the stand proclaimed the fact that Lycett had broken the worsted. Darby finished third – the time was 10 seconds, a record. Thus did we take eleven points from the sprint.
It is real pleasure to write of the High Jump. Potts had been knocked out in the Trials, having failed at 4ft. 8in., but coming in now as a substitute for Welch, he cleared the lath at 4ft. 9in. and divided first place with Woodhouse of Geo. Dixon.
The excitement was great when the Teams lined up for the Final. Getting well away Lycett gave us the lead which we retained till the fourth man, at which time we were passed by Aston. Hobson ran instead of Welch and this time fully atoned for an indifferent slow in the first heat. But our seventh man, Green, started a couple of yards in the bad, which, by a splendid effort he wiped out set Darby off with a clean touch for the last stretch. Now it was over for who could catch him?
By this time it was certain that Handsworth were to be runners up at least, and that it was to be a struggle with Five Ways for the place of honour.
Our rivals took three points from the Broad Jump making them 27 ½ to our 26 ½. Now for the Quarter! Five Ways had two “strings”, Legg and Garden, we had one, Darby, but ours was a good one! Could we win, and would some good friend prevent Five Ways getting Second and Third? Off they go. Round the bend and down the far side – Darby was running second to Jacot of Aston. What a pace! Who could stand it? The question was soon answered: the big Aston boy failed, and Darby, coming right away, won by six yards in the splendid time of 56 seconds, a record for the Sports! Legg finished strongly in from of Jacot, but the other Five Ways representative was unplaced. So we won the Championship by two points! What cheering there was; and the winners deserved all they got – the shield and four cups.
In distributing the prizes, Dr. Malins, the Bailiff of the King Edward’s Foundation, congratulated the boys on such a fine, pure sporting meeting. He spoke of the strenuous athletic exercises of the great ancient peoples, and commended the rule which obtains at our meetings, of giving no individual prizes, reminding us that the laurel-wreath was all the Greek obtained beyond that prize – supreme and all-satisfying – the honour of victory.
The boys who won the shield for us were Darby, Lycett, Potts, Welch, Fletch, Green, Griffiths, Dingley, West and Hobson; each of whom, doubtless, “will remember with advantages what feats he did that day.”
Kenrick Championship Shield: Handsworth.
Vice-Presidents’ Cup for Runners-up in Championship: Five Ways.
Donors’ Cup for Team Race: Handsworth.
Schools’ Cup for Quarter-Mile: Handsworth.
Schools’ Cup for High Jump: Handsworth & Geo. Dixon (jointly).
Coronation Cup for Mile: Five Ways.
Schools Cup for 100 yards: Handsworth.
Lord Mayor’s Cup for Broard Jump: Aston.