Rawmarsh Welfare 3
Swinton Athletic 1
30/3 Rawmarsh Welfare beat Centralians
7/4: Swinton Athletic beat Denaby St. Albans
Rawmarsh Welfare Team. Back row, left to right Peter Hibbert, John Colley (manager), Roger Wood,
John Cooke, Dave Colley, Mick Farley, Mick McDonagh, Chris Beighton. Front Row, left to right Sam Warren, Pete Hart, Les Brewer, John Wheeler (Capt.) Stuart Heath, Billy Sanderson, Glen Hutchinson.
Also pictured: Karen Hibbert & Paul Hibbert (next to Peter Hibbert)
Gary Cooper's "Forgotten Heroes"...
To put the ‘icing on the cake’, Rawmarsh Welfare had also reached the final of the Mexborough Montagu Cup. It had been twenty five years since the club had last won the Mexborough Montagu Cup and waiting for Rawmarsh in the final were Swinton Athletic, a County Senior League side and the current holders of the Rotherham and District Charity Cup. History and the omens appeared to be on the side of their opponents as 1976 was a ‘leap year’. Swinton Athletic had won the Mexborough Montagu Cup competition in each of the previous three leap years 1964, 1968 and 1972.
A magnificent crowd in excess of 3,000 spectators packed in to the Hampden Road on Easter Monday 1976. From the outset Swinton Athletic were not overawed by their more illustrious Yorkshire League opponents as they dominated the early exchanges and had several chances to take the lead. However, Swinton then went a goal behind after a quarter of an hour when a cross from Rawmarsh left back Mick McDonagh was carelessly turned into his own net by a Swinton defender.
Rawmarsh failed to capitalise on this advantage and just before the interval conceded an equaliser that finally stung the Yorkshire League side into action. Centre forward John Cooke, a substitute in the 1973 final, began to boss the Swinton defence. A Cooke header set up Mick Farley who slotted the ball home to restore the Welfare lead on the hour and then Cooke himself scored the third goal with fifteen minutes remaining after heading home a Mick McDonagh free kick. Despite a late Swinton rally, Rawmarsh defended stoutly as they had done all season to keep their lead intact. Welfare captain John Wheeler was presented with the cup and he led the players in a lap of honour celebrating the fact that the cup was returning to the Rawmarsh Welfare trophy cabinet for the first time since 1951. The Rawmarsh Welfare team that won the 1976 Mexborough Montagu Hospital Charity Cup was: Stuart Heath, John Wheeler, Mick McDonagh, Billy Sanderson, Peter Hart, Roger Wood, Les Brewer, Mick Farley, John Cooke, Dave Colley, John Colley. Subs: Sam Warren, Pete Hibbert.