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Don Lancashire

DON LANCASHIRE FOOTBALL CAREER PROFILE

                             

Don Lancashire was an inspirational and respected captain of the hugely successful Mexborough Tech Old Boys team in the 1950’s. He played at right half and was a skilful, wholehearted and tough competitor. He was the team’s penalty taker. The team were Montagu Cup finalists in 1956 losing to Dearne Community Miners Welfare and went one better the following season when they defeated Hickleton Main in the 1957 final.    

                  

Don was born at Thurnscoe in 1930. He was a student at Mexborough Schofield Technical School from 1944 to 1947. He represented the school at football, cricket and athletics. In 1946 he was awarded the Victor Ludorum medal for the best sportsman.

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Mexborough Schofield Technical School season 1945-1946

Back row (L to R): Mr. Schofield (WRCC), B2, Duke Fields, Clarrie Mason (Sports Master), Brocklehurst, Albert Hibbert, Mr. Watson (Headmaster).

Front row: Elliott, Don Lancashire, Taylor, F4, F5.

On leaving school he joined Mexborough Tech Old Boys football team (managed by Clarrie Mason MSTS Sports Master) in season 1947-1948 and played at inside right in the Mexborough Association Under 18 League. The team were runners-up in the Mexborough & District Junior Cup. (Don’s first job was at Manvers Main Colliery as a shop lad in the Electrical Department).

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In season 1948-1949 he played for Mexborough Tech Old Boys football team at inside right in the Mexborough Association Senior League. In December 1948 Burnley invited some of the MTOB players for trials and it transpired that Clarrie Mason took his entire team to be shown around their Turf Moor ground and play against a Burnley team. MTOB were disappointed to be defeated.  Burnley were in the Football League First Division at that time and were renowned for their youth policy.

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In early season 1949-1950 Don had trials with Huddersfield Town (Football League First Division) and Leeds United (Football League Second Division). He signed professional forms to play part-time with Leeds United (Managed by Major Frank Buckley) in November 1949, his terms were £4 per week during the football season and £3 per week during the summer. He played in the Yorkshire League team.

In season 1950-1951 he continued playing part-time for Leeds United in the Yorkshire League and the Reserves. The great John Charles (Welsh International) was a first team player during this time. Don turned down an offer from Leeds United to play full time and decided to continue his career with the National Coal Board and concentrate his studies to become a qualified Electrical Engineer. (Don’s second job was at Barnborough Colliery as Assistant Electrical Engineer).  

In season 1951-1952 he played at inside right for Hickleton Main Welfare in the Mexborough Senior League and the team were League Champions.

In season 1952-1953 he continued playing for Hickleton Main Welfare who had joined the Rawmarsh Senior League and the team were League Champions.

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Don Lancashire Vice-Captain of Hickleton Miners Welfare__ with the Rawmarsh Senior League

Don Lancashire Vice-Captain of Hickleton Miners Welfare with the Rawmarsh Senior League Championship  Cup and replica trophies at the Club Celebration in April 1953

Don was vice-captain of Hickleton Main Welfare in their successful season 1953-1954 when the team were Mexborough Association League Champions, Mexborough Association Championship Winners and Mexborough Association Invitation Cup Winners.

In season 1954-1955 Don returned to play for Mexborough Tech Old Boys at right half and captain in the Mexborough Association League. The team won the Mexborough Challenge Cup and Invitation Cup. This was an emerging successful MTOB team in the 1950’s with a relatively unchanged team.

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In season 1955-1956 Mexborough Tech Old Boys under Don’s leadership were Mexborough Association League Champions and won the Mexborough Association League Cup, Mexborough Association Championship Cup, Mexborough Challenge Cup and Mexborough Invitation Cup. The team won every local honour except the Montagu Cup, in which they were beaten 1-2 in the final against Dearne Community Miners Welfare on Denaby United’s ground. From 15th October to 2nd April, the team had a run of 25 matches without a defeat and never failed to score in any match throughout the season. During the season Don scored 6 goals which included 5 penalties.

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In the following season 1956-1957 Mexborough Tech Old Boys won the Montagu Cup, after a nail biting extra time, defeating Hickleton Main 3-2 at Hampden Road, Mexborough. Don was proud to lift the Montagu Cup. The team also won the Yorkshire Old Boys Shield, defeating Beverley Old Grammarians (Hull) 2-1 under floodlights on Doncaster Rovers Belle Vue Ground. The team finished second in the Mexborough Association League to Hickleton Main and reached the semi-final of the Rotherham Charity Cup, losing 0-3 to Parkgate Welfare in a replay after drawing 3-3. The team started the season with a run of 15 games without defeat and never lost away from home until 16th March. During the season Don scored 10 goals which included 7 penalties.

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During the summer of 1957 Albert Hibbert was tragically killed at work in a coal mine accident. Albert was a strong and accomplished centre-half who played alongside Don in the MSTS and MTOB teams and the Montagu Cup Finals in 1956 and 1957.

In season 1957-1958 Mexborough Tech Old Boys played in the West Riding Old Boys League entry second division and finished top of the league. The team won the West Riding Old Boys Senior Cup defeating Huddersfield Old Grammarians 5-1 on Denaby United’s ground. Don scored 5 goals. The team was undefeated away from home. During the season Don scored 5 goals including 3 penalties.

Mexborough Tech Old Boys joined the Sheffield Hatchard League (founded 1892) for the first time in season 1958-1959 and finished in 5th position. Only one team completed the double against the team - the eventual champions Dearne Community Miners Welfare who were also the league winners in the previous season 1957-1958. During the season Don scored 4 goals including 2 penalties.

Mexborough Tech Old Boys continued playing in the Sheffield Hatchard League in seasons 1959-1960 (finished in 6th position), 1960-1961 (finished in 6th position), 1961-1962, 1962-1963 and 1963-1964 until the team was dissolved. During these seasons Don continued as captain of the team and played at right half. (The winter of 1962-1963, known as the Big Freeze, was one of the coldest winters recorded in the UK at that time. There were no local football games for 3 months due to frozen pitches).

Don died in 2014. He loved his football playing days and in later years he wished they were coming round again but he had no regrets. He was a modest man. At Mexborough Schofield Technical School, Don was Head Boy and his wife to be Barbara was Head Girl. They were married in 1952.  Barbara was a staunch supporter of HMW and MTOB football. Don played cricket for Wath Amateurs and Barnborough and in the Yorkshire League for Thurnscoe. Don and Barbara played badminton for Thurnscoe St.Helens Club and Yorkshire County. Don worked as Electrical Engineer at Caphouse Colliery from 1960 until 1980 and then at Emley Moor Colliery until 1985. Caphouse Colliery is now the National Coal Board Museum for England.

Footnote: When MTOB won the Montagu Cup in 1957, they were allocated 2 tickets for the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Players names were entered into a draw and the names of Don Lancashire and Brian Hill were pulled out of the hat. They attended the 1957 FA Cup Final in May in which Aston Villa controversially beat Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’ 2-1 who were effectively reduced to 10 men after only 6 minutes following a bad foul on their goalkeeper by the Villa outside left (substitutes were not allowed in those days).

Footnote 2: Reference  Don when he was a part-time professional with Leeds United. His wife remembers two things - one was that Don saved his Leeds United earnings so that they could get married and the other was when Leeds United wanted Don to sign as full-time professional it was on the basis of all or nothing! Don chose his Coal Board career and studied to be a qualified Electrical Engineer.

For other photos of MTOB, link is www.montagucup.com/Mexborough-tech-old-boys

Prepared by Brian Hill (MSTS 1952-1955 and MTOB 1955-1963)

July 2023

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