Football in Dursley

Dursley Association Football Club effectively began in October 1893 with the formation of a team supported by the St. James Club. This club was an organisation started at the beginning of that year by the clergy of St. James Church to foster the idea of healthy recreation for the young men of the town. The very first match was against Forest Green Rovers who came to the town in December 1893 but unfortunately the home team were beaten 2-0. The return match two weeks later at Forest Green's ground produced the same result but no doubt the fledgling Dursley football team had gained some good experience. In 1898, Dursley joined the new Dursley League, one of eight clubs who did so and at the same time they decided to drop the St. James suffix from their name. Dursley's fortunes up to the beginning of the First World War were mixed, with their best season being 1907/08 when they won the Dursley League championship. For the 1908/09 season they also joined the North Gloucestershire League in which they continued to play up to 1922 with the exception of the 1909/10 season.

In 1919, following the return of men from the war, a new football club started up in Dursley which became known as the Dursley ex-servicemen. They competed in the Wotton League and they Second Division of the Dursley League, both of which they won during their first season - a great achievement. It was at the conclusion of this season that the team name was changed to Dursley Rovers, at the same time as the older club officially became known as Dursley Town. In 1922 the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League came into existence which Town and Rovers both joined although in 1926 the two clubs amalgamated, coincidentally at the same time as another club was formed, the team of R.A. Lister Engineering Works.

1939 was a good year for Dursley Town AFC as they won the Gloucestershire Senior Amateur Cup Final, beating Forest Green Rovers 3-1 in the replay after an initial 1-1 draw. War intervened again soon afterwards and most football clubs closed down with Dursley Town matches not resuming until 1944. A team for the town's youngsters, the Dursley Colts, was also formed in 1948 which took players aged 18 and under. The mid fifties were some of Dursley Town's most successful years. In 1955 they won the Stroud Senior Charity Cup and in 1956 they were again victorious when they came top of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League (GNSL) Division 1. The 1960s through to the 1990s were relatively uneventful for Dursley's senior football club, no further championship victories followed and the team alternated between Div 1 and Div 2 of the GNSL apart from the 1968/69 and 1969/70 seasons when they played in the Wiltshire County Combination. In 1960 they did win the Stroud Senior Charity Cup Final and the Berkeley Premier Cup but thence followed a sparse period until 1995 when they won the Stroud Senior Charity Cup. This was followed in the 1995/96 season when at last they were champions again in the GNSL, after a gap of 40 years.

Dursley Town Football Club continues to thrive, and home matches are still played regularly on the recreation ground in 2004.

Ref: "Town Score 100+, The History of Dursley Town FC", Colin Timbrell, 1996

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)

Dursley St. James AFC - 1896/97
An excellent photograph of one of Dursley's earliest football teams. Pictured are: Back Row (L-R) J.F. Chambers, Maj Gen. Vizard (President), R.W. Pinney (Capt) Middle Row (L-R) T. Richards, B. Vincent, W. Everett, A.J. Cunningham, S.E. Blandford, W. Bind,
Front Row (L-R) F. Blandford, W. Short, W. Harris, E. Bendall, A. Waalem
(1896/97 - courtesy David Evans and Colin Timbrell)

    Dursley AFC - 1910/11
Dursley's football team during the 1910/11 season when they finished second in the Dursley and District League and seventh in the North Gloucestershire League.
(1910/11 - courtesy David Evans and Cyril Chandler)
    Dursley AFC Dance Ticket
Obviously nothing went to waste. This unused ticket for the Dursley football club dance at the old Victoria Hall appears to have been reused for a cricket club event the following month.
(1910 - courtesy David Evans)
    Dursley Rovers AFC
An early Dursley Rovers team, possibly during their first season in 1919 when they were known as the ex-servicemen.
(c1919 - courtesy David Evans and Kate Workman)
    Dursley Town AFC Reserves - 1920
The reserves played in the second division of the Dursley League. Pictured are: Back Row (L-R) H.C. Wood, H. Rudge, B. Hewish (Capt), Jack Phillips, B. Phillips; Middle Row (L-R) W. King, R. Rudge, ?, W. Phillips, H. Aston; Front Row (L-R) V. Barnett, A. Screen, Trevor Whittard.
(1920 - courtesy David Evans)
    Dursley Rovers AFC - 1922 Cup Winners
Pictured: Back (L-R) Webb, H. Dimery, Beven, C. Wood, ?, E. Rich, S. Hancock, R. Hewish, ?, Trull, C. Owen; 3rd Row (L-R) F. Atkins, Hann, Read, R. Martin, B. Dimery, W. Ford, H. Bowen, W. Fowles, F. Seeley, Smith, J. Whitfield, Shipton, Phillips; 2nd row (L-R) Kitching, Praetor, H. Higgins, C. Smith, W. Walters Front (L-R) H. Martin, W. French, R. Cross, D. Seeley, Whiting, S. Higgins (1922 - courtesy David Evans)
    Local league football poster
Advertising a match in the Dursley and District League between local rivals Sharpness and Dursley. During the 1905/06 season Dursley went on to win 6 out of 14 games, gaining 15 points and finished in 3rd position in the league.
(Jan 13th 1906 - courtesy David Evans)
    Dursley Town AFC Reserves - 1948/49
League Champions in the Dursley and Wotton League Div 1 and the Severn Vale League Div 1. Pictured here are: Back Row (L-R) G. Roach, D. Locier, P. Thould, C. Wollams, K. Gough, G. Hanney, G. Smith; Front Row (L-R) R. Burrows, I. Sweet, N. Jackson, W. Nelmes, S. Jackson, D. Grigg, I. Holder
(1948/49 - courtesy David Evans and Colin Timbrell)
    Bymacks football team - 1982
Stroud League Division One leaders. Pictured are: Back Row (L-R) Pete King, Steve Donnelly, Richard Brown, Bill Brown, Nigel Aldridge, Stuart Williams, Barry Thompson. Front Row (L-R) Gary Mills, Clive Hill, Brian Moulder, Pete Tywunka, Brian Jones, Chris Tatnell, Chris Hobbs.
(February 13th 1982 - copyright Bailey Newspaper Group)
    Dursley Grammar School 1st XI - 1961
Pictured are: Back Row (L-R) Alan Jones, Roger Denning, Roger Phelps, Mr Rowe, Tony Gannon, David Herbert, Geoff Green, Robin Trench. Front Row (L-R) Brian Euins, David James, Brian Greenwood (captain), Robin Bearpark, David Holley.
(1961 - courtesy Tony Gannon)