The History of the Wearside League
The Wearside League in the 1930s was completely dominated by the colliery welfare teams. During the decade the list of champions read: Blackball CW (3), Easington CW (2), Seaham CW, Horden CW, Lumley Sixth Pit Welfare, Murton CW and Usworth Colliery. In addition to these: South Hetton CW, Herrington CW, Shotton CW and Murton CW all won the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup.
In the 1934-35 season, Blackhall CW even managed to break the stranglehold of Football League clubs' reserve teams on the Shipowners' Cup.
THE LEAGUE CHALLENGE CUP
The 1932-33 season saw the inauguration of a new competition: the Wearside League Challenge Cup. The first competition produced an extraordinary climax, as it took three games before a victor emerged.
Easington CW and Seaham CW met in the final at Horden on May 3rd. Easington took the lead through Nisbett but Lloyd grabbed an equaliser. Dobson restored the lead and then Heslop scored Seaham's equaliser with the last kick of the match.
The replay took place at Murton two days later. Again, there was little to choose between the two teams, with neither side scoring in normal time. In extra time Easington's Dobson broke the deadlock. With less than three minutes of the game remaining Thompson beat the Easington goalkeeper with a free kick from outside the box, but the ball came back from the crossbar. To the surprise of everyone the referee awarded Seaham a goal. Several of the large crowd rushed on the pitch but the goal stood and the game finished all square.
As the season had finished the second replay was held over until the start of the new season. The third attempt to get a result was held at Easington on August 26th.
Unfortunately, the League Challenge Cup has gone missing while in the possession of the 1990-91 winners, Dunston Federation Brewery. A replacement trophy had to be presented to IFG Roker when they won the 1991-92 competition.
The strength of the colliery welfare teams was too much for some of their rivals. At their Annual General Meeting in May 1933, Shiney Row Swifts decided to withdraw from the Wearside League. They arrived at this decision only after lengthy debate. The opinion was that the Wearside League mostly comprised of colliery welfare sides "who, in view of their better financial backing, were able to secure better players than other clubs."
In contrast, Easington Colliery Welfare's meeting at the Black Diamond Hotel on May 27th 1933 reported a much healthier state of affairs. On the playing side, the Wearside League had just been won for the third time in four seasons. The team had played 24 league games and 22 cup games during the season, scoring 116 goals and conceding 65. Secretary, Mr. Pallister reported an income of £670 (£130 less than the previous season) and expenditure of £653, leaving a balance of £17. He also disclosed that all outstanding debts had been paid off and the club now had no liabilities.