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Like many schools of the time, Worksop had a keen interest in schoolboy boxing and as early 1914 had won a national title.
20 Jul 2020
Written by Simon Langley
Fleur de Leys boxers 1922 - W.M. Oddie, A. Christison, J.L. Day
Fleur de Leys boxers 1922 - W.M. Oddie, A. Christison, J.L. Day

It is inconceivable to think of inter-house boxing today, but from 1895-1970 it was one of the most eagerly-anticipated house sports. Competitors were split into weight divisions (pupils seemed a lot lighter back then!) - here's the weight divisions and reports from the 1914 inter-house boxing matches:

Junior Series. Under 5st 7lb. Smith quin beat Piggford on points. Smith was the quicker man and showed great promise.

Under 6st 10lb. Wallis beat Goodreid easily on points.

Over 6st 10lb. Lee beat Linton after a terrific slogging match. Linton was all the way the better boxer, but Lee's hurricane methods and superior reach would have taxed a more experienced boxer.

Open Series. Under 6st. Shipp beat Wallis after four rounds of wonderfully skilful work by both men.

Under 6st 7lb. Hall max beat Turner max fairly easily on points. Turner did very well for a novice, whilst Hall was disappointing and hardly up to his last year's form.

Under 7st 6lb. Dixon beat Wragg after a very wild beginning. Wragg should do very well another year.

Under 8st 6lb. Armstrong max beat Rees in 30 seconds with a well timed knock-out blow.

Under 9st 7lb. Browne max beat Richardson after four rounds, in which neither man showed to any great advantage. Browne failing to reproduce any of his Aldershot form.

Over 9st 7lb. Griffiths beat Mackrell after a level fight. Both men should develop into useful welter weights if they cultivate their lefts and learn to use their feet.

One particular boxer mentioned (only really in passing) was Armstrong and judging by his well-timed knockout blow he was rather proficient - especailly when you consider that the boxer he felled had won a silver medal in the Public Schools event just the year prior. Needless to say, this wasn't a fluke and Armstrong went on to win the Public Schools event held in Aldershot.

W. J. Armstrong (Worksop) v. B. Abercrombe (Dulwich College).

Early in the first round Armstrong showed himself the better man, and had his man at his mercy when the gong went. In the second round Armstrong attacked strongly, and had his man down and out with a well timed left followed by a right to the jaw.

Armstrong v. C. Henyell (Bedford).

The Bedford man, who had only just survived his first fight, was no match for Armstrong, who got the measure of his man in the first round. In the second round Armstrong closed in on his man ·and put him out with a well timed uppercut.

Armstrong v. E. MacColl (Clifton College).

Both men won their previous fights with plenty to spare, and were well matched. In the first round Armstrong kept out and scored with his long left when an opportunity occurred. In the second round both seemed inclined to mix things and the Clifton man seemed likely to make up some of his leeway. In the third round Armstrong realized his strength, and keeping his man at a distance scored with both hands. MacColl soon began to weaken, and after being down twice was only saved by the gong.

Armstrong is to be congratulated on his success. With better judgement he could have had his man well beaten in the second round of the final.

Brutal, but entertaining would be my assessment!

1913 Worksop obtained its first Blue when J.F. McN. Davis competed for Cambridge - this was a very big deal at the time as it resulted in a fully day holiday for the entire school. This was the first Blue that Worksop obtained in any sport. James Walden Fortune McNaight-Davis was killed on 17 January 1915 in Givenchy, France.

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