It’s the nature of great sporting rivalries that each team is defined by its relationship to the other. No matter how their fortunes fare in the wider world they are judged (particularly from within) by performances against their foes. The derby fixture comes to represent the season, rendering other fixtures mere preludes or afterthoughts to the main event.
So it was for over 20 years between the WestX1 and the Gents. With a shared DNA and similar outlook to the Sunday game, both teams are much closer than they’d like to think but share a mutual antagonism and respect that has endured the passing years. This rivalry was enshrined in the annual Bob Ashton memorial trophy, usually played over 3 fixtures each summer. The formation of the new Judd Street Tigers meant the trophy could be retired after 22 years of dedicated, hard-fought contest. After another washout in 2012 here’s hoping the weather allows the Tigers to hunt down the Gents in 2013, heralding the start of a new rivalry.
Gents stalwart Andy Burman, with no doubt help from WestX1 statto Steve Bignell and others, has put together a loving tribute to the trophy, the characters and the incidents that went into the making of this great rivalry. Relive each contest from sun-parched origins in 1990 to the final rain-sodden denouement in 2011. It’s available here, just click on the image.