The village of Burneside lies in the valley of the River Kent at the foot of Potter Fell, one of the southernmost extremities of the Cumbrian Mountains. Flanked by the slates of Potter Fell to the east and the limestone of Cunswick Scar to the west, Burneside is divided by the River Kent which rises nine miles to the north before dropping some two thousand feet to meet the tidal waters of Morecambe Bay ten miles further south. The first Burneside team to play an organised game of Association Football took place on Boxing Day 1898 when they lost 0-2 to Kendal. They won the Westmorland League in 1901 and 1903 and the photograph from this era also shows that the club could have supplied two players at International level although enquiries at both the FA Headquarters in London and their Westmorland Office have drawn a blank in confirming this.
The football leagues in and around Lancaster from 1892 have attracted clubs from far and wide, some have stayed for decades whilst others only paid us a fleeting visit. Burneside would fall into the latter category, playing eight seasons in the North Lancashire League between 1922 and 1932. They were typical of any village club where the whole community seemed to support each other. We will look at the progress of the team in season 1924-25, their third year in the league.
It is interesting to look at the teams in Division I of the North Lancs League and see that out of the original 15 members only 7 of them were Lancaster clubs. The Kendal area was very well represented with Kendal Town, Netherfield and Burneside.
Burneside started the season with five league games at home, winning four and losing only to Kendal Town, before beating Morton’s Athletic at home 2-0 in the Parkinson Cup 1st round. A 3-2 victory over local rivals Netherfield in the 2nd round took them into a 3rd round contest with Dry Dock United who eventually succumbed 3-2 in a replay on the Far Moor, Lancaster. The semi-final against Bentham Wanderers proved to be less taxing and a splendid 5-0 win took them through to the final to meet an outstanding team in Skerton Athletic. Skerton had beaten Bolton-le-Sands, High Bentham, Carnforth Rangers and Ingleton United to reach the final and soon after their 5-1 semi-final victory over Ingleton Haslam, their outstanding left winger, had signed for Blackburn Rovers although he was allowed to play for the Athletic in the final on the Quay Meadow.
Quay Meadow was in poor condition for the final and a huge “gate” contributed £17 to charity.
The teams were:
Skerton Athletic: Corless; Carter, Berry; Ellis Fisher, Hinde, Moore; Nicholson, Callan, Livesey, W Fisher, Haslam
Burneside: Davies; Postlethwaite, Wightman; Palmer, Pearce, Helme; Cooper, Raynor, Thompson, Huck, Murdock
Referee: Mr. W Slinger
“The day was fine but the ground was a quagmire and Skerton were lucky on a number of occasions when only deliberate handling of the ball prevented Burneside from scoring. Thompson, the Westmorland team’s centre forward had two or three sharp chances well saved by Corless. Haslam switched wings and put in a number of dangerous crosses but Skerton failed to beat Davies. The ground was severely churned up and good play was impossible and although both teams came close to scoring the interval came with no goals.
After coffee time Burneside pressed hard and once more Corless came to the rescue of Skerton. On the whole Burneside had much more of the play and had it not been for Corless they would have won the match but in tiring conditions the game ended 0-0.
The replay took place at Mints Feet, Kendal, and the Kendal Nursing Society as well as the league benefited from yet another good “gate”.
“Skerton won the toss and played an excellent short passing game with Haslam at outside left outstanding. After 30 minutes Livesey scored a lucky goal for Skerton, Davies having no chance to save. Centre forward Thompson hit the post for Burneside and although they kept up the pressure they failed to score. In the second half Skerton had to defend with centre forward Livesey being injured. However they increased their lead through W Fisher and won the trophy and medals 2-0.
Over Easter 1925 Burneside played three games in four days, drawing 2-2 at home to Storey Brothers on Good Friday, losing 0-2 at Carnforth Rangers on Easter Saturday and beating St Peter’s 2-1 at home on Easter Monday. In an effort to save money, I assume, Burneside travelled to play Storey Brothers in Lancaster losing 1-4 and then moved on to Morecambe to play Morton’s Athletic a few hours later winning 1-0. This was repeated again when they played two games in the same day in Lancaster beating YMCA 6-0 and losing 0-2 to Dry Dock United. Other teams often repeated this format when they visited Kendal and would play Kendal Town or Netherfield before moving on to Burneside on the same day. As an example Burneside beat Scotforth 2-1 and then entertained Morton’s Athletic, for the second game in a few hours, winning 2-0. Morton’s Athletic had already lost 0-3 at Netherfield before making the short trip to Burneside.
A sixth place finish in the league was a very creditable performance and in 1925-26 Burneside would finish in 3rd place, their best finish in the North Lancashire League, before dropping out of the league for two seasons and then returning in 1928-29 for a further four years.