ON THIS DAY: 26 December – Gari’s farewell

Since the club was reformed in 1921, Reds have played over sixty matches on Boxing Day and there have been many highs and lows on the most traditional of days throughout the football calendar…….

We should have been in action at Dunston this afternoon, of course, but we did host our friends from the north east twelve months ago and a seasonal best attendance (673) was treated to a cracking game in mud-bath conditions.

It was the day we said a fond farewell to Gari Rowntree, skippering Reds for the last time, who was afforded a guard of honour by both teams as he took to the field for his 426th and final appearance.

Celebration vs Dunston

And what a send off as Reds swept Dunston aside in a convincing 4-1 victory with Nathan Waterston, Scott Allison and Conor Tinnion (2) sharing the goals.

Scott Heslop had the satisfaction of scoring the game’s best goal, hammering home a ‘thirty-yarder’ for Dunston’s consolation, but, undoubtedly, it was Workington’s day as they recorded their biggest Boxing Day win as a Northern Premier League club.

Although Carlisle United were regular opponents, and victims, during our Football League days it was the 1963 encounter at Borough Park – a cracking 2-2 draw – which is remembered as the Boxing Day classic.

Both were chasing promotion from the old Fourth Division and Borough Park was bursting at the seams as 18,628 fans registered a record league attendance at the ground.

Geoff Martin and Dave Carr scored for the home side on that festive Thursday afternoon with Joe Livingstone netting twice for the Blues.

Our first Football League match on the 26th December also proved memorable with the 1951fixture against Southport producing a 6-1 Reds win at Borough Park.  Hero that day was John Maxfield who chipped in with a hat-trick.

Two years earlier, in 1949, Workington recorded another 6-1 success in the North Eastern League with Jackie Oakes’ hat-trick helping us put Eppleton Colliery Welfare to the sword.

The best win of all on this day, though, was the 1928 demolition of Washington Colliery at Lonsdale Park.  It finished 9-2 in Workington’s favour and prolific scorer, Jack Thom, contributed with a personal tally of five!

Over the years, we have played Cumbrian derby matches against Carlisle United, Barrow, Netherfield/Kendal Town, Penrith and Holker Old Boys in our Boxing Day fixture but we have also ventured into others countries too.

In 1955 we were on duty in Wales and emerged 1-0 winners at Wrexham and, thirty nine years later in 1994, we crossed the Scottish border only to suffer a 3-0 defeat at Gretna.

Unforeseen circumstances resulted in the abandonment of Reds’ game at Gateshead in 1979 when there was a floodlight failure. We were leading 2-0 at the International Stadium when the lights went out after just over an hour’s play.

Hopefully, there will be a Boxing Day fixture to look forward to in 2021 without the disruption of adverse weather, power cuts or even a pandemic!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.
Don`t copy text!