WW1 Truce Football Match
14th November 2018 Posted in Community News
On the 11th November 2018 Bracknell Town Council held an event to pay tribute to the 130 soldiers from Bracknell that gave their lives in World War One (WW1) as a part of the national celebrations for the centenary of the end of the war.
A football match was chosen to kick off the event as a recreation of the famous game in no man’s land on Christmas Day between the Allies and the Germans. The reason behind this is that it shows that even under the most extreme of circumstance humanity can come together and find common ground. Football allowed two warring peoples to put their differences aside. The hope was to engage a wider audience for Remembrance Day and to give the younger generation the opportunity to learn more about what happened.
The two teams playing were from Bracknell Town & District Sunday League. They were Hope and Anchor FC (H&A) and Finchampstead Athletic Sunday (Finch). Both sides wore kit fitting with the era and the Match Officials wore Army Officer uniforms. The game was played with an old leather ball and the goals were posts in the ground with netting around. With the heavy rain the day before the conditions were perfect and looked very much of the time.
Hope & Anchor FC and Finchampstead Athletic FC took to the pitch with FC Bracknell under 7s and under 8s as honoured guests.
The game itself was a cracker. It started quite cagily as both teams got used to a very different ball. Finch got to grips slightly faster and threatened the H&A goal after a quick breakaway.
H&A began to play some passes and began to look dangerous particularly down the right. However, as they pushed forward Rich Hall was able to take advantage of this to play in Gabriel Cockram who made no mistake flicking the ball over the top of the advancing keeper for 1-0 to Finch.
The lead didn’t last long as great play down the left from James Maw and Richard Gerrard gave Gerrard the space to hit a spectacular 30 yard shot that nestled in the top corner. 1-1.
The game stayed that way for the rest of the half as both teams worked hard to carve out opportunities.
At half-time the 50+ Bracknell Walking Football Club gave a demonstration. Then the ball was swapped for a modern football and the standard in play increased dramatically.
Great to see Neville Batt make an appearance for Finch at the start of the second half after all he has done for grass roots football in Bracknell.
H&A began to play some good quick balls into their strikers and opened up some great chances. It looked like an H&A goal was coming.
It duly arrived shortly after when Graham Birch played in Owen Thomas. A sharp turn and excellent left foot finish gave H&A a 2-1 lead.
It looked as if H&A had the game at this point and they continued to create more chances. However, Finch were not finished, and Josh Franklin was quick to pounce on a loose ball and play in Gabriel Cockram who kept a cool head to score with the last kick of the game and mean that honours were even. 2-2.
Bracknell Town Mayor presented each player and honoured guests with a ‘WW1 Battles Over’ medal.
The real winners on the day were all involved. What a fantastic event and both teams would like to thank Bracknell Town Council for organising the event and also Bracknell Town & District Sunday League and East Berkshire Football League for their sponsorship and Neil Graham for capturing the match.