The Nadder Valley Football League has been recognised for reaching its 100th year. Initiated in 1920 by a small group of football enthusiasts who gathered together in a Dinton Inn, to bring organisation to football in their area.
The league grew out of the need for a competition in a country district at a time when transport difficulties limited village teams in their efforts to participate in Leagues already formed in the South Wilts area. Horse drawn wagonettes and bone shaking cycles carried teams for miles up and down the valley in search of ninety minutes of Saturday afternoon rivalry, culminating in the final game of the season for the Lord Bledisloe Cup.
Whole villages turned out for the Annual Presentation game for the coveted trophy presented by the very first President of the League, namely Viscount Bledisloe. The Nadder Valley League Champions team would meet a Representative side from the rest of the remaining teams for a showpiece game, to promote the Nadder Valley League football. However brief the moment was for the Victors, it was also a time to be remembered in the local villages such as Barford, Tisbury, Fovant, Dinton and many other surrounding ones.
Despite many difficulties the league survived the changing times and was greatly assisted by the continuity of service given by its earlier members. Lord Bledisloe’s Presidency was to last for thirty-eight years until 1958, when another of the original members, Bill Stokes served twenty-three years as Secretary and Life Member. Charles Austin served as Chairman also for twenty-three years; the late Lord Margadale was our President as was his father the Hon Hugh Morrison MP.
As of today, the league continues to support grassroots football thanks to the service of its dedicated volunteers. The league has Alan Nash (Chairman), Brian Ford (Vice Chairman with forty-five years of service), Don Foster, Les Mortimer (Both with over forty years of service), Colin Kennerson and Richard Gardiner to thank for its success along with many other volunteers.
The Nadder Valley Football League runs successful competitions to this day; the W C Stokes Memorial Cup Competition was formed in 1974 in memory of the late Bill Stokes, the cup was purchased by donations made by Clubs and Officers of the then Management Committee.
Along with the W C Stokes Memorial Cup, the league also runs a very successful U15/16s competition namely the Mark Edmonds Challenge Cup. In addition to these two competitions, the league also helps support the women’s game, hosting the Pat Blencowe Ladies Cup competition.
We would like to congratulate the league on reaching 100 years of continued support to grassroots football around Wiltshire and surrounding areas.