In the Christmas 1987 issue of Teynham News it was asked what 'Goal Running' was? The response was;most interesting but this has posed another question which we'll come to later.
Well what was 'Goal Running'? It was a summer game or sport, and the only area in the country it was played was in the eastern half of Kent.; It was around in the late 1600's and seems to have died out in the 1950's.; The sport was a team game of two equally numbered sides, often around 20 each, normally all men but occasionally there were ladies or 'maids' teams.; It was played on any suitable field, and in later years local football pitches proved ideal venues. Always played in bare feet, it was basically a form of team tag, but with many tactics to fool the opposition.; The object was to score a 'stroke' by touching a member of the other side, but this was more difficult than it seems as each team runner had a following covering team member to deter an opposing chaser. Sometimes there were 'point flags' which if rounded by a team member scored points which were added to the score; Games could last from 40 minutes to over two hours, and it was not unknown for disputed strokes to end in a punch-up. No wonder the game needed up to six linesmen, two umpires and a referee.
Teynham were one of the top teams, and won the Banner competition (equivalent to the F.A. Cup of Goal Running) held at Maidstone in 1906, 1907 and 1912, the Faversham Cup in 1910 and the Faversham Shield (runner-up to the Cup) in 1913. There used to be some glass cases displaying some of the Bannerettes and other trophies won in the Railway Tavern; they; have long since disappeared.; We have some photos of them, but does anyone know what happened to the cases and more importantly their contents?
We have been given some names of notable Teynham team members from around the First World War: W. Champ, F. and W. Gardener, H. Laurence, J. Marsh, G. T. Pilcher, F. Usher, and A., P., and T. Wigg. Does anyone have any photographs or memories of these gentlemen, or Goal Running generally?
Finally our thanks to Tony Vinson of Charing and The Journal of Kent Local History for the historical information, and to our own Parish Council Vice-Chairman, Ron Boorman, for his memories of bootless days at Bethersden and elsewhere, who encouraged the writing of this article.
Graham Winzar, Parish Councillor