After eighteen years of trying, the 19th April 1965 saw us finally get our hands on a trophy when we beat Hookstone Rovers in the Hulme Cup.
It wasn't the first taste of success that we had experienced, we had been Harrogate & District Division III South champions in both 1956/57 and 1958/59, but cups of any kind had been elusive!
Up to the win, the closest that we had managed was a 6-0 semi-final defeat against Sowerby St. Oswalds in 1962/63 and even worse, a 3-1 loss to local rivals Wetherby Athletic Reserves in the semi-final of the Ripon Junior Charity Cup a year later.
The Harrogate and District Hulme Cup rivalled both the League Cup and League Challenge Cup in stature, but the closest that we had ever come was the 3rd round on several occasions. The competition had begun in 1926 and the honours of becoming the first team to lift it went to Scriven Park.
The years between 1926 and 1965 had seen at least twenty-three teams lift the trophy (this could be more, but no names are engraved on the cup in 1949/50, 1954/55 and 1961/1962).
The 1964/1965 season started with a 3-1 defeat to Harlow Hill in the Harrogate League One. A week later, we had our first two points when two goals from Barry Taylor, one from John Poulter and an own-goal helped us beat Old Harrogatonians 4-3 at our Knaresborough Road ground.
We were drawn to face Burton Leonard Reserves in the First-Round on the 19th September 1964 at Burton Leonard. Confidence was high in the local press that Rangers could easily overcome their second division opponents. Thankfully, this optimism was well-placed as goals from Barry Taylor, John Poulter (2), Ernie Huck, an own-goal and one unknown (the paper only mentioned five goals!) saw Rangers run out 6-1 winners.
The Second-Round took place on the 28th November when we travelled to play Ripon based Kirkby Malzeard. We had come off the back of a 3-1 defeat against Collingham in the Challenge Cup, so were hoping to bounce straight back to winning ways. It was not an easy match in the extreme, but a John Poulter hat-trick saw us beat Malzeard 3-2.
It would be almost two months before we played fellow League One side Pateley Bridge in the Third-Round at their ground. In between the two rounds, our form had dipped, and we had recorded just the one win (5-3 against Pannal) in all competitions.
It turned out to be another close game, and just like the second round, we were indebted to Poulter who, with five minutes left latched onto John Utley's pass, dribbled around the Pateley keeper and scored. The paper also mentioned that William Munton in our goal had performed heroics during the 3-2 win.
With our Semi-Final place against Harlow Hill booked, our form turned a corner, and despite a defeat against Hookstone Rovers in the league, we pretty much swept all the other teams aside as we moved clear of the relegation zone.
The score of the Semi-Final remains a mystery with the local Wetherby paper noting that we had won, but not publishing a score. It is known, through another piece, that an own-goal got us on the way against Harlow, but no other details are known. After falling at the Semi-Final hurdle twice before, we had finally done it and reached a final of a major cup competition!
As seemed to be the norm in those days, there was only a week to prepare for the final. In that time we managed to play two more league games with a 3-2 win against Sowerby, and an unknown result against Collingham.
Monday 19th April 1965 saw a good-sized crowd arrive at Wetherby Road (home of Harrogate Town AFC) to see if we could defeat Division One Champions Hookstone Rovers and lift the cup. Hookstone had already beaten us twice in the league, so the omens weren't on our side, and the lack of pre-match build-up in the local paper also suggested that many believed that Rovers would be the victorious side.
The team that the selectors chose to represent us was: William Munton, Phillip Key, Tom Smith, Barry Taylor, Brian Chatten, John Perry, Trevor Smith, Chris Young, John Poulter, John Utley and Ernie Huck.
Below is a reproduction of the match report which was printed in the Wetherby, Tadcaster and Boston Spa News on the 23rd April 1965.
CHATTEN GOAL CLINCHES CUP
Kirk Deighton (2) 3 v (0) 2 Hookstone Rovers
A great second-half revival by Hookstone Rovers, which lifted them back into the game after they had trailed by two goals at half-time at Wetherby Road on Monday morning, was just not enough to daunt the spirit of Kirk Deighton, who scored a third goal in the closing stages to enable them to carry off the Hulme Cup.
Deighton's victory was a personal triumph for tall centre-half Brian Chatten, who crowned a defiant defensive performance by joining his forwards and cracking in the winner seven minutes from the end.
In the first-half however, it looked as if Deighton were going to stroll to their success comfortably enough. With a gale-force wind in their favour they rarely gave Hookstone a look-in and were able to run up a two-goal lead.
After the interval Deighton set about the task of holding their lead, and they managed to
keep Hookstone out until 15 minutes from time when two quick goals gave Rovers new hope. But just when they were ready to pounce for a third, Deighton swept upfield to clinch the match.
As in their semi-final tie on the same ground a few days earlier, Deighton went ahead with the aid of an OWN GOAL. John Utley pushed the ball through a defensive gap on the left and as Johnny Poulter and Trevor Smith rushed in to score, Hookstone left-back Chris Pratt pull the ball past his own 'keeper while trying to clear.
Hookstone found it hard going against the wind and could muster little threat to the Deighton goal, whereas, at the other end, the quick Deighton attack posed many problems, and it was with the run of play that they went into a two-goal lead in the 37th minute when POULTER almost walked the ball home after Utley had split The Rovers defence with a short headed pass.
Seconds later, Poulter nearly made it 3-0 when he broke away down the left and fired in a shot which Paul Atha tipped on to the bar. In Hookstone's all-out bid to save the game, Deighton untangled some desperate situations in their goalmouth.
Right-back Phil Key booted three shots off the goal-line, and Bob Hunter and Ian Lillystone narrowly failed with other good efforts, before HUNTER chipped in Rovers' first from a narrow angle.
Soon afterwards LILLYSTONE slotted in the equaliser after a Herring shot had been half-cleared, but then up went CHATTEN to blast home the winner from an Ernie Huck corner.
The cup hoodoo had been broken at last, and while it would take several years for us to claim another one, at least, after nearly two decades of trying, we had finally tasted success on both league and trophy fronts.