SPORT FROM THE PAST: When the football rule book was ripped up

Boston boxers back in 1963.
Boston boxers back in 1963.

Think this year’s weather has been crazy? Reckon that snowfall in late March has caused irregular havoc to the footballing calendar?
If your answer is ‘yes’ then you’ll be amazed the goings on in 1963, when Boston’s Saturday Football League had to be written off.

As The Standard explained, in February of that year: “The Boston and District League’s fixture list has been abandoned.

“At a crowded meeting it was decided to completely discard the present set-up in view that all teams were ‘snowed under’ by bad weather cancellations.”

That’s right, those teams at the top of their table vying for glory would have to kiss their hopes of silverware goodbye and start again in a bizarre format, because there just wasn’t time to play all the matches.

Instead, each of the three divisions were split into two geographical zones of eight teams each.

This would cut down on travel costs but still give teams matches to play.

Each team would play the others in their zone once, with the two zone winners in each league playing each other to decide the league champions.

This outcome, although far from ideal, was reached after lengthy discussions at a public meeting of the league, attended by 50 club representatives.

This was agreed because the council pitches were, at that time, still under thick ice and looking unplayable for a further fortnight.

Due to the snowfall, most teams still had around 17 fixtures to fulfil within less than three months.

Only Benington and Ingoldmells believed they could finish their fixture schedule, all the other clubs agreed it would be impossible.

One side definitely not able to finish a normal campaign were Boston Athletic, who still had a whopping 30 matches to fit in.

The league couldn’t be extended due to cricket commitments of players and pitches.