THE Tyne Valley was denied sporting success in the Northumberland Minor Cup this year even before the coronavirus pandemic saw the season cancelled.

It had looked promising - both Hexham and Haltwhistle Jubilee made it to the semi-finals, raising the prospect of a mouth-watering all Tynedale clash in the final - but it wasn’t to be, with both sides missing out.

However, 50 years ago, Corbridge Rangers put Tynedale on the county’s football map, when they secured victory in the Minor Cup.

Corbridge defeated New Deleval 2-0 in the final, and goalscorer on the day John Griffiths, known as Jonny, has been recalling his memories of the day.

John, a midfielder, scored Rangers’ second goal from the penalty spot, after inside left Leslie Roxborough, nicknamed Rocky, had climbed above a ruck of players to head the ball into the net for the opener.

He said: “We had a tremendous team, although there wasn’t many Corbridge guys there. We had players from all over.

“The manager, Bobby Ross, poached the best players from throughout the area. We won the league in 1966, 1968 and 1970.

“I scored a penalty in the final to make it 2-0.”

On the way to the final, Rangers played a tough game against Bomarsund Welfare, winning 3-2 to put, as the Courant claimed at the time, the area back on the amateur football map.

The game saw both sides produce football worthy of a final, delighting the crowd with some great attacking football.

And it was that man, Griffiths, who scored the winner on that famous day as well, with the Courant describing the goal as “worthy of the occasion”, with the ball hitting the back of the net before anyone had moved.

However, Johnny never actually saw the goal himself. He continued: “It was one of the best games I’ve ever played in.

“We played them at Corbridge, the ball got headed out of our area and it game to me. There was a guy on the touchline and I remember him saying ‘one on there!’

“I just booted it and he hit me and wiped me out. The next thing I knew everyone was piling on me because it went in!

“It was a hell of a journey when I was looking back. I think we were the first team to win in a while from Tynedale.”

Naturally, the celebrations after the final were long and rowdy - or at least, John thinks. He added: “I can’t remember much about it - we certainly had a few drinks!”