TWO of ‘Tynedale’s greatest football players of the past 30 years’ bowed out of Sunday League football with scoring returns this week 25 years ago.

Hexham Courant’s cult sports reporter of years gone by, Jack Clark, described the moment Ian Candlish and Don Robson bowed out of football in 1995 by netting during White Swan Ovingham’s 3-1 victory over league champions Hexham Eastgarth in the Hexham and District Sunday League Cup final.

Mr Clark described the pair as two of the best players from the district he had seen in 32 years of covering local football for the paper.

Candlish, who turned out for Wark, Gretna, Consett, Prudhoe East End and Prudhoe FC, was a goalscoring machine, and once scored 99 goals in one season for Wark and Prudhoe Hospital, the latter on a Sunday morning.

He starred in Wark’s capture of the Northumberland FA Minor Cup in 1985 with a man of the match display in the final and he was courted by Middlesbrough – instead, he opted to sign for Consett.

Robson similarly caught the eye and turned out for Prudhoe East End, Carlisle Reserves, Hartlepool Reserves, Whickham Heaton, Stannington and Prudhoe Kimberly Clark.

It was Candlish who gave the Swan the lead after just seven minutes.

A blistering run from Michael Keady saw him break through the Eastgarth defence and pulled the ball back for the potent striker who slammed the ball home.

An end-to-end encounter unfolded but it was Ovingham who produced the next goal to steam further ahead.

Mark Best was brought down in the area and it was over to deadly Robson to add his name to the scoresheet in his swan song by sending home from 12 yards.

Robson then turned provider as Swan went three goals clear five minutes later. His free kick was headed by Paul Brown.

Eastgarth came out of the second half a different team and attacked from the whistle. They reduced the arrears on 75 minutes courtesy of a Nigel Robson header but Ovingham weathered a late fight back.