Match 44
28th April 1923
Gillingham (h)

2nd May 1923
Rigby-Dockray Benefit part 2
Exeter City v Ex-Grecians

ECFC 0-1 Gillingham
Attendance: 4000

Saturday, April 28th,
at St James's Park, Exeter.

Gillingham provided the opposition today in Exeter City's last home Football League match of this season. Having secured only one point of the sixteen last player for despite endeavouring to halt the slide with rather startling team changes on occasions, Exeter now relied on the eleven which did duty at Home Park on Wednesday with the exception that Mitton appeared at centre half in place of Duke. Gillingham, who scored five goals without reply v Norwich on Wednesday, not surprisingly kept the same team together today.

City:- Pavey; Pollard and Flynn; Coopland, Mitton, and Crompton; Matthews, Kirk, Crockford, Davis, and Dockray.

Gillingham:- Fox; Betteridge and Robertson; Read, Henderson, and Thompson; Battiste, Freeman, Needham, Hall, and Palmer.

Referee:- Mr W.E.Russell, of Swindon.

Exeter City 0-1 Gillingham (PALMER)

Excellent football was played by these sides at St James's Park today, and with neither defence brilliant there were more than a few exciting moments. Gillingham, who finished their moves better than the City, pressed warmly after the first quarter of an hour, but neither side was able to score before the change of ends. Palmer eventually got the only goal of the game, heading past Pavey from a centre by Battiste ten minutes after the resumption. Gillingham completely ruled the game following their goal, but were unable to increase their lead. Flynn was injured and left the field ten minutes before the close of play.


It was a wonderful sight at Wembley for the great Cup Final, between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham. The huge crowd got right out of control, and invaded the pitch, it being nearly four o'clock by the time any start could be made. Bolton were the cleverer side, and the two Devonians, Pym late of Exeter City, and Jack of the Argyle, were in tip-top form, and Jack scored the opening goal.


Memorable Match at St James's Park

Wednesday, May 2nd.

In September last, Bolton Wanderers sent their full League team to Exeter and played a match against the Grecians, the proceeds of which, less Bolton Wanderers' guarantee expenses, were put aside, for the benefit of two of the City's greatest players of all time, James Rigby and John Dockray. The second part of the arrangements for these players' joint benefit was an evening match between the Grecians and an eleven composed of former Grecians.

No player, not even Dick Pym or Chadwick himself, has given the club better or longer or more loyal service year in and year out than Rigby, a brainy and unobtrusive right half well versed in all phases of the game, and Dockray, a fast and aggressive winger, who from his very baptism with the City "chiefs" made the critics sit up and take notice.


Jimmy Rigby and John Dockray must have been very proud men on Wednesday evening. The "gate" of 10,000 at their joint benefit match at St James's Park was a striking testimony to the personal popularity as sportsmen of this couple in and around Exeter, and quite positive proof of the wisdom of their decision to provide an unique attraction for the occasion, in the shape of a team of old

Exeter City players. The story of this Benefit Match is one unbroken record of very pleasurable success. It is an occasion which will live long in the memory of the Soccer public in East Devon, and which cannot fail to give lasting joy to the two beneficiaries.


There could be no question as to the heartiness of all the many greetings exchanged in the Visitors' Dressing-room before the game began. Everybody was immensely glad to see everybody else.

Dick Pym had hastened down from Bolton specially for this big occasion, and it is an open secret that his one great fear in the Cup Final at Wembley was that the match might have resulted in a draw, necessitating a replay on Wednesday, and that he would be unable to join in doing honour to his comrades of other days. And Crawshaw and Popplewell had come direct from Accrington, their ten hours railway journey ending only two hours before the time of the kick-off at Exeter. And both of them had played in important competition games already this week.

Percy Oldacre has been lying up with a severe cold, but happily the Teignmouth air brought him round in time, and he telephoned in the course of the morning to promise his appearance. Jimmy Makin journeyed from Lancashire in company with Pym on Tuesday, while Billy Lovett, Sam Strettle, Joe Coleburne and Jimmy Carrick were among the early arrivals, happy to spend a few days in the county of cream and cider. Wright of course had only to step across from Yeovil.


Jack Feebery was unable to come owing to serious illness in his family, and there was much regret, also, at the enforced absence of Billy Goodwin, who has an unpleasant foot injury. Jack Mitton was unable to get away from Sunderland on account of having to play in an important local cup-tie, and of course John Fort, who was one of the very first to say he would like to be present on this most auspicious occasion, is still on the injured list. Charlie Pratt came in the capacity of o of official trainer to the ex-Grecians.


There were more than seven thousand people in the ground when the teams came out to a suitably uproarious welcome. Then the City Military Band played "Auld Lang Syne with twice the customary fervour, and the spectators cheered themselves hoarse. The usual spell of "kicking in" followed, and Pym was beseiged by autograph hunters as he stood in the goal at the St James's Road end, with footballs flying into the net meanwhile.

There were more cheers when it was seen that Pym, who had been made captain of the ex-Grecians, was wearing a smart badge on his new green jerseys, a silken representation of the arms of Bolton. Very few teams in the country have the right to wear such badges in competition matches, but Bolton Wanderers are among the number, and the players were provided with them for the Cup Final. They sport them only on very special occasions. The crowd cheered again when Pym won the toss. He chose to occupy the goal at the far end of the ground during the opening half. And in his hand he carried a horse-shoe mascot tied in the Exeter City colours, presented by a very small boy in a red and white striped shirt. Before the game had been in progress for many minutes the attendance had reached the ten thousand mark, as near as could be guessed. The crowd had come to see the old favourites, and to pay their tributes to the two beneficiaries, rather than in the expectation of any rousing football. There was, nevertheless, the occasional exploitation of individual skill, and now and then a smart bout of quick first-time passing, but the play generally was quiet and uneventful.

Two goals were scored, and both in the second half. Oldacre got the first when play had been in progress nearly an hour, and got it in true opportunist fashion. Makin was cruising around on the edge of the penalty area with the ball at his toes when Pollard handled. The free kick was taken by Makin himself, and he sent in a very artful shot, so placed that Pavey was hardly able to sight the ball. The goalkeeper, however, saved by punching the ball out, and followed up his clearance for several yards. He was crowded off the ball, however, and quick as a flash Oldacre hooked it into the empty goal.

Kirk scored the second goal with a characteristically brisk run with the ball into the penalty area and a fierce shot at top speed. The ball flashed into the goal just underneath the crossbar, and looked like going right through the top of the net.


Pavey; Pollard and Ackroyd;
Coopland, Southway, and Crompton;
Newman, Kirk, Crockford, Davis, and Shelton.


Pym; Coleburne and Strettle; Popplewell, Carrick, and Crawshaw; Oldacre, Makin, Wright, Lovett, and Dockray.

REFEREE: Mr A.W.Martin.

The number of autograph albums that found their way into the Visitors' dressing-room after the match was phenomenal, and all the old Grecians signed and signed, and nobody was disappointed. Dick Pym, who was wearing his Cup Winner's Medal on his watch chain, admitted to having signed hundreds of autograph books in Bolton after the Wanderers' triumph at Wembley.

Following the match, a dance was held at the Wessex Drill Hall, Holloway Street, Exeter, which was attended by over 300 people. Rigby and Dockray were said to have been delighted with the local support given to their benefit arrangements.


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