Eastbourne (1) – QPR (2) – 8th October 1902

Team: Collins, Newlands, White, Freeman, Hitch, Skinner, King, Hamilton, Jones, Abbott, Wilson

This friendly match against Eastbourne was played on Wednesday, 8th October 1902. The following match report later appeared in the local Gazette:

‘Only a moderate ring of spectators encircled the Saffrons on Wednesday afternoon, when a match took place between Eastbourne and the redoubtable Queen’s Park Rangers.

Although they tried their utmost the visitors could not score in the first-half, and the sides crossed over with a blank score sheet.

In the second-half the Queen’s Park Rangers had the greater portion of the play, and at length Jones found the net with a soft shot.

During the melee in front of goal Abbott put his knee out and had to be carried off.

Eastbourne transferred to the other end, and receiving a clever pass from Bellamy, Baddeley neatly netted the ball.

On the stroke of time the Rangers notched the winning point by Hamilton.’

In his newspaper column, “Invictus’’ wrote: ‘Queen’s Park Rangers who visited the Saffrons on Wednesday to play Eastbourne a friendly, gave the local crowd a show of the short passing game, in which one could easily discern a certain amount of gallery play.

At this no one could grumble, for the “pros” were just good enough to win, and the game was enjoyed by all concerned. There was a fair crowd present, but the gate would probably not clear the visitors’ guarantee.’

He then went on to add: “The easy-going, “plenty-of-time-to-score-the-goals-in” style in which the Rangers opened might have let in a stronger Eastbourne eleven for a goal or two, and compelled the “pros” to go all the way, and thus have given the spectators, full value for their money.’

The above pic is from my collection and appeared in the ‘Black and White Budget’ magazine on the 18th October. The caption reads: ‘The Rangers right forward sends in a shot which the goal-keeper saves.’

The first match against Eastbourne was the 1-1 draw on 3rd April 1899, which was then followed by a 2-1 win later that year in November.

On 23rd March 1901, a Rangers reserve team drew 1-1 at the Saffrons.

The QPR ‘A’ side played at Eastbourne twice in the 1950’s, firstly drawing 1-1 on 11th October 1952 and then winning 2-1 on 3rd September 1955. The reserves went there on 12th August 1972 and drew 1-1.

Eastbourne were founded in 1881 as Devonshire Park Football Club. They moved to the Saffrons in 1886, changed their name to Eastbourne FC in 1889 and added the ‘Town’ suffix in 1971.

The Saffrons became a multi-purpose sports ground, which apart from football, also features cricket and hockey.

In 2010, I attended a QPR reserve game at Priory Lane against another Eastbourne side. Formerly known as Langney FC, Eastbourne Borough were formed in 1964.

Steve Russell

(My thanks to Colin Woodley and Gordon Macey for their assistance)