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The independent Stevenage FC blog

Sharpness: Remember Them?

For most people, ask ’em what “sharpness” is and they’ll tell you it’s the quality or state of being sharp. Well, it’s what anyone who recently swallowed the Oxford English Dictionary will tell you. It’s a no brainer, though, isn’t it? After all, doesn’t any word with “-ness” at the end of it tell you something? Some examples for you to get on with are “weakness”, “goodness” or “Graeme Souness”. For Boro’, however, there’s another definition. That’s ‘cos Sharpness are one of our long-lost opponents; the object of our nostalgic affections this time out.

 

Sharpness: Who Are They?

Sharpness: As sharp as their name suggests?

Let’s first set the scene, as you’ll not know much about The Sharks. This is a side that comes from one of the UK’s most inland ports. Formed in 1900, the club didn’t exactly make a name for themselves unless you were from Gloucestershire. Three times during the 1920s, they won the county’s Northern Senior League. You can read on their own website about how they were “very much to the fore and played at the highest standard in Gloucestershire football” after the Second World War Two. We only have their word for that, however.

The ever-helpful and always-excellent Football Club History Database doesn’t pick up the trail ’til 1968, for a start. That’s because it was at this time in history that Sharpness were founder members of Gloucestershire County League. After some good and (frankly) not-so-good seasons, the Sharks were crowned champions in 1984 and gained promotion to the Hellenic League Premier Division. The club had also started to compete in the FA Vase. And it’s that competition that paved the way for our one and (Spoiler Alert. Ed.) only meeting.

 

Sharpness: Us And Them…

We were flying (reasonably) high too in 1985. It was our second season in Vauxhall Opel League Division Two North and it’d prove – in the end – to be a title-winning campaign. To make it to the FA Vase Fourth Round, we’d come through four rounds already; scoring 15 along the way. For Sharpness, it was just the three prior rounds; the preliminary round not for their attention. That’s not our fault, however. We can only assume we drew a short straw and had to deal with it. We beat Ware 6-1, so we can’t have been that miffed…

And so, though not known at the time, a potential double was on the cards for Boro’ in the 1985-6 season. It was up to us to make the long trip west. We practically ended up in Wales! The brave group of nomadic fans who made the trip across from Hertfordshire enjoyed all the frolics of the occasion. As an entry for Why We Bother says, “a Ricky Marshall shot hit a horse in the next field”. That equine assult aside, better-aimed shots from Steve Armsby and Chris Myers put our hosts to the sword and put Boro’ into Round Five.

 

Sharpness: And Then What?

Our FA Vase run continued with a *fourth* consecutive away draw, though it was little hassle as we saw off Whyteleafe with ease in the end. For the quarter finals, then, and a *fifth* consecutive away draw; Boro’ somehow managing to lose 2-0 at Southall. That said, it still stands as our best showing in the competition. We’re not here to talk about our Vase exploits, however. What of Sharpness, right? Well, they went on to win the Hellenic Premier League that term; like ourselves, ending the season on top of the pile.

The Sharks, however, had to leave their home and ended up playing at Forest Green Rovers of all places. The cost of doing so put a heavy strain on the club. In spite of finishing second in the Hellenic Premier League in 1989, the club left the competition a year later. For them, it was back to the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League – and that’s where you’ll still find ’em today. Since 2000, they have won Division One three times, but any move up the pyramid doesn’t seem to be on the cards in the near future.

 

Sharpness: Boro’s Record

P1 W1 D0 L0 F2 A0 – League Points: 0, Cup Meetings: 1, Win Rate: 100%

 

• BoroGuide’s Sharpness club profile – for old time’s sake…

 

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