Apparently once called The Buckets, but we only know 'em as Desborough Town or 'Ar Tarn'

Here’s another Boro’ – but not one we reckon many of you know too well; Desborough Town being one of the teams we faced during our early days. So, this is a tale that’s going to take us right back to where it all started. It’s 1981. Aston Villa are the best club in the country. Bucks Fizz win Eurovision. And Boro’ (that’s us) win the first of many promotions to step up into the United Counties League Premier Division.

Who are Desborough Town?

First, don’t worry about this being a Boro’-on-Boro’ situation. They don’t ever call themselves Boro’. Some people might. The nickname thing, going by the United Counties League site, is a bit of a strange one. It looks as if their nickname is Ar Tarn, which is how you say “our town” in that part of the world. But it also says they went by The Buckets or even Dirty Desborough.

We’ll stick with Ar Tarn.

Ar Tarn’s long story goes back deep into Victorian times. And, by deep, we mean five years. In 1896, the club was born; joining the Northamptonshire League straight off the bat. In the first decade of the 20th century, success wasn’t too far away either. This was a level they were happy at, however. Well, that’s what we know. There’s no evidence they’d ever went up, down, left or right during the 1910s or 1920s. From what we can see, anyway.

In 1934, the Northamptonshire League changed name to the United Counties League. And the rest is history. Except it’s not. Because the point of this is to talk about us and them…

Why do we know Desborough Town?

As 1980-1 United Counties League Division One, the next step for a fledgling Boro’ side was the Premier Division. By this point, Ar Tarn were now part of the furniture. But a pair of titles (1949 and 1967) and a runners-up medal (1980) were all they had to show for their efforts in the years since rejoining the competition a season late after the Second World War. Still, did their experience of the competition count against us?

What is our record against Desborough Town?

To start with, yes it did. Our first-ever encounter took place towards the back end of the 1981-2 campaign; both fixtures wedged into the final six weeks of the season. First, we went down 3-1 indoors. Just over a month later, Lee Jacobs‘ brace ensured we shared four goals at their place to come home with a point. Our head-to-head record against Ar Tarn would get worse before it got better, however.

In the 1982-3 season, Boro’ went into the new year on a bad run of form in the league; without a victory in six matches. But our luck wouldn’t improve in Northamptonshire on 8 January 1983. Ar Tarn resoundingly thrashed us 5-1 to stay unbeaten against us. But it was the last time they’d get the better of us. Yet again, Lee Jacobs scored twice against them as we won 5-1 ourselves at Broadhall Way. Tit for tat.

The 1983-4 campaign rolled around and Boro’ were a little wiser in their United Counties League Premier Division exploits. The proof of that pudding can be seen in our head-to-head against Ar Tarn for that season. First, we won 2-1 at home in our first league game of the season; an unusually early encounter for us. Next, Boro’ made it two out of two for the season with a 2-0 win in the run-up to Christmas 1983.

Desborough Town: Boro’s Record

Our head-to-head: P 6 — W 3 — D 1 — L 2 — F 13 — A 12 — Pts 10 — WR 50%
Our last tango: Desborough Town 0-2 Stevenage Borough, 17 December 1983

What happened to Desborough Town?

That match at Waterworks Field would be the last time we’d see each other. As our tale tells us, we left the UCL for the Isthmian League ahead of the 1984-5 season and didn’t really look back. For Ar Tarn, however, it was more of the same. The club remains in the United Counties League Premier Division; finishing in second in 1998-9 and winning the league cup two seasons later.

The bottom line, however, is that we operate in two different worlds nowadays – where once we could be considered equals. It’s funny how paths can go separate ways, innit?

• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Desborough Town club profile

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Pete H is the head of the BoroGuide team; helping to keep the show on the road for the best part of two decades – all because of his love of Boro'. He was relatively late to the scene; first rocking up at Broadhall Way during the 1995-6 season. But that's mainly because he was too young to pledge allegiance before then. There have been more than enough highs (Easter Monday '96) and lows (Kettering '02) since then, however, to keep him occupied. Yes, and the 2010 title win...