It’s not unusual for some of our nearest neighbours to almost be total footballing strangers; one example being Biggleswade Town. From door to door, we can drop by the Waders in just 20 minutes on a good run. But our various fixture lists over the years haven’t asked us to for one reason or another. Unless you wanna count pre-season friendlies? If so, the amount of times we’ve met is likely to be greater. All we’re interested in, however, are our competitive encounters. And that’s what we’ll come to in a minute…
Who are Biggleswade Town?
To start with, let’s take it back to the start. The Waders are pretty ancient as far as football clubs go; formed in 1874. The ‘Town’ suffix wasn’t always there, however. First, it was just plain old Biggleswade. Then it was Biggleswade & District. And, for the first few years, the club only played friendlies and the like. That all changed for the 1902-3 season when they became founder members of the Biggleswade & District League; clinching the title at their first attempt.
By the time World War One came around, they had won the league three times – and also added a Bedford League title too. After, however, the Waders joined the Northamptonshire League in 1920; the original name for the United Counties League. Here they remained up until the end of the Second World War. At this point, they added ‘Town’ to their name – and joined the Spartan League. That lasted just six years, however, before they returned to the UCL in 1951. Not that their time in the competition was particularly impressive at the start.
Why do we know them?
So, we know the Waders because they played in the UCL – right? No. Wrong. In just four years, the club were on the move again; this time into the Eastern Counties League. That seemed like an inspired move when they set a new record for the biggest away win (12-0 away to Newmarket Town). But the travel costs started to get out of hand. So, back to the UCL they went. Now is that the reason we know them? Er, no. But it was a close call…
In summer 1980, the Waders left the United Counties League again. This was despite an impressive enough season in which they scored 103 goals. But it only secured them third position. We don’t know if it was the despair of missing out on promotion or the desire for change, but the Waders moved on to the South Midlands League Premier Division. Doing that meant passing up the chance to meet Boro’ during our first-ever senior season.
In the end, it was a further 12 years before we met the Waders in a competitive match for the first time. We did our time in the UCL, before moving up through the Isthmian League. They, meanwhile, stuck with the South Midlands League with mixed fortunes. So, it came down to the 1991-2 Southern Combinations Cup Round Two draw to pair us together.
What is our record against the Waders?
At that time, Boro’ – under Cloughie‘s leadership – had recorded back-to-back promotions and were the better team on paper. And that translated onto the pitch too. With that gap in quality, we could afford to rest a few first teamers and still progress to the next round; Ivan Humphreys scoring his only two senior Boro’ goals and Shaun Marshall also getting on the scoresheet in a 3-1 home win. Cloughie even gave himself some game time too.
Boro would go onto win the Southern Combinations Cup that season, by the way.
Biggleswade Town: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 1 — W 1 — D 0 — L 0 — F 3 — A 1 — Pts 0 — WR 100%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 3-1 Biggleswade Town, 19 February 1992
What happened to them?
Not much would change for the Waders in the years that followed. Even after the Spartan and South Midlands Leagues merged, things continued on much the same path. But they took it up a level by winning the 2008-9 Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division title; gaining promotion to the Southern League in the process. Four seasons later, fourth place in Division One Central and playoff success took them into the Premier Division.
The Waders remain in the Southern League – albeit now in Premier Division Central and suffering a second aborted season on the spin. But, apart from pre-season friendlies, the chances of us meeting for another competitive fixture remain as slim as ever. For now…
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Biggleswade Town club profile