Belle Vue memories are fond for Maurice

Maurice White and wife Marion. Photo: Andrew Roe
Maurice White and wife Marion. Photo: Andrew Roe

A 0-0 draw might not be one remembered by many, but that particular result still holds a special place in Maurice White’s heart.

For that was the scoreline in the English Schools Shield clash between Doncaster & District Boys and Scunthorpe Boys played back on December 4, 1948, on the hallowed Belle Vue turf - formerly the home of Doncaster Rovers.

Doncaster Sport 25 11 2006  Rovers' warm up on the Belle Vue pitch before the Brighton match.

Doncaster Sport 25 11 2006 Rovers' warm up on the Belle Vue pitch before the Brighton match.

Featuring as a winger in the under-15s side for Scunthorpe, Maurice remembers every kick from that match and just how big the pitch actually was.

“My, it was a huge football ground. At that time it was the biggest pitch in England. It was certainly a huge pitch to play on, absolutely beautiful,” recalled the 79-year-old. “I was sorry to see it close in 2006. I had seen many Rovers matches there over the years, players like Ken Hardwick, Syd Bycroft and Charlie Williams.

“But my best memory is actually playing there myself.

“I was probably playing at my best level then. I was a winger so had pace and could cross a ball. I was really pleased to be in the line-up against Doncaster.”

Wroot-born Maurice recalls how he almost stole the show for his Scunthorpe side but for some shot-stopping acrobatics from Doncaster’s number one.

“I was passed the ball and I was on the edge of the area and just went for a shot,” he said.

“It was a great shot at the Rossington end - the side of the pitch that’s now facing Asda - but the goalkeeper pulled off an even better save. It was a super save.

“Doncaster Boys were a brilliant team back then, they played some wonderful football and had some real talents in their team. Mitchell in particular was a super player. We drew 0-0 in the end. Our goalkeeper, Lingard, saved the day for us really, he had a fantastic performance.”

After the game Maurice says the two teams were then taken for a meal in town.

“It was a brilliant experience, I’m so pleased I got a chance to play on that pitch,” said Maurice, who lives with 79-year-old wife Marion in School Lane, Auckley. The couple, who have been married for 57 years, also still have friends in Epworth and Belton.

“I’m very sad to see Belle Vue go.”

Maurice, who was also part of the North of England shooting team and a keen cricketer, played in the reverse fixture at the old Showground in Scunthorpe, where Doncaster eventually ran out 1-0 winners.

As well as the experience, former left winger Maurice has the original team sheet which cost two pence.

“It’s a little worse for wear but has all of the players’ names on there,” he added.

Maurice is keen to hear from any of the players.

If you know of anyone, please contact the Free Press on 01302 347256.

- The fate of the Belle Vue ground remains in the balance after development plans were put on hold earlier this month.

Doncaster Council planning chiefs were expected to give the green light to an application by Barratt Homes Yorkshire to use the 3.38 hectares of land to build 151 new houses.

But the matter was deferred after it was announced that an expected report from the district valuer had not yet been received. Rovers left Belle Vue in 2006 after 84 years there. The application has now been deferred until February 4.