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Soccer ace Margaret took on the boys

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 02, 2014

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WE HAVE yet another follow-up to our pieces on the Brierley Hill women's football team, Handy Angle Ladies, this one via email from reader John Williams, now of Stourport on Severn. Mr Williams writes:

"Your articles in recent editions about the Handy Angle ladies football team brought back memories.

"I only saw the team play on a few occasion, but their exploits were widely reported in the local press and it was obvious that they were indeed a formidable outfit, even at a time when football for ladies did not have the status it does today.

"Margaret Parkes would almost certainly have been the prolific goalscorer you mention in one article, because she was, without doubt, a naturally talented player, who may well have gained even more prominence in the game today!

"I am fairly sure that Margaret first came to my attention when we attended Mount Pleasant school in Quarry Bank in the 1940s. I recall that there were two school yards – or playgrounds, as we called them at the time – one allocated to all infants and older girls and the other bigger yard to the older boys.

"When not in class, most of the older boys usually played games of football in their yard, but the girls were expected to confine their activities to hopscotch or less demanding ball games.

"The girl that I have always assumed was Margaret would have probably found these activities rather tame, because she was often seen playing football in the boys' yard, where she was more than a match for many of them.

"The headmaster at the time, Mr Sidney Allchurch, who was very much a disciplinarian, might not have approved, but since he and his brother, Tom, had played serious cricket for Stourbridge, he might just have turned blind eye.

"Margaret was clearly doing something she was very good at and thoroughly enjoyed and, as far as I can recall, she was never sent back to the other yard. These forays were probably the start of quite an illustrious time in her life!

"As a regular reader of the Bugle, I know that there is usually someone out there with a good memory, who may be able to confirm if my recollections are correct."

Let us know if you can confirm John Williams' recollections. Give us a call or email gjones@blackcountrybugle.co.uk.

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