‘And they’re off!’ Horse and Jockey are racing through the Premiership 2 division of the Wakefield and District Sunday League, as they chase gold with only one loss in a Cup game all season.
Could they potentially pose a threat to Premiership One league leaders King George once they are promoted?
Club secretary Ollie Rawson seems to think the odds are in their favour.
And who can blame him?
They’ve been on a terrific run, and for a team that landed themselves straight into Premiership 2 without going through the ranks first, it’s not difficult to understand why.
They’re able to boast 9-0 and 9-1 wins over King George Reserves FC and Crown Scisset FC, to name a few big triumphs this season.
The team formed at the Horse and Jockey pub, Horbury Bridge, near Wakefield and are comprised of Saturday League players who wanted to shift to Sunday League at the start of this season.
The pub itself has been described as homely, having great staff, cheap beer and, much like the club, is on the way up in the Wakefield area.
Horse and Jockey’s line-up includes tradesmen of all varieties; engineers, electricians and accountants to name a few.
However, they all have one thing in common – come Sunday morning, they’re passion for football means they are always ready to try and take on anyone on the pitch.
Rawson believes they’ve got a great set of players and perhaps had things been just a little bit different in October, they could have won their cup-tie against Woodman Sports Club.
The club can pride themselves in the fact they are player-run, with a real community spirit and are always welcoming new players to the squad.
Horse and Jockey don’t have a manager or chairman as such, and rotate the responsibility between themselves, making their great run of games seem even more impressive.
This past weekend they beat Henry Boons FC at home in the semi-final of the Premier 2 League Cup, with every indication that they can go on and win the final.
After all, it’s one of the club’s main aims for the season – remain unbeaten, win the league, win the league Cup and even win the Seymour Trophy.
The form Horse and Jockey are in, you’d be in the minority if you expect them to fall at the first fence.
Club secretary Rawson said: “We were put straight into Premiership 2 because we have a great set of players and it wouldn’t have made sense to start us off in a lower division.
“We currently change at Ossett Academy and play at Southdale Playing Fields, but we would like to have our own place to play, where we can change nearer to the pitch.
“We are a brand new team, only forming at the start of this season and we are unbeaten, even after the match with Hemsworth Highfield FC, where we had a man sent off after 10 minutes, but we were still able to draw 3-3.”
“We are hoping to go all season unbeaten and we would like to win the league, the league Cup and the Seymour Cup.
“We’ve got good enough players to do it.”
Rawson is well aware of what the team have to face next season if they are promoted. King George, who usually top Premiership 1 unbeaten every year (although they have suffered one loss this season) could face some stiff competition, according to Rawson.
“The players we have now, on paper, could be better than King George,” said Rawson.
“Next year, we’re looking to win the top division.”
As it stands, Horse and Jockey haven’t had any real low points in their first season in Wakefield and District Sunday League.
There was a mild fall-out during one game that saw a few players leave, but Rawson believes it’s only made them stronger as a team.
Like many other clubs in Yorkshire, Horse and Jockey have come up against several matches being postponed due to the weather, as recently as two weeks ago having a game cancelled at home to Netherton WMC FC, but this hasn’t affected their spirit.
On their sole defeat in the Landlords’ Trophy, Rawson added: “Although we lost a cup game to Woodman, we didn’t have the team we have now.
“They got to the semi-final this year. If we played them now, we definitely could have won it.”
It seems this club have everything it takes to see themselves promoted to the top tier of the Wakefield and District Sunday League.
Once they have their own facilities, there’s nothing stopping them enjoying as many emphatic wins as they have so far this season. They have most certainly ‘hacked up’ each game, after coming out of the woodwork unknown to the league.
Horse and Jockey can safely say they aren’t a novice team, displaying enough substance to sit at the top of the league from the second the starter’s gun went off.
There’s no secret to how they have achieved a commendable run thus far – practice and good play. Clearly, managing themselves as a team is working out.
There are no orders from above or anything else to impede them going out every Sunday and giving it their all. Rawson said: “We are a team that the lads manage themselves and a group that rotate and we welcome new players. We began as a group of lads that played in Saturday League, but wanted to move onto Sunday instead.”
After a Sunday, enjoying as many as six-to-nine goals per match, what can be better than celebrating their swift and laudable success with a real Yorkshire ale in the pub that gave them their name?
For the Horse and Jockey, there’s plenty to be celebrating and looking forward to right now.
Name – Horse and Jockey
Ground – Southdale Playing Fields
Manager and President – the team manage themselves collectively
Secretary – Ollie Rawson
Captain – Carl Walker
High point: Unbeaten so far all season in the league
Low point: Beaten 3-1 by Woodman Sports Club in the Landlords Trophy Cup