STEVE JONES is approaching 80, but he has never forgotten playing for Dawdon CW against Blackhall CW in a Durham Challenge Cup 1st Round tie, which we have billed as "the greatest game" for two reasons.

First, on Saturday, February 1, 1958, Blackhall CW travelled to Dawdon CW with only nine men for the 1st Round tie and came away with a 2-2 draw. Dawdon were reduced to 10 men in the second half but it was still an outstanding result for the Blackhall team.

The boot was on the other foot the following Saturday, February 8, when Dawdon travelled to the Welfare Park, in Blackhall, for the replay and this time they had only nine men. The reason for the shortage of players was that the whole country was in the grip of the worst snow chaos since 1947 and two Dawdon players just didn't make it through the snow.

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Jones had just done a six-hour shift at the wages office in Seaham Colliery on the morning of February 8. He recalled: "I came back home, saw all the snow and was convinced that there would not be a game. I had two bowls of my mother's broth, dumplings the lot, when someone at the door said that I should get a move on as the bus was setting off for Blackhall. The bus struggled through to Blackhall and when we arrived we found only two or three inches of snow on the pitch, so it wasn't a problem. The result was really at the back of our minds because we were all still reeling from the Munich disaster and hoping that Duncan Edwards would pull through."

The tie got under way and as the players slithered about it was nine-man Dawdon who equipped themselves the better. Steve put his side ahead after only seven minutes, Blackhall equalised before Andrews put Dawdon 1-2 ahead. It was soon 2-2 early in the second half when Kirkaldy put through his own goal. Steve then hit two quick goals to put Dawdon 2-4 ahead only for Blackhall to come back and square the game at 4-4. Steve put Dawdon ahead again but the home side equalised right at the death to make the score after 90 minutes of play an amazing 5-5. "Irrepressible" said the Durham Chronicle as the game went into extra time and it was still the nine of Dawdon playing the 11 of Blackhall. Steve hit one more goal in the extra period to take his match tally to five and the game ended all square at 6-6.

Steve added: "It was Roy of the Rovers stuff. I just seemed to waltz around their defenders and everything I hit went in, and there were proper goalkeepers in those days."

The nine Dawdon heroes were Ramsay, Kirkaldy, Eltringham. Gordon, Wyness, Fisher, Andrews, Jones and Riley. with the match report saying that Jones not only got a second half hat-trick but he inspired the side with his rugged determination and all-out effort against such heavy odds. Another replay took place the following Saturday at Dawdon but somehow with a full compliment of players Dawdon lost 3-1.

Steve Jones later worked as a Durham County Education Officer, played over 600 games in the Wearside League and the Northern League but was never cautioned. "I went to Ryhope Grammar School where Mr Hoggarth, the headmaster, instilled sporting discipline into us – a lesson which lasted."