IN December's Memories, we mentioned that professional football in 1945-46 did not have a full league programme, so the early rounds of the FA Cup were made two-legged ties to add a bit of interest. We reported on a Second Round tie between Bishop Auckland and York City that took place in December 1945 which brought back memories for Bishop Auckland supporter John Davison from Durham. He was at both games, when Bishop lost 2-1 at home on December 8 lost the second match at York 3-0 a week later.

The second leg was especially memorable. John said: "We went down in dad's 12-year-old Jaguar which he called "Mrs Ann Knox". We had just parked up in York, and were getting out of the car, when both front tyres blew off. My dad's face went white, while I was wondering what would have happened if they had blown 15 minutes earlier.

"We arrived at the ground 10 minutes late and missed all three York goals as they were scored very early in the game."

That was not the end of the excitement that season because John and his dad were at Stamford Bridge for the 1946 F A Amateur Cup Final between Bishop Auckland and Barnet. John said: "Dad bought me this coloured Easter egg which had been autographed by all the Bishop Auckland players. At half-time he asked me to show it to all his pals. Unfortunately by then I had eaten it.

"Barnet were 3-1 up in the second half, but we pulled a goal back very late on, to make the last few minutes exciting."

John is steeped in the football traditions of south-west Durham. He not only followed Bishop Auckland in the 1940s and 1950s, but was the brother-in-law of Colin Bainbridge, Crook Town's No 5 when they triumphed 3-2 over Barnet in the 1959 Amateur Cup Final. Colin joined Bishop Auckland in October 1961, and was No 5 for Bishop Auckland when they lost 2-1 to Hounslow in the 1962 Amateur Cup semi-final. "A cracking lad, and great mate," said John about Colin, who tragically lost his life after a car crash on the Staindrop-Darlington road before the start of the 1964-65 season.

John, now the managing director of Katem Logistics in Durham, also played football for Crook factory side Marshall Richards, where he worked, and can recall playing against Crook Youth Club in a final on the famous Millfield ground in Crook.

"A pal of mine, Alan Bidmead, who, like me, was serving his time at Marshall Richards, was skipper of the Youth Club side who won 6-0. During the game I got into a good position but blasted the ball over the bar from only two yards out. I was forever reminded about it at team re-unions.

"Harry Longstaff was a great lad and a friend of mine at the factory while Colin Summerson was another great lad who worked there and sometimes played for the factory team. I remember having a game for Frosterley in the Auckland and District League, and afterwards finding 7s6d in my shoe."

In later winters, John turned his attention to playing rugby at Durham but can recall one summer playing cricket for Marshall Richards against the Crook Town 1st XI in a final. "I scored 47 out of our total of 57, so Crook invited me to play for them. In my next game I opened for Crook, who had Ron Smithson as professional. He was a bit fat and slow and in front of a big crowd, he cost me a 50 and a good collection in a game against Langley Park. Keen to get a half century, I was pushing the ball for easy singles but when I got halfway down the wicket, I would find Ron saying: "No." I never made the 50.

"I remember playing against Stan Goodrich the professional at Seaham Park. He only came off five or six paces, but boy was he fast, he had me standing somewhere near the square leg umpire.

"After the game I asked him why he only came off a few paces. He said that if he had come off his long run he would have killed someone on those local wickets. He seemed a likeable bloke.'

John talked about Crook Town amateur Cup hero Bobby Davison who worked at Marshall Richards: "Good friend, hard as nails, and lived in Seymour Street in Bishop Auckland just over the road from our garage, while the Horn brothers at Crook Cricket Club had a sweet factory and one lived near Rossiters garage."

Many thanks to John Davison for his time this week and to Michael Burke for his computer.