THERE had been 55 FA Amateur Cup competitions before the 1958-59 competition took place, and in 1958-59 Bishop Auckland, Crook Town and Shildon all represented the Northern League and South West Durham at the quarter-final stage.

It was Bishop Auckland's 33rd appearance in the quarter-finals, Crook's 10th appearance, while Shildon's only other appearance in the quarters was in the 1937-38 season when they lost 4-1 at Bromley.

By the 1958-59 season the great Bishop Auckland team of the 1950s had broken up. Their famous half back line of Hardisty, Cresswell, Nimmins was gone, and replaced by Thursby, Bousfield, Perkins at Underhill, Barnet the venue for their quarter-final tie. The 'Two Blues' talisman Seamus O'Connell, often a match winner, had also left and was now with local rivals Crook Town who travelled to Briggs Sports for their quarter-final tie where two goals by the Carlisle cattle dealer helped to put Crook through 0-3. Shildon drew 1-1 at home to Walthamstow Avenue, Thompson getting their equalising goal. For the replay Alan Brown from Northumberland was unavailable so Allan Brown from Shildon took his place. Despite having most of the possession Shildon went down 3-1 at Walthamstow with Lewis 2 and Minall the Walthamstow scorers. Keith Hopper getting the Railwaymen's deserved goal.

At Underhill, Barnet the newspapers in the South reported that on a treacherous pitch the Bishop Auckland players Bob Thursby, Charlie Perkins, Laurie Brown and Ken Todd all nobly assisted in 'maintaining a standard of football craftmanship that did the Amateur game credit.' The problem was Barnet had an 18 year old centre forward called Bobby Brown who could play a bit, plus Alf D'Arcy, Reg Finch and the column's good friend John Welch who scored both of Barnets' goals in their 2-1 win. The Bishop Auckland team was Hewitt, Elliott, Barker, Thursby, Bousfield, Perkins, Bromilow, Wilkinson, Brown, Lewin, Todd.

Barnet were fit, fast and enthusiastic with their forward line led by Bobby Brown, courted by Wolves and Spurs, but happy playing with Barnet at the time and adding up columns of figures in the City during the week. Brown, who had a hand in both of John Welchs' goals against Bishop would later have a professional career in London with Fulham and Watford and then with Northampton and Cardiff. Welch had been moved from number nine to outside right to accommodate Brown. Barnet were now the Southern favourites for the Amateur Cup but Crook had Seamus O'Connell, and a quiet town planner at number 11 called Jimmy McMillan, plus a rock called Colin Bainbridge at centre half. How would they get on? More on the semi-finals and final of the 1959 Amateur Cup competition in the next few weeks

Thanks to John Welch's daughter Tracey and Arnold Alton for their help this week.