Boston United 2-2 Laval

Friendly

16th October 1958


Back in 1958 Boston became one of the first towns in England to be twinned with a French counterpart when they began their association with Laval. The twinning agreement was signed in June 1958 by the then Mayor of Boston, Councillor Cyril Valentine and the Mayor of Laval, Monsieur Le Basser. The aims of the twinning were: to maintain and develop the friendship, associations and alliances between the two towns; work together for the progress and development and well being of the citizens; strengthen exchanges in all possible areas; and to encourage public assistance in respect of the continued development of the twinning. Laval is the capital of the 'departement' of the Mayenne, situated between Anjou, Brittany and Normandy, and has the river Mayenne running through it. One of the first fruits of the twinning agreement was a visit to Boston by fifty-five schoolchildren from Laval. They arrived in Boston on Sunday 31st August 1958 and returned to Laval almost three weeks later on Friday 19th September. The visit was hailed as a great success, the only blot on the proceedings being a curfew imposed on the visitors after some late night antics at a local dance! The Council also splashed out 16 on a new Civic Flag to greet the French delegation. It heralded the start of exchange visits between the two towns that have continued to this day.

A football match between the two towns was soon arranged. A side made up of players from four amateur teams in Laval was scheduled to visit Boston in October 1958 to play against United. History was due to be made when the French team arranged to fly into RAF Waddington - home of the "V" bombers. It would be the first time a foreign power had landed at a Royal Air Force base. In the event however, strong cross winds at Waddington aerodrome prevented the chartered Dakota from landing there and the flight was diverted to the USAF base at Marham in Norfolk.
Before the match the French and British National Anthems were played and the teams were presented to the Mayor (Councillor Valentine). Boston fielded a side with a number of players from their reserves. They also had a couple of guest players - Martyn King from Colchester United and Ron Barnes from Blackpool. Both players were doing their National Service nearby at RAF Cranwell. There were no goals in the first half. King put the ball in the net after receiving a pass from Barnes, but play was called back as Barnes had run the ball out of play before passing. For the second half Boston's player-manager Ray King took over in goal from Michael Lingard. Boston took the lead in the 55th minute when Martyn KING headed home a cross from Clarke. Laval equalised in the 77th minute when GAUMER put the ball in the net. Five minutes later Laval went in front after LEGUY finished well after running on to a long ball down the middle. Boston equalised five minutes from time when Frank Sims and Martyn King combined to set up BARNES.

Frank Sims

The principal football team in Laval is Stade Lavallois. They currently play in the French Second Division. Founded in 1902, they play in a tango-coloured strip. Their most successful period was between 1976 and 1989 when the club played in the First Division. A highlight of this time was the club's qualification for the UEFA Cup in 1983 after finishing in 5th place in 1982/3. They did well, knocking out Soviet side Dynamo Kiev, before narrowly succumbing to Austria Vienna.

The twinning arrangement is still going strong, as can be seen by the successful civic visit by a delegation from Boston Borough Council to Laval in May 2003 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the agreement. Another football match between the towns' two sides is however long overdue!

United team: 1. Michael Lingard, 2. Adams, 3. George Stafford, 4. Bill Cleary, 5. Frank Sims, 6.Clarke, 7. Alf Graver, 8. Bolland, 9. Martyn King, 10. Phil Cresswell, 11. Ron Barnes.

Laval team: 1. Pillon, 2. Calvey, 3. Postec, 4. Douget, 5. Miko, 6. Chassard, 7. Garry, 8. Gaumer, 9. Leguy, 10. Boisseau, 11. Mauduit.


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