The long road to recovery for sport after WWII

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 11:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 11:41 am

Getting back to sporting normality

What a year

What a year it was - 1945 when May 8 Victory in Europe Day was declared and the Second World War ended for many.

There were spontaneous street parties everywhere and everyone, understandably, was rejoicing at the momentous news.

Strange sporting times

But the year was not a great one for sport as many events were declared null and void and simply didn’t take place.

Of course everyone, including sporting authorities, attempted to get back to some kind of normality and pick up where they had left off when hostilities began In 1939 there were other priorities and the road back was long and hard.

Football comeback

1946: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth presenting the FA Cup Final trophy to Derby County FC at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by Stroud/Express/Getty Images)

With the end of the Second World War, the FA Cup was reinstated for 1945-46 season, played on a two–legged basis.

FA Cup qualifying began on September 1 1945 with an extra preliminary round.The 1945–46 FA Cup was the 65th season of the world’s oldest football cup competition.

The Football Association Challenge Cup, to give it its Sunday name, was first to be held after World War Two.

Winners pick up the trophy

Derby County were winners, beating Charlton Athletic 4–1 after extra time in the final at Wembley.But the tournament witnessed a disaster in the sixth round when, during second leg of Bolton v Stoke City tie, 33 people were crushed to death in Burnden Park disaster.

Clubs were not yet prepared for a full league programme so the Football League did not resume while regional leagues remained for another year.

Cricket hit

In England, with the end of the Second World War in Europe, a small number of first class cricket matches were played for the first time since 1939 but it was not practicable to resume the County Championship or the Minor Counties Championship.

All sport suffered

In other sports, many huge events did not take place including annual events such as The Tour de France (resumed in 1947), the Five Nations Rugby Union Championship (resumed in 1947), popular summer tennis staple Wimbledon (resumed in 1946), Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (resumed in March 1946) and The Grand National (resumed in 1946).

Horse racing ahead at a gallop

However, there was some horse racing as Red Rower triumphed in Cheltenham Gold Cup - his third attempt at the race, rising from third to second, finally first place.Also 1945 horse racing saw English Triple Crown contested.

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, often shortened to Triple Crown, comprises three races for three-year-old thoroughbred horses.

Winning all three of these events is considered the greatest accomplishment in thoroughbred racing.In this series 2,000 Guineas Stakes was won by Court Martial - a thoroughbred racehorse bred and raced by Lord Astor.

The Derby was won by Dante - a British thoroughbred racehorse, last horse trained in northern England to win the English Derby.

The St Leger Stakes was won by Chamossaire - British thoroughbred racehorse and sire best known for winning classic St Leger Stakes, also siring Derby winner Santa Claus.In golf 1945 PGA Championship was the 27th, held July 9–15 at Moraine Country Club in Kettering, Ohio, a suburb south of Dayton.

Other notable achievements

Then a match-play championship, Byron Nelson won 4 and 3 in the final over Sam Byrd, a former major league baseball player.

In rugby league, fifth European Championship was won by England on points average, their second championship title.

All in all it was a strange year for sport!