Saturday, September 7, 2013

7 September 1947 - Ponta Delgada Does The Double

On 7 September 1947, Ponta Delgada (pictured) beat Chicago Sparta to claim the first National Challenge Cup/National Amateur Cup Double.

Based in Fall River, Massachusetts, they nearly won the Double the previous year, reaching the finals of both tournaments. But while they won the Amateur Cup over Pittsburgh Castle Shannon, they lost the Challenge Cup (the predecessor to the current U.S. Open Cup) to Chicago Viking.

In May 1947, they repeated as Amateur Cup champions by crushing St. Louis Carondelets 10-1, then started their assault on the Challenge Cup. In the quarterfinals, they beat Philadelphia Americans 5-3 (aet), then rolled over Brooklyn Hispano in the semis, 11-1 on aggregate to set up their meeting with Chicago in the final, played over two legs.

They hosted the first leg on August 31 and won 6-1, making the second leg almost a formality. And while the score in Chicago was closer, Ponta Delgada won again, 3-2, making them the first team in American history to win both competitions in one year.

In recognition of their success, the entire Ponta Delgada squad made up the United States team at the 1947 North American Football Confederation Championship. Unfortunately, they lost to both Mexico and Cuba to finish third out of the three teams.

They went on to win the Amateur Cup again in 1948 and nearly did the Double again in 1950 when they finished as Amateur Cup champions and Challenge Cup runners-up.

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