First class and much amateur sport was a casualty of World War I. The 1914 cricket season was cancelled at the end of August and the County Championship did not resume until 1919. The 1914-15 football season did go ahead, Everton winning the title and Sheffield Utd the ‘Khaki’ FA Cup final in 1915, but no more first class football took place during the war. Rugby League was also suspended in 1915 and there was no Five Nations tournament, Wimbledon or boat race in that year and no Grand National after 1915. The Epsom Derby and Oaks however were staged throughout the war.
Sport however had a huge role to play in maintaining the morale and fitness of the troops, during training and behind the lines. Impromptu or more organised matches took place whenever opportunity knocked, most famously in No Man’s Land at Christmas 1914, when a handful of well-attested football matches took place between British and German troops.