Earlestown, Lancashire born goalkeeper Lewis Caunce began his football career with Earlestown White Star in 1930 and after an unsuccessful trial at Burnley he joined Huddersfield Town in August 1931, spending 1931-32 on the books at Leeds Road without making The Terriers’ first eleven. He moved to Third Division (North) club Rochdale in July 1932 and made his Football League debut the next month in their opening 1932-33 fixture against Carlisle United, and made 19 appearances during the first half of the campaign before losing his place to Bert Welch before Christmas. He left to join Wigan Athletic in the summer of 1933, spending two seasons with the Cheshire League club before returning to the Football League with Oldham Athletic in 1935.
At Boundary Park Caunce was initially understudy to Harry Church but broke into the first team on a regular basis from December 1935 to become Oldham’s undisputed number one glovesman. On Boxing Day 1935, Caunce played in goal for Oldham in their 13-4 defeat against Tranmere Rovers, a Football League record for most goals scored in a game. Caunce notably saved a penalty during the game to prevent Tranmere centre forward Bunny Bell from scoring 10 goals, and Caunce’s team mate Tommy Williamson remarked years later that despite the scoreline, the keeper had “played a blinder”.
Caunce was an ever present in The Latics’ 1937-38 campaign, when they finished fourth in the League for the second successive season, missing only one match in 1938-39, which proved to be the final peacetime season before the outbreak of the Second World War forced the abandonment of peacetime football. By that time Caunce had made 150 appearances for Oldham Athletic but his football career was ended prematurely by the War, and he didn’t re-appear thereafter.