Grimsby, Lincolnshire born centre forward Wally Ponting began his football career with Humber United, from where he signed for hometown First Division club Grimsby Town in the summer of 1930, making his Football League debut in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Boxing Day that year, one of a pair of appearances he made in his debut season. His appearances were infrequent during six seasons at Blundell Park and he scored his first Grimsby Town goals in both of his matches in 1-0 away wins at Millwall and Hull City in their 1933-34 Second Division Championship campaign when The Mariners immediately bounced back from relegation to regain their top flight status.
Ponting didn’t get another first team opportunity until September 1935 and scored his only top flight career goal in a defeat at West Bromwich Albion the next month in a season when he made 5 of his 14 appearances for Grimsby. Reported at the time to have cost Second Division club Chesterfield their second highest fee when he was signed by The Spireites for a transfer fee of £1,015, plus an additional £200 payable if Chesterfield reached the Fourth Round of the 1936-37 FA Cup (they were drawn against Arsenal in the Third Round, and failed to progress further) in May 1936, he scored on his debut in a defeat at Southampton that August and starting with a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Fulham in January 1937 he notched 17 of his 26 goals for the season in 19 matches before the end of the season, and he finished as comfortably the club’s leading goalscorer. But for an unfortunate occurrence, he might well have had a 27th. The Times reported “a curious incident in the match between Chesterfield and Burnley, which Chesterfield won 4-1. Soon after the start Ponting, the home centre-forward, shot hard for goal and appeared to be a certain scorer when the ball became deflated and failed to reach the goal.”
Described as a “bustling centre-forward… a great attacker who uses brains as well as his feet. His manoeuvres on the field are high spots of many games… Goals are not easy to score, but as records prove Ponting gets them”, he was less prolific in his second season at Saltergate with 11 goals, and by the time he joined Lincoln City in November 1938 he had scored 38 goals in 88 appearances for Chesterfield. Ponting scored in each of his first five matches for The Imps including an FA Cup hat-trick in a win over non league Bromley, and his 19 goal return in Lincoln’s 1938-39 campaign again saw him as the club’s leading goalscorer, notching one more than Joe Clare. However the outbreak of the Second World War on 3rd September 1939 forced the abandonment of the new season and effectively ended Ponting’s career, not before Ponting had scored a hat-trick in Lincoln’s third and final match of the season in a 4-3 win over Gateshead at Sincil Bank, by when Ponting had scored 22 goals in 29 appearances for Lincoln City. During the 1939-40 season, he played both for Lincoln and as a guest for former club Grimsby Town in the wartime competitions before his eventual retirement.