Coulthard Shield Winners 1897


1897  Geelong 16.18.114

Round 7 – June 22nd , 3pm at the Junction Oval

St Kilda   1.3   3.3   3.4   4.7. 31

Geelong 4.5 8.8. 12.14. 16.18.114

Tue 22-Jun-1897 3:00 PM Venue: Junction Oval

Geelong won by 83 pts 

 Six rounds into the newly formed league, all 8 teams were still adjusting to the new scoring system, allowing for a goal to be worth six points and points also now included. The average score in the first 6 rounds was just 38 points, with the previous round, round 6, producing a total of 199 points from all 8 teams; Carlton’s score of 5.5.35 being the highest score of the round. In fact the first six weeks of the league teams were only scoring an average of 5 goals a game. StKilda, sitting winless in the bottom of the ladder were averaging just 2.5 goals a game, with their round 3 loss to South Melbourne seeing them score only 2 behinds. A score of over 100 points was kicked by Melbourne in round 5 against Carlton, the only time in so far a team in the new look league had reached such a score.

So it was that Geelong travelled to Stkilda’s Junction Oval, a ground on which they had not had much luck in the VFA days past.  Their opponents for the day were the winless St Kilda, who had come the closest so far to a win 4 days earlier; losing to Carlton by only 11 points. Geelong on the other hand had a slow start to the season, the team losing their first 3 games, taking some time to gel, before winning their next 3, entering the top four for the first time the previous round. At 3 wins and 3 losses, this game was a bit of a crossroads, with the team looking now to consolidate their spot in the top four.

This game was played on a Tuesday, owing to Queen Victoria celebrating her diamond jubilee[1]. The whole city of Melbourne was celebrating the 60 year reign of the queen, and it is said that trains to the city were crowded with people from every corner of the colony[2].  Four days earlier, a steady downpour of rain had fallen as Geelong dispatched of Fitzroy by 16 points at Corio Oval, kicking 3.13 for the game[3], however contrary to outlooks, the weather for the jubilee was described as glorious[4]. Geelong travelled up to Melbourne with a strong playing group of 20. Along with them was a group of friends and family, who would enjoy the game and go on to enjoy the celebrations being held in the city that night[5].

Henry ‘Ivo’ Crapp was in charge of the game, his 6th for the year, and his second time umpiring each of the teams. As an umpire he was said to have adapted quickly to the new rules, and many were praising the way he interpreted them[6]. However one comment on his job for the day, was ‘the open way in which some players transgressed the rules, by indulging in throwing the ball. With Umpire Crapp winking at the violation in a very relaxed manner’[7].

The Pivotonians began the game with brilliant dash, not being hampered by the mud, like they had in their previous match. They were able to get on the scoreboard early, with a goal to Jack Quinn (kicking his 4th goal for the year). The play was hard and tough, with Geelong’s Eddy James getting his first for the day, before the play shifted to the StKilda end and after 15 minutes of struggle, Mick Blake got one back for the home side. But the celebration was short lived, Geelong were able to respond to this with a quick point, before Eddie James and Jim Flynn kicked goals, and after a few more minor scores, the siren went, with the Pivots holding a 22 point lead.

As the second quarter began, the play picked up in pace, with the ball hovering in the StKilda forward line, before Jack Conway was able to out mark Algy Hay and sent the ball forward to Eddy James, the Geelong star goal kicker, who entered the round having kicked 10 goals for the season already, and with one earlier, he was able to score his 12th for the season. Almost immediately StKilda won the ball out of the middle, sending it down to Mick Blake, who fumbled it before snapping it through for a lucky goal and his second for the half.  Geelong then picked up their play, Charlie Coles kicking the sides 6th and soon, after some clever play from Tracker Young, Eddy James took another great mark, as he had been doing so all day. His shot unfortunately missed its mark. To rectify the situation, Joe McShane kicked the next 2 goals, the visitor’s crowd cheering loud for the away team. StKilda were able to add a goal and a few points at the end of the quarter to go in at the half, trailing Geelong by 32 points.

A sluggish start to the second half saw Bert Barling join the scorers list in an uneventful start to the second half. Eddy James got involved in the play and helped with a score assist to Jim Flynn in kicking another. The ball bounced around from end to end, before Baring kicked his 2nd for the quarter, the Geelong fans raised their voice in appreciation. James kicked another from a quick snap from a scrimmage. StKilda were barely able to get the ball passed their center line and could only manage 1 point for the quarter, with Geelong adding one more to Jim Flynn before the quarter was out. They had 10 scoring shots to 1 in the quarter with their score hovering just below 100 at the end of the 3rd.

With one quarter left, Geelong continued were they left off, Charlie Coles taking a mark from the center clearance and kicking truly, (the team now on 98) then Jack Quinn got the Pivots over 100 with another quick goal (104). Finally Ted Hall was able to kick another for the home side. With the game winding down and darkness creeping across the ground, Flynn was able to add one more, giving him 4 for the day, and giving Geelong a final score of 16.18.114, 7 points better than Melbourne’s high score from a week and a half earlier[8]. This was the first time Geelong had won at Stkilda for a number of years and there was much celebrating over the victory. One prominent supporter was heard saying how delighted he was, but also “I can’t forget all the games we have lost on this ground[9]”. ‘Follower’ was accurate in his description of the game, saying Geelong “Came, saw, and conquered[10]”.

Best – Young, James, McShane, Conway, McCallum, Coles, Barling[11]

Goal kickers – J.Flynn 4, E.James 3, J.Quinn 3, B.Barling 2, C.Coles 2, J.McShane 2[12]