A Crapp Excuse

In the first year of the VFL, the league had played a combined team from Ballarat, and were defeated by a stronger, team, albeit the VFL team was hastily put together. This match up was repeated in the following years, and so it came to the 1901 season. A combined VFL team traveled to Ballarat to take on the local combined side at Eastern Oval. The match was much looked forward to and talked about in the streets in the lead up to the game. The VFL team was said to be one of the strongest it had ever fielded. The umpire for the game was to be Henry “Ivo” Crapp.  However on the day of the match, he was unable to fulfill his duties, however there is some discrepancy as to why he was unable to umpire this match. The Ballarat Star claiming he had an attack of a sudden illness. The Herald of Melbourne elaborates on this in more detail, stating that Crapp was up in Ballarat ready to umpire and on the morning of the match he had gone for a run, but collapsed with a stabbing sensation in his side. He was taken to his hotel bed where former footballer, now doctor, Dr Cussen came and diagnosed a severe bout of pleurisy (Essentially an inflammation around the lungs). Former Essendon captain George Stuckey attended to him, before he was bought back to Melbourne on the Sunday, where he was said to be recovering quickly.

Markwell of the Australasian, claimed that Ivo Crapp had a previous business engagement that prevented him from leaving Melbourne.

 However there was one more suggestion as to his absence, this one coming from the Referee in Sydney. This article suggesting that prior to the game, Henry had been enjoying sometime in the botanical gardens, in his time there he entered a maze, where he became unable to find a way out. In his endeavor to extricate himself from the maze he strained his back, and therefore unable to officiate.

Whatever the reason, Henry Ivo Crapp was unable to umpire this game, a local man named Umpire Fenton filled in, as Victoria won the game by 15 points.