In late May 2010 Kyneton paid tribute to its 1960 premiership-winning team before the round 8 match against Eaglehawk.
A half-century had passed since the Tigers’ side, captain-coached by BFL Hall Of Famer Clive Philp, downed Rochester in an absolute 1960 grand final thriller.
Just three points separated the clubs at the final siren with Rochy deep in attack for the concluding minute-and-a-half but unable to score the flag-winning goal they needed.
In the end Tigers’ rover Terry Bowe finally broke away inside the Demons’ forward 50 and cleared the ball out of the danger zone.
Advertiser writers Alan Martin and Jim Elvey said in the Monday edition the 1960 grand final was “the most thrilling grand final of all time.”
Guest writer Martin, who’d played in Footscray’s 1954 VFL premiership-winning team, asked whether anyone among the thousands at the game failed to get their money’s worth.
“What a day. What a crowd. What a final. All combined to produce a magnificent climax to the BFL’s 1960 season,” he wrote.
Former South Bendigo star Elvey opined he’d never seen a more even grand final.
“Both sides were locked together for four quarters and there was never more than a kick between them at the conclusion of each quarter.
“Kyneton had 18 good players in its side with everyone pulling his weight.”
What Elvey didn’t say in his write-up was that it was Rochy which led at every quarter break --- but not the one that counted.
The final siren.
But Elvey did coin the nickname of ‘Philp the Philosopher’ after the Tigers’ coach had predicted a year earlier (in September 1959) that his side would “again make the grand final” 12 months down the track.
The 1960 premiership was the Tigers’ first BFL flag since 1936 when they’d beaten Sandhurst by 13 points.
In the days when VFL umpires officiated in Victorian country and regional fixtures the umpire for the big day on the BFL calendar was Jack Irving.
A week earlier he’d been in charge of the VFL grand final between Collingwood and Melbourne. A crowd of 97,457 was at the G that day.
But there was also a huge crowd for the BFL’s 1960 big dance.
Just on 16,000 people shoe-horned their way into the QEO for the neck-and-neck struggle which unfolded before them.
Rochester led by four points at quarter-time, by five points at the long break and then by seven at three-quarter time.
The Demons extended their lead to nine points early in the final stanza following off-line shots by Alan Keeble and coach Noel McMahen.
The Tigers had the answers, though. Elusive Kyneton ruck-rover Bill Edwards brought his side back into contention when he landed a major with a punt kick.
And from then on the Tigers pounced.
Kyneton’s winger Graeme Dawson dashed across half-back and delivered a pinpoint stab pass to Philp.
Philp marked and although a long way from goal went back and made no mistake with a booming kick.
That goal handed the Tigers a three-point lead and they were never headed again.
Not long afterwards came what many observers believed was the defining point of the grand final.
Star Rochy full-forward Barry McIntyre clutched what many observers --- spectators and journalists alike --- believed to be a spectacular diving mark.
He was right in front of the pressbox at the city end.
However umpire Irving called ‘play on’ and McIntyre’s direct opponent Reg Ogden swooped onto the loose ball and sent the Tigers into attack once more.
Again Philp marked a pass and again a long way out from the Barnard Street end goalmouth sent an unwavering shot through the big sticks.
It was Philp’s fourth goal of the grand final, a match high tally.
Irving’s decision not to award McIntyre his mark seemed to sap the confidence of the Rochester side allowing the Tigers to lift.
But the Demons weren’t done with completely. A goal to Rochy’s Daryl Hooper who had been moved from the back pocket into the midfield and later awarded best-on-ground, followed by a missed chance from Frank Maxwell brought the margin back to two points.
It was what we’d call into ‘time-on’ nowadays with the Demons pressing hard as the timekeepers’ fingers hovered around the quarter-ending bell.
In the final minute-and-a-bit Rochy found a new lease of life.
They had the ball deep inside their forward 50 with the Tigers forced to defend grimly.
Kyneton forced three ball-ups (‘stoppages’ in today’s terms) before Bowe forced the ball away from the danger area.
The Tigers ran the ball down the ground from Bowe’s clearing kick and had the chance to put the game beyond doubt.
But Doug Boyer’s shot missed although his behind proved to be the last score of the ’60 grand final.
It moved Kyneton’s margin to three points and only seconds later the final bell sounded.
Kyneton 2.4 5.4 6.6 9.8 (62)
Rochester 3.2 6.3 7.7 8.11 (59)
Goals – Kyneton: C. Philp 4, G. Brown 2, B. Edwards 2, J. Lehman. Rochester: B. McIntyre 2, S. Broom 2, N. McMahen 2, D. Hooper, F. Maxwell.
Best – Kyneton: M. King, G. Brown, C. Philp, W. Edwards, B. Suter, F. Kelly, T. Bowe. Rochester: D. Hooper (best afield), D. Creed, S. Broom, N. McMahen, K. Ingram, B. McIntyre, F. Rodda.
The premiership side
B: Bob Suter, Vic Murray, Mick King.
Hb: Keith Rodda, Noel Maloney, Reg Ogden.
C: Graeme Dawson, Brian Bowe, Gerard Brown.
Hf: Jim Lehman, Kevin Parks, Frank Kelly.
F: Bill Edwards, Clive Philp (c-c), Richard Buckley.
Foll: Kevin Chard, Doug Boyer, Terry Bowe.
19th man: John Tunzi. 20th man: Bruce Minns.
A year after their 1960 classic the two clubs again faced off in the 1961 grand final.
The Tigers would again prove too good, this time by a more resounding margin as they accounted for the Demons 12.13 (85) to 9.6 (60).
Rochester had the last laugh, however, with a big win in the BFL’s 1963 decider: 16.22 (118) to Kyneton’s 10.14 (74).
Rochester ended up playing in eight consecutive BFL grand finals --- 1958-65, inclusive --- for four premierships.
Such a feat has only been lately threatened by the Golden Square sides of 2008-2013. Six consecutive grand finals for five flags.
South Bendigo played in five Fifties grand finals for five flags in seven years, but the Bloods missed out on the big dances in 1952 and 1953. The five victories weren’t in consecutive grand finals.
But all these pale into insignificance compared with Sandhurst’s 1930s run.
The Maroons played in nine grand finals in succession winning six-in-a-row from 1929-34 (the BFL record) and finishing runners-up to Eaglehawk in 1935 and Kyneton in 1936. They bounced back to take home the 1937 pennant, more than doubling South’s score in that season’s grand final.
Rochester left the BFL for the Goulburn Valley F.L. in the early Seventies following a bitter split which required the then Demons to go into recess and sit out the 1972 season after refusing to play on in the BFL.
Upon joining the GVFL Rochy changed its colours from a similar design to Melbourne’s to the Richmond strip: yellow and black. And became the GVFL’s Tigers.
By Richard Jones