The Archive | Six clubs was the total number contesting the 1929 BFL season with Sandhurst’s Frank Ford winning the goal kicking tally that season.
Indeed, Castlemaine and Echuca had only been member clubs for a handful of seasons after the turmoil of World War One, but footy was starting to thrive again in central Victoria.
Frank Ford won the Jack Trevean Cup as the BFL’s leading goalkicker with 62 majors in 1929.
Cyril Michelsen, editor of the weekly BFL Football Guide, wrote that the competition for the annual trophy “had not been as keen as in other seasons owing to clubs finding difficulty in settling on permanent forwards.”
It was Ford’s great effort in landing nine goals against Rochester in the final home-and-away round of the ’29 season which clinched him the Cup, Michelsen said.
“Nine of the best made things safe,” he proclaimed.
“Crapper of Castlemaine and Cook of South tied for second with 58 goals with Ford’s winning total one of the smallest in the BFL for some years.”
Michelsen conceded the Hurst’s Ford had been used in many other positions besides full-forward. “He is a footballer of great capabilities so Sandhurst has used him in a number of positions this season,” the Football Guide’s editor wrote.
THE Football Guide for the first semi-final featured a number of player profiles, complete with headshots, of the BFL’s top players.
Echuca centreman George Ogilvie was the BFL’s biggest centreman. “Standing more than six feet (185 cm) Ogilvie is not only the biggest centreman in the game here but also one of the biggest men playing the game in Bendigo football.
“George is not as pacy as some of his opponents but he possesses the marking ability and the cleverness when he gets the ball,” the Guide profile stated.
Ogilvie returned from VFA club Yarraville where he’d been the 1928 coach to play for his old club and was noted for his powerful kicking which often meant he landed a goal or two for Echuca.
Wingman Dave Todd won Castlemaine’s best and fairest award for 1929.
“Even though he played for only half the season Todd made himself so conspicuous by his dashing and fair play that he won the Castlemaine medal,” the Guide mentioned.
Todd won the vote of central umpires in three games giving him the nod over Jack Niven and Tommy Lynch who got two votes each for Castlemaine.
“It was a popular win as ‘Toddy’ is admired by supporters of every club in the league for his great sportsmanship,” the footy Guide article stated.
And Bill Lever of Rochy was starring with VFL club Carlton.
“What a find he’s turned out to be. Danny Minogue must have put the finishing touches on this high flier for again last week in the first semi-final against St. Kilda Bill was mentioned as one of the leading lights in the Dark Blues’ ruck,” Michelsen penned.
SOUTH Bendigo and Sandhurst star Percy Forbes was to be honoured with a testimonial at the completion of the 1929 finals.
Forbes, 37, had played 20 years of senior football (about 350 games) beginning with South Bendigo in 1910 after his junior career with Young Colonials had attracted the attention of scouts.
“South guaranteed me just six games but I managed to play the lot,” he recalled.
In fact so handy was the South side of the time that the young Forbes played in three flags: 1910-1911-1912. Bendigo with crack full-forward Dave Mahoney up front won the 1913 Bendigo premiership but Forbes was with Ballarat league club Golden Point by then.
Percy was a follower and a half-back.
“In those pre-war days the league games were played on a Wednesday. Percy was accustomed to arriving right from the mine shaft to the playing ground in a specially hired cab,” the testimonial observed.
Star BFL players used to get changed in the horse-drawn cabs sent to pick them up from the mines. Particularly in pre-WW1 times. The rest used to just walk.
THE ladder at the end of the 1929 home-and-away season shows a year in which 20 matches were played.
In a six-club competition everyone played the other 5 four times. So the finals didn’t start until mid-September with the grand final always in October.
But there was a possible hitch in programming. The Guide stated that “owing to an arrangement with the Railways Picnic Committee the league is bound to provide a finals match on Railway Picnic Day: October 5.
“In the event of a Sandhurst victory next Saturday (in the second semi-final) our matches would have to be suspended for a week to provide the finals match as the main picnic attraction.
“In the event of a Sandhurst defeat the programme would continue without interruption with the Maroons taking part in the grand final on Railway Picnic Day.”
The Guide emphasised the picnic committee was clearly “a team of optimists” as they’d advertised the BFL grand final for Saturday, October 5th.
End of season positions: Sandhurst 14 wins, 6 losses, 56 prem. points; South Bendigo 11, 8, 1 draw, 46 points, 101.64 %; Echuca 11, 8, 1 draw, 46 points, 89.97%; Eaglehawk 11-9, 44 (fourth spot).
Outside the Top Four: Castlemaine 10 wins, 10 losses, 40 premiership points; Rochester 2 wins 18 losses, 8 prem. pts.
SO what had happened as the BFL’s first and second semi-finals loomed all those seasons back: 89 years ago, in fact.
A few weeks before the ’29 finals, one of the matches played in early August was notable for a crowd attack on the central umpire in Echuca.
The Murray Bombers and South Bendigo had drawn at Victoria Park but the home side supporters were convinced central umpire Lucas had not treated their players impartially.
A South player had stood the mark when Echuca’s Ogilvie was having his first attempt at a late free kick. Umpire Lucas ruled Ogilvie had run over his mark.
His second attempt, from a place kick, fell short of the goals whereas Ogilvie’s first attempt had landed close to goal and had given his teammates a real scoring chance.
Final scores: Echuca 11.7 drew with South Bendigo 10.13.
According to the Addy writer at the game it was clear there was going to be trouble after the final bell had sounded.
“Lucas was subjected to much comment throughout the match, much of which was uncalled for.
“A few minutes before the match ended it was clear there was trouble brewing. Several of the crowd took up positions near the entrance to the grandstand enclosure.
“As umpire Lucas, with an escort of South players and his brother officials, made his way through the crowd he was attacked and many blows were landed.”
Eventually Lucas was carried off by fellow umpires and some South players to the umpires’ room.
At the Upper Reserve Castlemain’s W. Pardon was reported for allegedly striking Sandhurst’s C. Bogie. Central umpire Comber lodged the report.
Pardon was due to appear before the BFL Independent Tribunal the following Friday night.
League officials were pleased with two of the three gate receipts although the Rochester tally of £23 for the match featuring Eaglehawk was disappointing.
Other gate receipts were good however with £66 collected at Echuca and £175 the top weekend tally at the Upper Reserve.
Around the grounds in early August and in the Maryborough league with only six competing clubs (the same as the BFL) the scores were: Carisbrook 12.13 d Dunolly 5.10, Bristol Hill 8.15 d Clunes 6.6 and Bealiba 13.10 d Railways 4.11.
In the Kara Kara league St Arnaud 7.10 d Kooreh 6.11 while Swanwater d Stuart Mill (no scores were available).
By Richard Jones