Hurst returns to glory: big win in 1947 grand final

benflAFTER their BFNL record run of six straight premierships from 1929 to 1934, Sandhurst hadn’t exactly endured a drought of flags.


Then known as the Maroons they’d snared the 1937 and 1940 titles and played in two other premiership deciders before their run of three-in-a-row began seventy years ago.
They trounced 1945 premiers Golden Square in the ’47 Big Dance by close to nine goals, racking up 37 scoring shots to Square’s 19 in late September, 1947.
But after the third of their successes two seasons later in the 1949 grand final Sandhurst endured a real flag drought: it wasn’t until 1973 that the Maroons tasted success once more.
Yep, it was a barren 24-year period before Sandhurst won the BFL grand final in 1973, again over Golden Square.
And they’d managed just five more grand final appearances before saluting once more.
But back to the ’47 decider. Just a touch more than two years since World War 2 had ended the Maroons made it two from two on BFL grand final day as their Seconds had downed South Bendigo by 20 points in the curtain-raiser.
Golden Square started brightly in the opening term of the decider 70 years ago. They jumped out of the blocks and had a 15-point lead at the first change.

BUT the further the grand final went the more dominant the Maroons became.
They’d snatched a 16-point lead by the main break and then by three-quarter time the lead had been extended to 38 points.
“With a lead approaching 50 points and winning in practically every position on the field Sandhurst had the game won when the final term commenced,” the Addy match report read.
“Square, however, made a good start with Marks goaling a few seconds after the start.
“Then Ron McHardy missed the easiest of goals allowing Sandhurst players to continue on determinedly as if only a few points separated the teams.
“Sandhurst players clearly indicated they were not going to take any risks.”
Two singles preceded a shot by Scholes which struck the post while several of the Golden Square players were showing the effects of the hard play.
“Often in the race for the ball the Mustards were yards behind their Maroons’ opponents.
“Halfway through the quarter McHardy made amends for his earlier miss with a fine goal using a punt kick,” the report stated.
“Scholes took his tally to the half-dozen with a sound shot and while Square’s R. McHardy and Wilson were still playing at their top often their effectiveness was spoiled by the weaknesses of their colleagues.
“It was no surprise that when the final bell sounded Sandhurst had an advantage of a substantial 53 points.”
The Advertiser footy writer did praise the play of Teasdale in the Golden Square defence as he’d saved a certain two goals in the first half.
“Later, however, he received little co-operation from his Square co-defenders,” the report stated.

The three-deck Monday sports page headline, with capital letters for the start of each word, said it all: Sandhurst Wins Seniors And Seconds Premiership Pennants of League: Golden Square Fails After First Term.
Grand final scores
Sandhurst 2.5 8.10 13.14 18.19
Golden Square 5.2 6.6 8.6 11.8
Goals – Sandhurst: Scholes 6, Hussey 5, Stewart 4, Day 2, Hargreaves. Golden Square: Rohde 3, Liheudi 2, Rodda, Marks, Lapsley, R. McHardy, Wilane, Westaway.
Best – Sandhurst: Malone, Scholes, Stewart, Millard, Jenkins, Painter, White, Shearer. Golden Square: Wilson, R. McHardy, Teasdale, Hodge, Rohde and Rodda.
Gate takings: £633.
Scholes had booted seven goals in the Maroons’ second semi-final win over Kyneton. The Hurst accounted for the Tigers by 40 points to snatch the first place in the ’47 grand final.
Seconds grand final scores: Sandhurst 5.10 def. South Bendigo 3.2.
It was captain-coach Jack Watts first flag as a coach.
Immediately the senior grand final ended Sandhurst supporters ran onto the ground and hoisting players onto their shoulders carried them to the Maroons’ training rooms.
But they had to return to the oval. Mrs Davies, the widow of the late BFL president, presented the premiership medals to the players and congratulated each member of the Sandhurst team.
The president of the Bendigo sub-branch of the Returned Servicemen’s League Colonel G. Lansell, M.L.C. presented the organisation’s trophy for Best Player in 1947 to Brian Walsh of Rochester.
He’d gained the highest number of votes for best and fairest in the RSL competition.

FIELD umpire Leverett awarded 77 senior grand final free kicks: 45 to Square and 32 to the Hurst.
The marks also favoured the Square: 83 to 79.
So long before the Addy’s Luke West made match figures a regular must-read feature, there were statisticians in the Upper Reserve press box and around the boundaries during the Forties.
In the lead-up to the grand final, Golden Square had defeated Kyneton in the preliminary final: 7.15 to 7.9.
YCW eventually won the Bendigo Football Association flag with a thumping 67-point victory over Huntly after the northern club downed Kangaroo Flat in the final, known as the preliminary final these days.
YCW had defeated Huntly in the second semi on September 13th to earn a straight-through berth into the ’47 BFA grand final, leaving Huntly to battle it out with the Roos for the other Big Dance spot.
BFA 1947 grand final scores: YCW 18.14 def. Huntly 8.7.
On the same weekend Essendon had downed Fitzroy in the VFL preliminary final to earn a grand final berth against second semi-final winner Carlton.
At half-time the Red and Blacks had led 9.7 to 6.2 before the Gorillas hit the lead with three quick goals in the third term.
Essendon came back strongly in the final term to win.
Final scores, Essendon 16.13 def. Fitzroy 14.12.

TO round out the BFL’s 1947 season 22-year-old centre half-back Ray Shearer won the Hurst’s Sandy McPherson Trophy as the club’s best and fairest.
Shearer was the lynch pin of the Sandhurst defence with his sure marking and booming kicks from defence one of the keys to the Hurst’s late Forties successes.
And prior to the grand final getting under way the four players who had tied in the voting for the T.R. Davies Medal as the BFL’s best and fairest were presented with their awards.
They included Sandhurst skipper Bill White, Square’s Ron ‘Hank’ McHardy (inducted in 2014 to the BFNL Hall of Fame), Herb Zegelin of Rochester (a member of the inaugural Hall of Fame, 1986) and McHardy’s Square teammate Doug Wilson.
White, Wilson and McHardy had to jog off after the ceremony to take their places on the field.
Rochy’s Vin Kelly who snagged 49 majors, not a huge tally by the Thirties’ standards where Frank Crapper reigned supreme nor even by today’s, had taken out the 1947 goalkicking award.

Richard’s grand final tip: Eaglehawk by 11 points over Strathfieldsaye. Nalder Medal: Brenton Conforti (E’hawk).

By Richard Jones