Bloods beat Richmond in 1902 at the Upper Reserve

By Richard Jones

South Bendigo enjoys a rich and colourful footy history and in its early days played a number of matches against Melbourne-based teams.

One such game was against Richmond in mid-September 1902 when Tigers’ players and club officials came to Bendigo for the annual railways picnic.

Fans have to remember that in 1902 Richmond wasn’t a member club of the then VFL.

They were still in the VFA and didn’t gain admission to the top tier of footy until 1908.

And remembering that in 1902 the Bloods were only into their 10th season. They started playing in the then Bendigo Football Association in 1893.

The Bendigo Advertiser match report stated that South “included three new men –- Herb Hunter, who formerly played in the team –- along with Holman and McDonald.”

The animated Addy reporter took delight in passing on an excellent first quarter passage of play from South.

“Nickells, from about the half-back line, kicked across field to Buckley who quickly passed to Daykin.

“When the latter took the mark the Richmond followers tried to prevent another advantageous transference but Daykin, with fine judgment, sent the ball to Kirby.

“He passed forward quickly. Everyone was keenly excited at this stage and a great cheer rose from South barrackers as Wright got possession of the leather and, cleverly avoiding a tackle, sent it between the posts in fine style.”

[Don’t you love the over-the-top reporting of 120 years ago.]

The Tigers weren’t to be denied, however.

“When Richmond passed forward Karkett scored the visitors’ opening goal and before the first quarter ended McDonald posted Richmond’s second goal to give them the lead.”

The reporter wrote that the second term turned into a fairly even tussle with Johnstone, Canavan and Buckley often in the play for South.

“But when Karkett neatly passed to McDonald on Richmond’s forward line the visitors’ third goal was registered.”

“A smart transference from Wright to Kirby gave the latter an opening and the home team’s second goal resulted.

“Almost immediately afterwards Wright again raised the two flags for South leaving the home team narrowly in front.”

Half-time scores: South Bendigo 3 goals 6 behinds, Richmond 3 goals 2 behinds.

The third quarter put a very different spin on the scoreboard.

South Bendigo added just three behinds while Taylor, Ganet and James each kicked goals for Richmond.

This left the Bloods a fair distance behind but the final stages of the game were the most interesting.

“South battled hard throughout yet the visitors were still strong in defence.

“When Wright snapped a goal for South excitement among their supporters ran high and the red and white backers became more hopeful,” the report reads.

“In quick succession majors were added by Johnstone and McDonald (2) with the latter, the brother of ‘Buller’ McDonald, justifying his inclusion in the South side.

“In the final quarter South added four goals 2 behinds to their adversaries nil to gain an easy victory,” the report said.

Final scores: South Bendigo 7 goals 11 behinds def. Richmond 6 goals 2 behinds.

“Waters of Melbourne made a satisfactory umpire and in the evening the visitors and Waters were entertained at a dinner at the Black Swan Hotel,” the end paragraphs of the Advertiser match report stated.

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