St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

100 Seasons Ago St George's Park - 100 Seasons Ago
The week ending July 25, 1903

Added 25 / 7 / 2003

Most people left the field on Saturday disappointed, not at the result, but at the character of play seen, for at no time did it rise above poor quality, and several local club fixtures have provided better expositions of the Rugby Code.

Probably a reason for this was the scraggy play of the local club, who never seemed to link together from start to finish, each player being on his own, the upshot being a total lack of combination.

The men are not wholly to blame for this, as they have had no practice together, and however good individual players may be, they are not seen at their best when brought together in a scratch combination.

Then, on the other hand, the visitors did not appear well-trained, no doubt owing to the sea voyage and the round of festivities they have enjoyed since landing at Cape Town.

To these causes is no doubt due the lack of dash which characterised their play, this being particularly noticeable in their half-backs and in at least three of their quartette.

The exception was Skrimshire, who forced the game, but was insufficiently backed up.

Before entering on the match, it was generally thought the home pack would be able to hold their own in scrummaging work, and without doubt they were more powerful in pushing than their opponents, but they appeared unable to combine together, with the result that the visiting eight frequently broke through them, and more often than not with the ball at their feet.

At heeling the locals were slow, in marked contrast to the Englishmen, whose halves seldom had to wait for the ball, which was out and travelling along the extended quartette in quick time.

In the loose, the home pack were good at rushes, but could not use their feet half so effectively as did their opponents.

For the visitors, their skipper, Tedford, Stout and Wallace appeared to good advantage, while of the home clubs Botha, Rice, White and Basson were the best.

The one defect in connection with the arrangements of last Saturdays football match was the neglect to provide a clear passage through the gate facing the tennis courts.

This proved a dangerous exit, and although no serious accident occurred several persons were slightly bruised.

The forms in front of the gate should be cut away, as when thousands of persons are trying to get through at the same moment it is very difficult for ladies to jump over such obstructions, and there is also the additional risk of persons being jammed against the seats.

No doubt this defect will be remedied today.

The attendance at the football match on Saturday constituted a local record.

Four thousand six hundred persons paid for admission to the field on Saturday, which is a long was a record.

How many, people are asking, gained entrance without paying?

We understand that the members of the visiting team are in raptures with the Port Elizabeth cricket ground, and one remarked that he would like to play all the matches here.

English vs Eastern Province.

Again a large crowd of spectators assembled on the Crusaders ground on Monday afternoon, there being only slightly fewer than on Saturday, the attraction being an encounter between the English team and a Combined Eastern Province XV.

The afternoon was delightfully fine, and the match played under the best of conditions.

The work of the Selection Committee had been much canvassed, several most useful players being dropped to enable the inclusion of others, but judging the two days games the latter was by far the most interesting, play being stubbornly contested throughout the whole of the first half.

The misfortune to Hunt, of course, upset all calculations, and robbed the encounter of some interest - he being forced to withdraw when most wanted.

There were alterations in the visiting team, Davidson giving place to Walker in the three-quarter line, Hancock supplanting Greig at half, while from the pack Morrison, (the captain) was absent. These latter changes did not appear on the card.

Punctually at four oclock the men filed on to the field, the teams being composed as follows: English: Harrison, back; R M Neale, Walker, Skrimshire, and Collett, three-quarters; Hancock and Gillespie, halves; Joe Wallace, Sivright, Scott, Stout, Jas Wallace, Gibson, Cave and Smyth, forwards.

Eastern Province: Lumsden, back, E Hunt, Heddun, McPhail, and Baxter, three-quarters; T Crage and Jones, halves; Bremner, Suttie, Walters, Botha, Davidson, White, Rice and Pringle, forwards.

Mr R H Kemsley refereed, while the touch judges were Messrs Channer (Eastern Province) and Morrison (England).

The customary applause burst out as the teams took the field, and it was at once seen that the Englishmen had not been successful on the spin of the coin, and, therefore, with the sun in their eyes, they started operations.

The home 25 was soon invaded, and within two minutes of the ball being set rolling the visitors were awarded a penalty kick, but although the shot was comparatively easy Skrimshire was unable to send the leather between the uprights.

Directly afterwards the Province men had to touch down to save.

The drop-out kick was well returned and from a scrummage on the home 25 line Gillespie set his three-quarters in motion, but an awkward transfer to Skrimshire was not accepted.

Next Hunt made a mark, and Suttie smartly following up was able to prevent Collett getting in a return. The advantage was lost when Lumsden, from a mark kick by Hancock, sent in a feeble reply, finding touch close at hand.

Jones secured from a scrum, but was held by Neale, who was secured and punted to Lumsden. The home back sent down the field to Harrison, who fumbled, and was charged into by Rice, the visiting custodian being laid out winded for a second or two.

After some loose exchange kicks, Stout sent out on the home 25, and Gillespie handed back to Neale, who transferred to Walker, and Skrimshire had just received possession when he was pushed over.

Baxter next did good work in upsetting a forward movement, and from this the visitors were hustled, Hancock saving finely by throwing himself at the feet of the forwards and securing the leather.

Again Gillespie opened the play, but Skrimshire, seeing an opportunity of getting through, punted to Lumsden, and on the ball travelling over the white line the home custodian saved.

Skrimshire gained a round of applause when, on the drop out, he slipped in trying to gather, and although the opposing forwards were on top of him he recovered himself, picked up the oval, and found touch at half-way, but the homesters could not beat off the attack.

The visitors got dangerously near the home line, the ball was passed by Hancock to Wallace, but before he could transfer Suttie had upset the movement by grassing his opponent, and a little later Heddon prevented Walker getting in a kick, and this led to the ball being forced over the half-way line.

Here Harrison received, but was not successful in shooting for goal, the oval passing a little outside. It was at this stage that Hunt was found to be insecure on his pins, and he was removed to touch, only to return a cripple a few moments later.

By the advantage of a mark, the Province men reached the visiting 25, and here the Englishmen were penalised. Heddon took a place kick for goal, but the ball glided the wrong side of the posts.

Half time shortly afterwards arrived with nothing scored.

Unfortunately Hunt was unable to reappear on changing ends, thus leaving the weaker side a man short. White was placed as his substitute in the quartette.

Early on Joe Wallace burst away to Lumsden, who pulled him down when he seemed certain to score. The attack was repulsed to Harrison, who fumbled and the leather went into touch.

A pretty bout of passing by the visitors ended when Collett was forced into touch, and a long kick by Suttie sent the oval to Harrison, who by one of his superb long punts returned out of play.

Subsequently Rices prompt following up frustrated Harrison returning, but the visiting pack, breaking away with the leather at their feet, reached half-way, thus ending a harassing few moments for the Englishmen.

From a kick by McPhail, Neale was placed in a tight corner, but he cleverly saved the situation by sending into touch. Skrimshire put up a lofty kick, and White receiving. Rice essayed a placer for goal, but did not get any luck.

A forward passing movement saw Collett break through to Lumsden, and being confronted, the winger punted over the backs head, but he lost the ball when Walters arrived and sent out of play.

Shortly afterwards the visitors were penalised for passing when on the ground, but Skrimshire nicely returned the kick to touch in the home 25.

The English forwards then broke away, and three then getting clear with the ball easily beat Lumsden, and Sivewright with the opening try of the match, Gillespie failing to notch the additional couple of points.

Collett next was awarded a free, and Crage receiving roused the enthusiasm of the crowd by a clever dodging run, evading several opponents who tried to upset him, and wound up by a useful kick.

A moment later, and Well done, Tommy, was shouted for a fine save, when the visiting eight were dribbling down.

Following this Hancock whipped out, and the ball travelled nicely along the line, but Collett failed to accept a transfer from Skrimshire, and what looked like a scoring opening was lost, the ball going out near the 25 flag.

There was a long lineout, and Gillespie threw in far out, where Stout unmarked, secured and dashed over with the second try.

This time Skrimshire made no mistake in converting. A three-quarter movement saw Lumsden passed, but Heddon got up and saved, the following upon this Lumsden did good work when he upset Scott.

While scrumming almost on their line the Provincials were penalised for off side play, but the referee disallowed the kick and ordered a scrum to the astonishment of the visitors.

Walker and Neale next broke away with the leather, and looked like scoring in the right hand corner. However, Lumsden was once more at home and frustrated the movement.

The home team were unable to force the visitors out of their 25 for long, and someone kicking away to Skrimshire that player tried to drop a goal, the ball failed to rise, struck a Province man, bounded back to Collett, who ran round, steadied himself, and registered as neat a drop goal as could be wished for.

Shortly afterwards the end came, when the scores were:

Englishmen: 1 converted try, 1 try, 1 drop goal. Total: 12 points.

Eastern Province: nil.

The English rugby team arrived in Grahamstown by Tuesday afternoons train, and were met by Dr Edington, Chairman of the Reception Committee, Messrs Graham, CC & RM, RG Russouw, ARM, HO Dold, LL Giddy, Dr Saunders and others.

They were then driven to Steinmanns and the Railway Hotels, where they are put up. The team to play tomorrow will be selected this evening.

The English 15 played combined Grahamstown on the City Lords in perfect weather.

The teams were loudly cheered on entering the enclosure. Grahamstown played with the sun in their eyes. The Englishmen kicking off. England soon started scoring, to which Grahamstown responded with a goal from a mark.

At half-time the score stood England 11 points, Grahamstown four.

Resuming, England scored rapidly, the town only adding a try. When no side was scored, the score was: England 28 points, Grahamstown seven.

The English Rugby team was entertained at a most successful ball in the Town Hall on Wednesday night. They left on Thursday morning by carts at 9.15 for King Williamstown.

The send-off by the many present was very hearty and cordial.
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