St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Rugby St George's Park - England vs Eastern Province - 1903
England vs Eastern Province - 1903

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 day’s 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 o’clock 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 Rice’s 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 back’s 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.

Cape Daily Telegraph.
July 21, 1903.

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