St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Rugby St George's Park - 1888(?) Rugby Victory for Crusaders over HMS Raleigh
1888(?) Rugby Victory for Crusaders over HMS Raleigh

On Saturday last a large attendance assembled on the Port Elizabeth Cricket Ground to witness a match between the Crusaders and a team from the Raleigh.

The afternoon was all that could be desired, and a vast concourse of spectators were ringed around the enclosures, while the Pavilion was crammed to excess with a select and fashionable gathering.

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The band of HMS Raleigh, under the conductorship of Bandmaster Wright, performed within the Pavilion enclosure, and several selections received marks of approval from the grand stand audience.

The game was started about 3.30, by Cox, for the Raleigh, lifting the oval from the South End, and the ball was returned by Carden from the Park side, when Webb getting possession, carried the ball to mid-field before being held by Lovemore.

Some tight scrummages were then indulged in till Le Fanu secured the leather and passed to Luard, who brought play straight across the field, when the ball was sent out.

On the throw in the ball was passed to Macdonald, who gained a deal of ground before being overturned by Luard, Castens picked up and improved matters till forced to pass to Parker, who put on a spurt for the visitors’ lines, when Goodenough closed with him.

Here a few scrummages took place, the Raleigh’s team having apparently the best of them, when the oval found it’s way out to Copeland, who bettered his side’s position by a fine bit of foot play, but Scott cleared his lines with a good kick.

Through the good passing of the Crusaders three-quarters backs the ball was again rushed in the vicinity of the Raleigh’s touch line, and Lovemore getting possession made a bolt, but was upset on the wrong side - for his team - of touch.

Luard, Webb, Le Fanu, and Goodenough’s exertions to clear their territory of the invaders was successful, the little half-back working wonders with the leather, and carrying it beyond his side’s first-quarter flag.

Carden was the next to make the running warm, and being well seconded by Castens, the Raleigh’s team had some difficulty before clearing their territory, till Williams drove the ball northwards, when Carden came into possession, and passed to Castens, who immediately changed with Parker, and by a fast run the latter got over the Raleigh’s line and scored the first point of the game for the home team.

Carden took the place, but did not succeed in scoring.

On the usual kick out the ‘Saders were hard pressed, the determined charges by Luard and Webb keeping them on their mettle, till the plucky forward play of the ‘Saders, and a smart piece of dribbling on the part of Copeland brought the play within the Raleigh’s first quarter, when Scott saved  by falling on the ball.

Numerous scrummages now took place, and there was no getting behind either team’s backs for some time, till Le Fanu smartly passed to Webb, who punted the ball to mid-field, where the game was again made monotonous by the constant mauls.

Lovemore was next to break away, and he improved the Crusaders game till grassed by Parker, who had taken Scott’s place a full-back, the latter having retired hurt.

Cox tried to get away, but was immediately grounded, when the ball came into the hands of Luard, who  brought the play to the opposite side of the field before being laid low.

The Raleigh’s men now warmed to their work, and some excellent foot play was indulged in, until Copeland toed the ball into touch.

On the throw in Macdonald made a sweeping charge, and things looked anything but rosy for the Raleigh till Webb stopped his course.

Goodenough was the next to show up conspicuous by a dodging run, and he got off a good drop before being collared.

Carden next essayed a journey, and charged the Raleigh left flank, when he passed to Castens, who scored a short run, he in turn passed to Parker, who dashed over the line, scoring the second try in Crusaders favour.

The place kick was undertaken by Carden, who brought about the goal.

Just as play was about to be resumed, the referee declared “half time,” and the teams adjourned for a spell.

Up to this point the game was in favour of the home team with a goal and try to nil.

Upon changing ends Macdonald sent the ball well up the field, when it came into the charge of Goodenough, but he mulled the drop, and the consequence was Lovemore held.

Numerous hotly contested scrums followed, till Le Fanu essayed a bolt for the home team’s posts, and he succeeded in carrying the ball to mid-field before being overturned.

More scrums followed just in front of the Crusaders’ posts, when Williams got a chance, and with a plucky run he planted the ball over the ‘Sader’s line, near touch in goal flag.

The place being a deep and difficult one, was not improved upon by Luard.

On the kick out Goodenough secured possession, but before he got many yards forward, Copeland collared him.

Scrum after scrum followed in quick succession, and with alternating advantages, when the ball came out to Lovemore, who passed to Macdonald, he in turn changed to Carden, who, with a fast run, dotted the third try over the Raleigh’s lines.

The place resulted in a goal.

After the kick out, play was forced down south in the vicinity of the cerise and blacks posts, the Raleigh’s team evidently bent on scoring.

Some tight scrums took place within a few feet of the Crusaders’ lines, till Copeland improved matters for his side by a touch of the good old Association game, and was going well till the ball was sent into touch.

On the throw in, Cox secured the oval, who, with a clever run and a couple of Crusaders hanging onto him, he walked over their lines and planted the ball between the posts, a proceeding which elicited cheer upon cheer from the onlookers.

He manipulated the place himself, and before the astonished ‘Saders could charge, the goal was a certainty.

Macdonald gave a good send off, and the oval was returned by another high kick, and several of these high shots were exchanged, till Luard broke the monotony of the proceedings by punting the ball into touch.

On the oval being returned into play, Macdonald got possession, and secured a short run when he was held by Williams.

The next notable piece of play was by Copeland, who was “middling” the ball capitally, when Cox, saved by a punt, Castens here passed smartly to Parker, and he placed try number four to the Crusaders’ credit.

The place was given to Carden, who scored the major point.

Parker kicked out for the Raleigh’s team, and a smart follow up by his forwards held Smith before he could get clear, and the oval was again scrummaged.

On the ball coming out, Carden raised it into Madden’s hands, and a free kick at goal was unsuccessful.

The game was gradually forced up the field, and a fine run by Macdonald improved matters, till he was forced to pass to Carden, who, in turn, passed to Lovemore, the manoeuvre was successful, the ball being placed over the line.

Carden was again successful with the place kick.

The game was again warmly contested, the Raleigh men trying their best to get behind the “Saders’ lines, but nothing further was scored, and at the call of “no side,” matters stood as follows: Crusaders, 4 goals and 1 try; Raleigh, 1 goal and a try.

Macdonald, Lovemore, and Copeland were conspicuous by their good play; while for the strangers Cox, Luard, Le-Fanu, Goodenough, and Williams tried hard to avert defeat.

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