1885 Southern Rugby Union season

The 1885 Southern Rugby Union season was the 12th season of the Sydney Rugby Premiership. This was the third competition for the Gardiner Cup which was awarded to the winners of the premiership. The football season lasted from May till September 1885. The season culminated in the premiership, which was won by Sydney University. University were awarded the Gardiner Challenge Cup and were crowned premiers by a committee of the Union. The club were undefeated during the premiership season.

1885 Sydney Rugby Premiership
DurationMay 16 to September 5
Teams8
PremiersUniversity 1865.png Sydney University (3rd title)
Runners-upWallaroo Colours.png Wallaroo
Wooden spoonSt. Leonards (1st spoon)
Top point-scorer(s)University 1865.png John Wood (85)
Top try-scorer(s)University 1865.png John Wood (11)

TeamsEdit

In 1885, the Union decided to elevate three Junior clubs into the Gardiner Challenge Cup. Arfoma, St. Leonards and Newtown had performed well during the previous season and were given the opportunity to compete for the cup.[1]

Teams
Name Icon Formed Ground Captain
Arfoma Prior to 1883 None EC Ebsworth
Balmain c.1873 None Ewen Cameron
Burwood c.1876 Burwood Park Samuel Chapman
Newtown prior to 1883 Macdonaldtown Park Sharpe
Redfern 24 May 1878 Redfern Ground George Walker
St. Leonards June 1872 The Reserve FT Cheeseman
Sydney University c.1863 University Ground Charles Tange
Wallaroo 19 May 1871 Wallaroo Ground George Graham

Rule changesEdit

In 1885 the Sydney Rugby Premiership continued to develop into a more structured competition. Before the season began, the Southern Rugby Football Union decided to promote three Junior Clubs into the Gardiner Challenge Cup. This took the competing teams to eight.[1] The number of games during the season also increased, with most of the teams playing each other twice. However, at the conclusion of the season, some clubs had not played the same number of games as others. The competition still did not see organised rounds and an official points ladder.

Season summaryEdit

Overall, the season was not seen as being as brilliant as the previous. The Association Cricket Ground became unavailable during the season, which had an effect upon the games being played. This ground was the only one that fenced in the playing field. As a result, many games were interrupted by the crowds encroaching upon the field. The Agricultural Society made their ground available to the Union later in the season, with two games often being played side-by-side. This did see some confusion with players stopping play in one game on hearing the call from the other game.[2]

Despite a deficit in their defence and kicking, the Sydney University Football Club proved to be the Premier club and were awarded the Gardiner Challenge Cup. The 'Varsity were well organised and displayed consistent form during the season. The team put the same players onto the field each week. As a result, the club were undefeated during the cup campaign with their only losses coming from non-cup games with a weakened team.[2]

The Wallaroo Football Club displayed occasional brilliance on the field. On a good day, they demonstrated excellent forward play. However, a heavy schedule of 20 games across all matches saw the club become inconsistent in their performance. In 14 Cup games, the team won 8. Despite being beaten by Burwood, Wallaroo were ranked second for the season due to winning more games.[2]

Last season's Premiers, Burwood, were considered the more all-round team. They were splendidly led by their captain Samuel Chapman who had spent some time playing in Cambridge. Using the experience gained, he encouraged his players to back each other. The club finished their season with a draw against the eventual champions, displaying the potential of the team.[2]

LadderEdit

1885 Gardiner Challenge CupEdit

Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD
1   Sydney University 14 12 2 0 0 177 23 +154
2   Wallaroo 14 8 1 5 0 90 77 +13
3   Burwood 12 6 3 3 0 86 31 +55
4   Arfoma 11 4 3 4 0 69 48 +21
5   Redfern 13 4 3 6 0 45 32 +13
6   Balmain 13 4 3 6 0 49 85 -36
7   Newtown 12 2 3 7 0 24 161 -137
8 St. Leonards 11 1 0 10 0 30 113 -83

[2]

  • The ladder shown above was calculated using results of games published in newspapers of the period. Only games indicated as Gardiner Challenge Cup games or games between cup teams were included. Games against non-cup teams were not included. Ladders published in newspapers of the period included games against teams not included in the cup. Inconsistencies occur between the ladders published and the results recorded. This may be due to the Union altering results as a result of protests.

Lower gradesEdit

The Southern Rugby Football Union classified the participating clubs into two groups, Seniors and Juniors. Prior to 1883, all clubs were considered for the Premiership. With the introduction of the Gardiner Challenge Cup, only Senior clubs participated in the competition. The Junior clubs competed with each other, but no award was recognised for their achievements. Matches between Senior and Junior teams were common place, with results in those matches possibly assisting in deciding the final Senior Premiership winner.

In 1885, the top Junior Clubs were Balmain Wellington and Rosedale who were both undefeated for the season.

Representative gamesEdit

Intercolonial matchesEdit

In 1885, the New South Wales Rugby team visited Brisbane to play two matches against the Queensland team. For the first time, the Gardiner Cup continued to be played. This saw some of the local clubs losing valuable players and were thus unable to form a team to play their matches. Some controversy was present in the newspapers concerning the selection of certain NSW players and the omittance of other players in the team.[3] With this in mind, the Queensland team had the edge in the first match, defeating NSW 14 points to nil.[4] After this success, the Queensland team was seen to be a little over confident heading into the second match. As a result, they were out classed and were defeated by NSW 12 points to 2.[5]

7th New South Wales – Queensland Intercolonial Football Match
19 August 1885
Queensland   14 - 0   New South Wales
Tries: AJ Hickson (3), J Byron, JS Anderson
Goals: F Hardgrave (0/5)
Drop goals: F Hardgrave (1/1)
[4]
Albert Sports Ground
Attendance: 4000
8th New South Wales – Queensland Intercolonial Football Match
29 August 1885
Queensland   2 - 12   New South Wales
Tries: T Pratten
Goals: F Hardgrave (0/1)
[5] Tries: H Fligg (2), GW Graham
Goals: JA O'Donnell (1/2), AC Radcliffe (1/1)
Albert Sports Ground
Attendance: 4500

Team and player recordsEdit

Most points in a match (team)Edit

Pts Team Opponent Venue Date
27   Sydney University   Newtown Agricultural Society Ground 22 August
26   Wallaroo   Newtown Darlington Reserve 6 June
26 St. Leonards   Newtown Macdonaldtown Park 8 August
25   Arfoma   Balmain Agricultural Society Ground 29 August
22   Redfern   Newtown Redfern Ground 27 June
22   Burwood St. Leonards Burwood Park 25 July
22   Sydney University   Balmain University Ground 1 August

Greatest winning marginEdit

Pts Team Score Opponent Venue Date
27   Sydney University 27 - 0   Newtown Agricultural Society Ground 22 August
26   Wallaroo 26 - 0   Newtown Darlington Reserve 6 June
26 St. Leonards 26 - 0   Newtown Macdonaldtown Park 8 August
25   Arfoma 25 - 0   Balmain Agricultural Society Ground 29 August
22   Redfern 22 - 0   Newtown Redfern Ground 27 June
22   Burwood 22 - 0 St. Leonards Burwood Park 25 July

Participating clubsEdit

Club Senior Grade Junior
1st 2nd
Albion Football Club Y
  Arfoma Football Club Y Y
  Balmain Rugby Football Club Y Y
Balmain Harrowgate Football Club Y
  Balmain Wellington Football Club Y
  Burwood Football Club Y Y
Cammeray Football Club Y
Double Bay Football Club Y
Glebe Football Club Y
Manly Football Club Y
  Newtown Football Club Y Y
Our Boys Football Club Y
Parramatta Football Club Y
Parramatta Union Football Club Y
  Petersham Rugby Football Club Y
  Randwick Football Club Y
  Redfern Football Club Y Y
  Rosedale Football Club Y
St. Leonards Football Club Y
  Sydney University Football Club Y Y
  Wallaroo Football Club Y Y
Waverley Football Club Y
Wentworth Football Club Y

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "SPORTING INTELLIGENCE. FOOTBALL". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 30 April 1885. p. 8. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "ATHLETIC SPORTS". Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912). 19 September 1885. p. 637. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  3. ^ "N. S. WALES V. QUEENSLAND RUGBY FOOTBALL". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930). 12 August 1885. p. 6. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Intercolonial Football Match at Brisbane". Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912). 22 August 1885. p. 413. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b "FOOTBALL". Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931). 1 September 1885. p. 6. Retrieved 3 July 2019.

External linksEdit