Wednesday, 12 March 2014

1922 Division Two Yarck You

After around six successive Sundays of trips to the SLV, I've taken the last two off after meeting too many dead ends in search final tables to compile a record of all the senior leagues that have been conducted in the history of Victorian football.

Regathering notes and thoughts, I had another look at the puzzle that was the Second Division of 1922. Starting in late April, from fixtures listed in The Age on the Friday before the games, we are told the league is structured like this:

Division Two Section A
Coburg, Caulfield, Footscray Thistle A, Sandringham, St David's, St Kilda A

Division Two Section B
Brunswick A, Melbourne Thistle A, Northcote A, Northumberland and Durham A, Welsh United A, Windsor A

Apart from the lack of every result being published, the big problem crops up in July, when teams from the different Sections start playing each other. The results and fixtures suddenly just refer to Division Two, with no mention of Sections. Going on the results found, it's clear that they did not suddenly merge into a 12 team league.

Later on, some weeks the results list those from Division Two as well as the Reserves League. All the "A" teams were reserves teams, and from that point on they do seem to have started playing each other exclusively. Which could give us a Second Division of four clubs, namely Coburg, Caulfield, Sandringham and St David's.

Starting by working back from the end of the season, I separated their results and fixtures until I got to July 15th. Which provided the following:

Caulfield 
July 15 v Coburg July 22 v Coburg July 29 St David's 3-0 August 12 Sandringham 1-2 August 26 v Sandringham September 2 Sandringham 2-0 September 16 v Coburg

If one those first two games against Coburg was postponed until September 16, and the Sandringham no result of August 26 was postponed until the following week, this does allow for all teams having played each other team twice.

Coburg
July 15 v Caulfield July 22 v Caulfield July 29 Sandringham 1-1 August 5 Sandringham 1-3 August 26 St David's 2-1 September 2 v St David's September 16 v Caulfield

Again, if one of those first two fixtures was postponed, it does work out that they played all the others twice.

Sandringham
July 15 v St David's July 29 Coburg 1-1 August 12 Caulfield 2-1 August 26 v Caulfield September 2 Caulfield 0-2 September 9 St David's 3-1 September 16 St David's 3-3

On published results, they played everyone twice. Are the missing results postponements, or are they unpublished results with each team playing the other three times instead of twice?

St David's 
July 15 v Sandringham July 29 Caulfield 0-3 August 26 Coburg 1-2 September 2 v Coburg September 9 Sandringham 1-3 September 16 Sandringham 3-3

No fixture listed for July 22, which would had to have been against Sandringham. No fixture either for August 5, when Caulfield were free.

Known scores give us 6 games from Sandringham for 8 points, 3 games from Caulfield for 4 points, 3 games from Coburg for 3 points and 4 games from St David's for just the 1 point.

That year the Alexandra and District British Football Association was formed, and they started a three team league. The clubs were Alexandra Town, Eildon Weir and Yarck United (answering a question I saw on a bumper sticker once of "Where the farck is Yarck?").

Deciding to finally go through their results (ending up two missing scores short of a full table) I went through the pages of the Alexandra and Yea Standard which incorporated the Yarck, Gobur, Thornton, Taggerty and Acheron Express. With their season over, league champions Eildon Weir invited Melbourne teams up to play friendlies. One such exhibition game took place on October 14th, a 1-0 win over Caulfield who the paper stated were "Premiers of the 2nd Division British Association football".

So the next trip to the SLV will be to check out the local newspapers (which are not online on Trove) of Caulfield, Sandringham and Coburg to see if I can find the missing results, or at least the three missing wins that would push Caulfield ahead of Sandringham.

So could they really have ditched all the early season games to start the League again in July? It is more than possible. Reserves teams playing as "A" teams in lower leagues do not appear again until 1931. Maybe a dilemma of what to do with an "A" team winning the League and earning promotion sparked the change in policy?

Neither Caulfield, or Sandringham were promoted for 1923. The ten team First Division was reduced back to eight clubs, with the Second Division also comprising of an even eight.

Feel free to express opinions in the comments section as to if I'm straying close to re-writing history to get a result, or am probably on the right track.

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