History of the A's

 
 

Athletics Play For The Globe Shield

 
 

The St. Catharines Athletics would suspend operations in the year 1900 after a particularly ugly incident in 1899. In a rough game against the Orangeville Dufferins, John "Shooty" Richardson would severely injure the Duff's Fred Dowling and earn himself an assault charge and a sensationalized trial before Police Magistrate Comfort in a St. Catharines courtroom. Even the Daily Standard would call the game "the most disgraceful exhibition ever witnessed here," and demand that the A's "officers and managing committee purge the game in this city of the slugging element." The paper added, "the people must be shown that the fastest and cleanest lacrosse can be played by gentlemen and can be patronized by ladies and other spectators without danger of being called upon to be involuntary eye witnesses of a slugging match."

Well, it would take until 1901 for the Athletics to come back from that dark day, and when they did, the old-time "clean, fast and gentlemanly game" had returned to the old corner lot. A good, clean team was fielded and only one thing stood between the "new" Athletics and the Globe Shield trophy...their old friends from Orangeville.

And the rest is history...
 

 

ONE GAME WILL DECIDE 

ST. CATHARINES  AND  ORANGEVILLE  WILL  PLAY OFF  AT  TORONTO

The Daily Standard

Wednesday August 28, 1901

The much-talked-of question of how the championship of the C.L.A. is to be decided has been settled. One game will suffice for the whole business, and St. Catharines and Orangeville will battle for it at the Toronto Island on Saturday September 7th. Final arrangements were made over the telephone by representatives of each club late Tuesday evening. Nearly the entire Orangeville team saw the match with Brantford on Saturday and are confident they can beat St. Catharines. After the long hard row that the St. Catharines team has had to hoe, they are not taking any chances and will not underestimate the Orangeville team. If this team can be beaten, the Globe Shield and the C.L.A. pennant will come to this city.


BEATEN IN FINAL 

ATHLETICS  FAILED  TO  WREST  CHAMPIONSHIP  FROM  THE  DUFFERINS 

SCORE  WAS  7  TO  5

–  ST. KITTS  WAS  AHEAD  AT  THE  START  BUT  UNABLE  TO  HOLD  THE  LEAD  –

LACK  OF  CONDITION  LOST  THE  GAME  FOR  ST. CATHARINES

The Daily Standard 

Monday September 9, 1901 

The tale is told. 

After months of hard, up-hill fighting, the lacrosse team has stepped up to the top rung of the ladder and just at the last minute made a misstep and fallen off. 

The score of 7 to 5 is that of a strange, peculiar game. At the start the Dufferins were frightened and were second best. This continued until after the first quarter and then the tide commenced to gradually turn. The Dufferins saw it and confidence took the place of fear. 

Then lack of condition was evident in the Athletics. Their mainstay of endurance, which has carried them all season, was not with them. To add to this was the hard luck of Reub. Williams having to go to the fence. Three goals were scored while this star defence man was off, demonstrating how useful he was. But on the other hand, had the Athletics been in the same condition they were at the time of the last Brantford game, they would not have missed one man for five minutes and again it is safe to say that the Brantfords, in their usual condition, would have been able to walk through the Northerners. 

But it must not be imagined that the game was a poor one from a spectator’s standpoint, for it was a nerve-killer. Time and time again the score was tied and broken by one team and then another, but lacrosse eyes could see the way matters were going. The game was hard, but it was an off day. It was painful to see certain home-players floundering about the field like a fleet of yachts that had lost their mainsails and all because they did not have the little amount of reserve and staying power that makes a man feel like playing at the finish. 

In size and weight the teams were well matched. Orangeville has several young players and fleet boys they are, too: and they play a style of game that is unlike that put up by any other team. 

Shore, Swain, Irving, Menary and Henry worked up some great, fast combination play that was dangerous all the time and more particularly when one man was off. 

The Athletics played for all they were worth and the best team won, but it is a lesson that should never be forgotten. Dixon, in goal, performed well, while Rube Williams played the usual game on the defence. Elliott and Frank Williams were unable to beat the tactics of the Orangeville home on account of not being prepared for them, but were always in the game, just the same. Hagan worked hard, but should have had the ball passed to him oftener. “Tod” Downey played the best game put up by him this season. He was in good form and could have done better work in the field. Little McIlwain worked as hard as usual, but was knocked about by the heavy Dufferin defence like a cork in an angry sea, and a lot of his hard work was ineffectual, on account of his lack of weight partly, but more so by lack of support. 

A dozen and one reasons can be advanced for the loss of the game, but it is now over and the shouting has also died away. There is nothing now to do but to lie low for next year, while the trophy and the C.L.A. pennant are resting safely in the little town up in the north. 

At home the crowds were anxious and enthusiastic, and as usual the Standard bulletin board was the centre of attraction. 

In the evening a detailed account fresh from the Island by wire was published in an extra edition of the Standard. The news was not of the kind that pleased, but the people were satisfied with the service. 

Below is the reproduction of the account: 

Toronto Island, Sept. 7. – The final play-off for the championship of the C. L. A. has drawn a big crowd, despite other attractions. About 800 were present from St. Catharines while Orangeville has sent about 1,000. 

Campbell, Orangeville’s tricky defence player, was late in arriving, and it appeared as though the Northern team would be only able to play eleven men, but he arrived just before the face-off. 

Attendance is over 6,000. 

The St. Kitts had the field first and spent some little time warming up. Then the Orangeville players, uniformed in green, went on amid a roar from their rooters. 

The players and positions are as follows: 

St. Catharines   Orangeville
Dixon Goal P. Kearns
F. Williams Point W. Kearns
Elliott Cover Point Menary
R. Williams 1st Defence Shore
Harris 2nd Defence Kirkwood
C. Downey 3rd Defence Campbell
Cameron Centre J. Irving
McIlwain 3rd Home F. Dowling
Hagan 2nd Home Swain
Hare 1st Home Hatcher
Gourlay Outside Home W. Irving
G. Downey Inside Home Henry
Kingstone Field Captain Jones

Referee—James McFadden, of Toronto 

The umpires—Dr. Roberts, of Brampton, and A. H. Beaton, Toronto. 

The timekeepers—H. Gillespie, Orangeville, Jas. F. Timmons, St. Catharines, and J. D. Bailey, Toronto. 

The game started at 3:35 o’clock. Irving secured the rubber at the start and Orangeville had the best of the play for a while, the J. Kearns went off for five minutes for fouling Hare. Hare sustained a cut on the head from Shore, delaying the game a few minutes. Orangeville made an attack, Elliott and Williams relieved. Some good play followed and C. Downey got in the middle of some home play and scored in 9 minutes. 

The next started fast. Gourlay, McIlwain and G. Downey shot, but the shots went wrong. G. Downey scored finally in 2 ½ minutes. Orangeville showed signed of fatigue, Swain doing some fumbling, but the first quarter was hard fight nevertheless. The score at the end of the quarter: Athletics 2; Orangeville 0. 

Second Quarter 

Orangeville is fresher and plays harder. A rush was made on the St. Kitts flags, but Elliott relieved. Harris ran through a whole bunch, threw to Gourlay, who shot, though wild. A dangerous attack followed on the St. Catharines nets and still another. Elliott relieved once and the rest went wild. 

Orangeville is good on close combination, but unfortunate in shooting. Their running is faster than the Athletics. Harris, however, is supreme against heavy Shore. R. Williams, for checking F. Dowling too hard, was sent to the fence. McIlwain was set on by Shore and knocked out, but came up without delaying the game. Cameron takes Williams position, the rest move down and the St. Kitts home is one man short. Orangeville made a heavy attack, bodying to the goal. Dixon defended well, but Henry made a successful scoop, scoring the first for Orangeville in 11 minutes. 

R. Williams then took his place and the ball was about the Orangeville goal for awhile. Then a strong but well-calculated attack on the St. Catharines nets followed, Dixon making a phenomenal stop and throw out. Elliott saved another and avoided a vicious swipe by Henry. The ball got as far as Hagan. Then Kirkwood got in and down it came. Irving secured it and scored in 5 minutes. 

Wild excitement followed and the hardest play was in evidence. McIlwain and Hagan tried hard but Menary, Kearns and Shore were in the way. McIlwain was again the victim of a hard check and went down, but soon came up. In the excitement the St. Kitts home loomed up and G. Downey made a scoring shot just before the half-time whistle blew. Score—St. Catharines 3, Orangeville 2. 

Third Quarter 

It was Orangeville’s face-off. The play was quick and fast in Orangeville’s favour, in 2 ½ minutes Swain show one in, setting the crowd wild as the score was tied. The Athletics home became ragged, and the defence saved several goals. Orangeville roughs it and McIlwain gets hit, Kirkwood going to the fence. Referee McFadden is strict but fair. McIlwain got into the game and shot. Kearns caught it, but McIlwain knocked it off his stick. Time, 8 minutes. 

The next was short and sweet for Orangeville. It never got on the other side of centre, going down to Irving, who scored in ½ minute. 

The next was even play for a while, the ball travelling on sticks up and down the field. R. Williams went into two Orangeville men and was sent to the fence. Then Irving scored another in 4 ½ minutes. 

Another followed this for Orangeville, Henry doing the trick in ½ minute. Then captain Kingstone ran it front of an Orangeville player and the referee made a record by ruling him off. St. Kitts gingered up and Downey just missed scoring by hard luck. 

The Athletics home men were playing about the Orangeville nets when the quarter ended. 

Score—Orangeville 6, St. Catharines 4. 

Fourth Quarter 

The Athletics drew themselves together for a last effort. Hare went on at cover point and Harris to point. Elliott taking a place on the home and the changes worked. Hagan scoring in 1 ½ minutes. 

Orangeville again attacked, but Harris relieved. Capt. Kingstone went into the game at the head of his team, and coached his men in some fast play. There were dangerous moments on both sides, and it looked as though St. Kitts would make another tie, but just at the critical moment something would go wrong. 

Finally Henry added another to the Orangeville score, making the score 7 to 5 in the Dufferins favour. Joe Cameron was given three minutes rest, and shortly afterwards Shore went off for five minutes for trying to cut Elliott up like a piece of paper. When time was called the ball was in St. Kitts possession but the pennant was Orangeville’s. 

Over-confidence lost the game in the last half of the match. 

Orangeville wins—7 to 5. 

The Teams Record 

The record of the Athletics this year has been one of which any team might be proud, and for a team that is home-bred in every sense of the word the honour is all the greater. The twelve boys raised in the fruit-scented atmosphere of the Garden City saw the finish of Brantford’s imported team, and the city that was so lacrosse crazy two weeks ago has now almost forgotten the game. 

Before the present team was available and before any practice was indulged in to speak of, the Toronto Varsity team won an exhibition match on the grounds here on May 24th on a score of 7 to 0. Since then there have been great changes in the team and the atmosphere about it; and the contests with Brantford did much to advertise both cities about the country. 

Since May 24th, the record of the team has been as follows: 

June 8—Defeated Paris at St. Catharines, 12 goals to 5. 

June 15—Defeated Paris at Paris, 5 goals to 2. 

July 1—Defeated Brantford at Brantford, 4 goals to 1. (Exhibition match). 

July 6—Defeated Tecumsehs at Toronto, 9 goals to 0. 

July 10—Defeated Markham at St. Catharines, 12 goals to 3. (Exhibition match). 

July 20—Defeated Galt at St. Catharines, 16 goals to 1. 

July 27—Defeated Tecumsehs at St. Catharines, 17 goals to 1. 

Aug 3—Lost to Brantford at Brantford, 1 goal to 4. 

Aug 10—Defeated Brantford at St. Catharines, 5 goals to 4. 

Aug 17—Won from Galt by default. 

Aug 24—Defeated Brantford at Toronto, 4 goals to 2. 

Sept 7—Lost to Orangeville at Toronto, 5 goals to 7. 

A great game….Who was the Jonah?….Hats off to Orangeville….Brantford’s out of it anyway….It was nip and tuck all the time…To the victor belongs the spoils….Who wanted the plate anyways?….The day was excellent and the game better….Never mind boys, we are proud of you still….One of us had to bite the dust….Cheer up boys….Your “Willie” Harris played a great game….Two great “fall-downs”—Gaudaur and St. Kitts….Bye-bye St. Catharines, we must leave you—Orangeville….The boys deserve the good credit for keeping the game clean….Now, whatever you say tonight, let it not be “I told you so”….Those “heavyweights” from up north must have shown up “real”….Well! well! Now we can settle down to business again and get in the hay….Orangeville may as well keep the Globe’s trophy they had there last week.

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