Barossa and Light win inaugural Country Championships in 1929


Playing against other country associations from across the state, the Barossa and Light (B&L) side won the 1929 SA Country Championships, defeating Northern Areas in the final played at Adelaide Oval.

The B&L side got home in a tight title-decider 12.8 (80) to 10.12 (72) by eight points, after leading at half-time by 15 points on Saturday September 21 in front of a crowd of 1500 patrons.

Only three points up at three quarter-time, the B&L side kicked four goals in the first 10 minutes of the final quarter.

Northern Areas then kicked the next three goals, but it proved to be too late for them to snatch the title.

Best players for the victors included captain W. Heinrich, R. Mattner, goal-sneak C. Higgins who kicked seven goals, M. Robinson and J.P. Shanahan.

The B. & L. Association was presented with the A. W. Sandford Cup.

Representatives of the “Alfa Laval Separator Company” A. W. Sandford and Co. Limited had previously offered to the South Australian National Football League a silver cup to be termed “The Alfa Laval Trophy,” which was presented to the winning B&L team.

The eventual winner’s tournament didn’t start particularly well on the Monday, as its opening fixture resulted in the B&L team being defeated by the Flinders Association by four points.

On Tuesday, they were successful in defeating the Lower North Association by 19.18 (132) to 8.1 (49).

On Wednesday, the B&L side had a decisive win over the Wakefield Association, scoring 24.28 (176) to 6.5 (41) at Unley Oval.

In what would now be termed a quarter-final match on the Thursday, after kicking eight goals in the opening term, B&L defeated the Upper Murray 15.5 (95) to 7.11 (53), with Higgins and J. Shanahan kicking six goals each.

In the semi-final on Friday, the Barossa and Light team defeated Southern in what was described in The Advertiser the next day as a game “of a dogged nature.”

Barossa and Light, although handicapped by the loss of a man in the first quarter, were suited by the nature of the game, and using their weight to advantage, had established a four-point lead at half-time.

Southern made a valiant attempt to take the lead when having the advantage of the wind in the third term, but their forwards were astray and all they could do is level the score.

In the course of some willing final exchanges, Barossa and Light exploited the chances given to them by their centre-line.

B&L won this semi–final match by 17 points 10.10 (70) to 6.17 (53) at Prospect Oval.

The Advertiser reported on Monday, September 23:

The premiership game at Adelaide Oval, won by the Barossa and Light, on Saturday morning brought to the close the first country football carnival promoted by the League.

The venture has been an undoubted success.

Many promising players appeared and the selectors of league teams followed the games closely. The social success of the tournament has been attested by all who participated.

Teams taking part, more especially those in the finals, had a strenuous time. Many of the players (in the final) entered the field on six successive days, and as a consequence Saturday’s game resolved itself as a test of endurance, the players being particularly exhausted at half-time.

A pleasing feature of the carnival was the number of full forwards (who excelled).

Several individual efforts of more than nine goals in a match were recorded.

A strength at full forward was a very promising player in C Higgins, played with judgement and was a strong factor (in the final).

Other associations that competed in the 1929 competition included Port Pirie, Great Southern, Booborowie, Mount Lofty, Gawler, Port Augusta, Broughton, Adelaide Plains, Torrens Valley, Lameroo and Districts, Wakefield, Stanley, Loxton & Browns Well, Mid North and Southern.

The early matches were played across the championships at SANFL suburban grounds including Glenelg, Thebarton and Alberton Oval, as well as the neutral Kensington Oval, with two matches at each venue early in the week.

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