THE FOOTBALL SEASON.
BALLARAT PLAYERS IN MEL-
A CREDITABLE VICTORY.
NOTES BY OBSERVER.
These who judged the character of provincial football by the display at Bendigo on Wednesday had a pleasant surprise at Fitzroy on Saturday afternoon, when a Ballarat team came down to play a picked Melbourne twenty. Some of the picked Melbourne twenty thought it indeed such a certainty that they stayed away, but there was no lack of substitutes, and after a little delay the places of Anderson, M'Callum, Wright, M'Culloch, Young, and Vautin were efficiently filled by Banks, Cleary, M'Spearin, O'Grady, Reid, and Walton. It is only fair to say that several of those ori-
ginally chosen were obliged to stand out through injuries sustained on the previous Saturday.
There was a fair attendance at the match, about £70 being taken at the gates. Any doubts that may have existed as to the calibre of the Ballarat footballers was removed at a very early stage of the game, for they settled into their places like men who had been together all the season, and playing fast and clever football, they fairly dazzled the Melbourne twenty. Indeed, before the league worthies quite realised what was being done Ballarat had scored three goals and a be- hind. In the rallies which brought this gratify-
ing result to the inland twenty they were quick in getting to the ball, equally prompt in getting hold of it, and they rarely failed to use it wisely.
They helped each other in a most intelligent fashion and their kicking from the outset was a pleasant feature of the game. The crowed cheered them heartly, and the league men, who had been expecting a very comfortable time, sought to rise to the unexpected situation. Unlike Ballarat, they played, however, an individual game below their ordinary form, and were never able to wipe off the lead gained by the visitors in these earlier stages. Sutton, who captured the Metropolitan twenty, sought to after things by a general change of position, but no improvement followed. At handball, with which they expected to do so much, they found themselves completely matched, excepting that Ballarat adopted the wiser policy of only using the hand when it was not conveni-
ent to kick. The Melbourne men so far ignored all discipline that they continually crowded to the centre of the ground, and M'Kenzie, the vete- ran captain of Ballarat, took full advantage of the mistake. He kept his men resolutely to their places, with the result that when the ball went to the Ballarat goal their backs sent it promptly
away again, and when forced to the other end their forwards rarely failed.
On one occasion Sutton found himself the only man in maroon up against six red and white Ballarat men and a football. Is it necessary to say that a goal was the sequel? Thus Ballarat drew further away in the second quarter, and at half-time game, appeared to be little hope of sav-
ing the game, though some of the Melbourne men still thought that if their twenty could be persuaded to play as a team they might wipe out the difference in points. How surprised they were then to find Ballarat going further away from them in the third quarter, until, at the last change of ends, they had more than doubled their opponents' points. The metropolitans certainly laboured under some disadvantage, for Reid, one of their backs, was injured early in the day, and had to retire, while Waugh was so dazed by an accident that though he remained on the field till the finish he was practically useless. Those who watched the game were, however, quite satis- fied that, apart from mishaps altogether, the su- prior twenty was winning on its merits, and though they did not keep their two-to-one lead in the last quarter, they won handsomely by 89 points to 54. Indeed, one cannot say too much for Ballarat football as illustrated in this per- formance. In physique they were a striking team, and their tallest men used their height effectively in high marking, while their all-round pace and cleverness was unmistakable. Better than this, they played fine, manly football, going always for the ball, and for the man only when the tactics of the game justified it, and then with just sufficient vigour to serve the purpose. If this is the ordinary standard of Ballarat club foolball, residents of that city have nothing new to see in a Melbourne match. After Saturday's display there will be a much greater anxiety on the part of followers of the game in town to see another contest.
About the best man in the Ballarat team, on this game, was Treweek, who plays rather along the whole flank than in any particular spot. He was fast, clever in handling the ball, and showed sound judgment in getting away with it. Briefly, he beat every man with whom he came in con- tact. Kitz is one of the light-and-clever division —just about as smart, indeed, as one finds them. M'Grath and Wright were a useful, hard-working pair of followers, the lastnamed being one those
whose height serves him well in high-marking of their defenders, those who impressed the on- lookers most favourably were Rodd, right back,
and Vicars, just in front of him. Richardson and Ryan both did first-class work in the same quarter of the field. Their forwards were unmistakably
a very clever lot. Wanliss, who got four goals. being the cleverest footballer, but Robert-
son the hardest worker. Both the last- named and Powell got two goals.
Towards the end of the game, however, Sells was
perhaps the most conspicuous man on the field, his fine, fast dashes, backed up with long, straight drop-kicking, making football of the best stamp. His comrades declared that Saturday was not "his day out." If so, I should certainly like to see
him out. Brosnan was another man who won
distiction, and if M'Kenzie is no longer quite as dashing as in the days when he succeeded Burns as the Ballarat champion, he plays with an
old head now, and when unable to get away with the ball himself knows exactly where to look for a better man. Bringing him in specially for the
duties of captain was a wise move on the part of the selection of the team. Amongst the Mel-
bourne men no one was so near his true form as Adamson in defence. His high marking and
kicking were both very fine, M'Michael, who was able to strip again, had no reason either to re-
proach himself for the failure of this side. Pontin was playing his best late in the day ; and for Sutton it can be said that in a team which might appropriately have been called the Wild Wanderers he at least kept his place. Against Bendigo, places were changed just for the fun of the thing; against Ballarat they were changed because some-
thing had to be done, and the captain could think of nothing better. Thus Banks was found play-
ing forward and kicking two goals, while more
wonderful still O'Grady, to whom the rival goal is ever a distant but alluring beacon, found him- self close enough to score a pair also. He was surprised, but not more so than Moysey, who, whenever he tried that smart hand-passing which tells so effectively when amongst his own red legs, found a smart Ballarat man popping in and taking
it right out of the mouths of the expectant but slow Metropolitans. Others who showed fair form were M'Kay, Shaw, Cleary, Windley, and Rankin. At the close of the game the executive of the Fitz-
roy Cricket Club asked the players of both teams to meet them, and the health of the winners being proposed, Councillor Renfrew, mayor of Fitzroy, complimented them heartily on their clever and interesting play, and their pronounced triumph
over a strong Melbourne twenty. The scores were as follows:-
First Quarter.—Ballarat, 3 goals 2 behinds ; Mel-
bourne, 2 goals 1 behinds.
Half-Time.—Ballarat, 6 goals 5 behinds ; Mel-
bourne, 4 goals 4 behinds.
Third Quarter.—Ballarat, 11 goals 7 behinds ; Melbourne, 5 goals 4 behinds.
Final.—Ballarat, 13 goals 11 behinds (89 points) :
Melbourne, 8 goals 6 behinds (54 points).