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News > Past Student News > From the Archives: Ballgames

From the Archives: Ballgames

At our recent Open Day, the group of photos that elicited the most comments from Old Girls from 1940-1990 was the group of ballgame photos.

At our recent Open Day, the group of photos that elicited the most comments from Old Girls from 1940-1990 was the group of Ballgame photos. It was a sport close to my heart as I taught and coached Ballgames in both the primary and secondary school during my time as a Physical Education teacher here at St. Margaret’s.

All the girls who commented, remembered the Ballgame competition and the training associated with it, with great fondness. The rapid fire of the Captain Ball action, the speed at taking the turns around the leader and end player in Leader Ball, the stamina of Star Relay and the precision of File Gap were all mentioned.

St. Margaret’s was one of the three founding schools [ BGGS and Somerville being the others] of the QGSSSA in 1908 and the schools conducted fixtures in Tennis only. Swimming was included in 1909 and Athletics in 1918. Under 15 Goaling appears for the first time in 1923. Ballgames proper made its first appearance in 1928 with Twelve-man Tunnel Ball, Captain Ball, Zig Zag Pass, Overhead Pass and Long Tunnel Ball. The Ballgames competition formed part of the Athletics Carnival. Our 1928 LINK proudly boasts that we were placed first in senior tunnelling!!

1941 saw the introduction of a new Ballgame – Leader Ball. In this year, there were only three ballgames – Leader Ball, Captain Ball and Tunnelling. The Athletics captain of 1941 did not hold back when she wrote in the LINK that ‘the Ballgames were not up to the standard of the rest of the team. More concentrated practice in this branch should make our prospects for the next sports very bright’ Sadly in the 1942 LINK, the Athletics captain reported that ‘our Ballgames, on the whole, were not up to standard’. In 1944 and again in 1945, things had definitely improved in the ballgame department – we gained a place in every team event! There is a memory from an old girl that one ballgame team was recalled after its convincing win in the Captain Ball. Officials were concerned that they were a player short – such was their winning margin. An official count was conducted, and St. Margaret’s was declared the winner in a new record time!!

During the Fifties and Sixties, new games were added – File Gap, Tunnel and Zig, Square Spry. In 1971, Ballgames became an independent competition from Athletics. 1n 1991, BGGS and St. Peters withdrew from the competition and in 1996, the last QGSSSA Ballgames competition was held. The decision to abandon Ballgames was taken to make way for other sports in which girls could achieve representative [ state and national] honours.

During competition, the accompanying Ballgames judge was someone to be very wary of. When she raised her finger, [to advise the team of a warning], the team would hold its breath. Six warnings and the team was disqualified!! It was a very serious business!!

In 1962, St. Margaret’s became part of the Andrews Cup Association. There is no record of when Ballgames began in the primary school competition, but it was always fiercely contested with additional games of Star Relay, Exchange Ball Relay and Circle Gap making appearances in various years. The Primary students were a little more committed to their training sessions and we did achieve first place in many of the Ballgames.

Sadly, the decision was made to abandon Ballgames in the primary school with 2000 being the last time we participated in the competition. Being a part of a Ballgame team elicited many benefits – not the least of which were camaraderie, teamwork, hand-eye co-ordination and resilience. Whilst the competition is long gone, for many old girls, it is definitely not forgotten!

Mary Surtees, School Archivist

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