The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

July 1, 2006

July 1, 2006 – Sports

Since the early days of Springhill there has always been an interest in sports. Everyone knows about the famous Fencebusters but there were baseball teams in Springhill as early as 1878, in fact there were two teams, a girls team and a boys team.

The members of the first girls teams were: Jen Anderson, Minnie Anderson, Queen McNutt, Annie McNutt, Lottie Hier, Julia Townsend, Bessie Alcorn, Margaret Lambert and Mary Leadbetter.

The members of the boys team were: Bill Wilson, Jack Chase, W.H. Murray, Morley Alcorn, Bliss McNutt, Henry Lambert, Fred Hier, Scott Anderson and Jack Wilson.

When they first started to play they didn’t have an umpire so they decided to get Rev. Mr. Hemmeon of Parrsboro to come and be their umpire. He was so impressed by the girls team that when he went home he organized a girls team in Parrsboro.

In 1893 the Maple Leaf Baseball Club was first organized. They had one defeat out of a large number of games. This team was re-organized on Mar. 29, 1898 with the following players: J. Johnson, pitcher; J. Ross, catcher; Winifred McInnis, 1 st base; George McPherson, 2 nd base; G. Fraser, shortstop, J. McDonald, lt, field; W. Smith, centerfield and A. McDonald, rt. field. The president of the ball team was William McDonald, Secretary John Cameron, Treasurer L.A. Bonnyman, and Captain Jacob Johnson.

In 1902 the Maple Leaf Baseball Team won the Central Nova Scotia Baseball Trophy.

From a news clipping in the Springhill Record of May 26, 1905 – “A large crowd witnessed the game of baseball in the Ramblers grounds Wednesday afternoon between Springhill and Amherst. Many enthusiasts from Springhill accompanied their team and the Ramblers also had a large following. The game resulted in a 7-2 victory for Springhill. Playing for Amherst were Simpson, Ralston, Chisholm, Twaddle, Bonnyman, H. McDonald, Black, F. McDonald and Hatfield. Springhill, A. Trott, Morehouse, Johnson, Lormier, McPherson, Smith, McLeod, Burton and J. Trott.”

In 1889 a Lacrosse Club was organized. They played for the championship of the Maritime Provinces and on Oct. 14, 1891 , they played the Union Club of Saint John for the championship of the Maritimes and the Nelson Trophy but they lost to Saint John .

Also in 1899 there were bicycle races. The one mile race had four entries: Roy Cove, Hiram Simpson, Tupper McKenzie and William McPherson. The race was won by Roy Cove with Simpson and McKenzie tied for second.

Springhill also had noted runners in the early days such as Noel Paul, Norman Turnbull and Tupper McKenzie. On Nov. 1, 1909 the five mile road race for the Ralston Cup was run in Springhill with six starters, Tupper McKenzie, H. Paul, Isiah McCarthy, Ernest Hood, Thomas Noiles and N. Turnbull. They ran to a point on Mountain Road and finished on the race course with several laps being run on the track. Tupper McKenzie was first. He completed the five mile race in 30:12.

In 1907 The Springhill Curlers had their annual meeting. The officers elected were: honorary president, David Stewart; president, Dr. Sutherland; Vice president, J. H. Gillespie; secretary, John Murray; and treasurer, A.F. Little.

Horse racing was introduced in Springhill by R. Cowans, manager of the Springhill Mining Company, in 1897. Cowans had a stable of horses and brought in his own trainer from Montreal . Some of the others who had race horses at that time were H. Glendenning, M.E. Boss and Henry Bowden. Racing was held here for many years but the track was not kept up. In 1944 some of the citizens decided to fix the track up and after working all summer had it ready for races in September and racing continued for many years. Miss Betty Brown is the only woman to have ever driven in races on the Springhill track. Billy O’Donnell is a Springhill who is noted for his harness racing.

In Jan. 1899 the Maple Leaf Hockey Team was formed with Jack Cooper as Captain; George McKenzie, goal; Hugh Murray, point; David Anderson, centre point; Robert McPherson, William McInnis and Jacob Johnson, forwards. Their first public game was against Pugwash and ended in a 4-4 tie.

Springhill has also had great speed skaters such as Placide Boucher, William Merritt and Fred Hawker.

Some of the early boxers to come out of Springhill are: Art Jardine, Maritime Boxing Champion; Bud Jardine, Maritime Boxing Champion; Roddie J. McDonald, NSSHF Boxing and John McManaman, NA Boxing Champion..