– 1944 Football by the Girls

Service units were located in most parts of New South Wales and mostly staffed by young men, the commanding officers in these units were keen to see those under their control involved in sporting activities, 1) it filled in time and 2) it mostly kept them out of trouble.

An airbase was located at Narrandera which had a reasonable number of females on the staff. In July 1944 a group of these young women decided to play football against the local girls.  Initially they played a rugby league match then later a game of Australian Football against the locals or  ‘Narandera Glamour Girls’, as they were called.

The encounter was played on the Narrandera Sports Ground and preceded a game between Narrandera Imperials and the RAAF.  These matches were arranged in aid of the Victuallers’ Victory Girl (Miss Audrey Ward) , a local contestant in a talent quest.

The teams were made up of:

W.A.A.A.F. – A.C.W. Green, Cpl. Riddle, A.C.W. Cruickshanks, A.C.W. Bowen, Cpl. Dare, A.C.W. Sharp, A.C.W. Slender, A.C.W. Adams, A.C.W. A. Brennan, A.C.W. L. Bren nan, Cpl. Arbucle, Sergt. Fletcher, S./O. King, A.C.W. Flynn, A.C.W. Bowen, S./O Watson.

Glamour Girls: Barbara Cumming, Nancy Cumming, Joan Walsh, M. Walsh, M. Bynon, Mary Meyers, B. Wright, Dot Beggs, Isabella Hunt, Joyce Treloar, Lucy Lipscombe, Sybil Russell, Nellie Bratton, Polly Williams, Betty Hunt, Beryl Flynn.

Played in four quarters of 10 minutes each, under Association rules, play was fast and open.

Having had several practices, with coaching by Mr. A. T. Pattinson who was also the umpire, the Narrandera girls claimed to have acquired a good knowledge of the rules were confident of turning the tables on the service girls after their defeat in Rugby League.

A quick resume of the early part of the match was described in the Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser on 25 July:

“The play was fast and open. A.C.W. Cruickshanks opened the scoring with a point, and A.C.W. Green followed with a similar score, but at her next attempt the latter kicked a goal, making the score 8 to nil at the first change over. The Cumming sisters, by combining well, set an attack for the Glamour Girls, and Joyce Treloar and Lucy Lipscombe further consolidated the move, only to see S./O. King, A.C.W. Bowen and Sergt, Fletcher clear the goal.

The Glamour Girls were much more prominent in the second quarter. Dot Beggs, Nellie Bratton, D. Wright and Betty Hunt whipped the ball on to Polly Williams, who opened her team’s account with a goal, and afterwards evened the scores by kicking two more points— 8 all at half-time. Early in the third quarter Dot Beggs placed the Glamour Girls in the lead by kicking a point, but apparently this effort roused the WAAA.F. to determined action. Cpl. Dare sent the ball down the centre, and A.Q.W. Mutton grasped an opportunity to score a goal.”

The W.A.A.F. won the game 2-5 (17) to 2-4 (16).

Goals: W.A.A.F.:  A.C. W. Green & A.C.W. Mutton 1 goal each.  Glamour Girls: Polly Williams & Nellie Bratton 1 goal each.

Best: W.A.A.F.: A.C.W. Slender, Mutton, Green and  Cruickshanks, Sergt. Fletcher (captain), and Cpl. Dare.
Glamour Girls: Barbara and Nancy Cumming, Mary Meyers, Lucy Lipscombe (captain), Polly Williams and Dot Beggs.

The Narandera Citizens’ Band played selections during the afternoon, and helped to make the occasion more enjoyable.

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