Northcote Baseball Club - The early years

Although not a member of either A or B Grade baseball Northcote did play a practice match against Richmnond which saw them lost 19/13.
1908 - B Grade
Northcote started the season well with four straight wins before falling to St. Kilda, 17-11.  Northcote also enjoyed a victory against University, who were previously undefeated.  Blundell pitched well for Northcote.   This match was not considered as a pennet match as University could only field five players and Northcote used a Fitzroy player!  It was a sign of the sometimes adhoc nature of these matches that Northcote was to face Training College the next day (which they won 6-5).  Other teams in B Grade at the time include Royal Australian Artillery, as well as the more expected teams such as East Melbourne, Collingwood, Carlton, South Melbourne, etc. 
Northcote Club 1910 -
1910 - B Grade
Brunswick playing Northcote at Northcote Park. 
Northcote defeated North Melbourne with Brown, Begg, Robinson and Bailey dominating (20-3). 
Northcote crushed St. Kilda (23-1),Carlton (7-2), South Melbourne (19-6) but fell to Melbourne (10-1) .  In August Northcote and Collingwood were fourth place.  Melbourne came out as champions, Northcote falling to Collingwood in the semi-finals.
1911 - B Grade & C Grade
By now the competition had increased to 30 teams, Northcote played in toth the B and C grades.  In Northcote B Grade the first match was unfinished, Northcote trailing 20-16.  In May Northcote won a low scoring against North Melbourne with Begg, Robinson and Bailey starring.  Melbourne thrashed Northcote 16-3, not unexpected as Melbourne were the reigning Premiers.  However Northcote did beat South Melbourne, the by now familiar names of Begg and Robinson identified as being Northcote's best players.   Playing in both B and C Grade stretched Northcote and in September the C Grade team forfeited after failing to raise a full team.
1912 - B Grade & C Grade
Northcote continued to field both B and C Grade teams and in June the B Graders fell to East Melbourne 4-2 although the C Grade Team comfortably beat Collingwood 8-3.  The B Grade team were also defeated by Williamstown, Essendon and Melbourne.  By the end of the season Northcote sat bottom of the league with only 3 wins from 15 matches, a far cry from reaching the semi finals only two years before.
1913 - B Grade
Northcote started well in May with a victory over North Melbourne 6-2.  Robinson's pitching was notable as was the batting of Begg.  May also sweet revenge against Williamston with a 24-1 victory. And the wins kept coming, a lucky win over Hawthorn, 11-10 was as much due to the many errors of Hawthorn as to Northcote's superiority.   Not surprisingly the key plays for Northcote were Robinson, Begg and Bailey.  A win over Port Melbourne completed a great May for Northcote.  By the end of June Northcote was sitting comfortably on top of the table.  In a remarkable turn around from the previous season they played 20 games and won 18 with 1 loss and 1 draw.
1914 - A Grade
Northcote promoted to A Grade as after winning B Grade in 1913. Northcote lost 8-2 in their first A Grade match but showed promise.  Nelson the St. Kilda star pitcher proving too good for them.  Club President W. S. Stott unfurled Northcote's Premier Pennant but it wasn't enough to prevent a narrow defeat again Fitzroy.  The following week the lost to Collingwood despite a strong game by Billings.  However by the end of the month they had their first A Grade win, over East Melbourne.  Robinson, Begg and Gibaud contributed strongly to the 12-8 victory.  By the end of the season they had won 7 matches and were considered to have done a good job for their first A Grade season.  Top players were Froebel, Bailey and Robinson with Billings being the stand out in the field.
1915 -  A Grade
Northcote has some good performances for the year with a convincing 18-0 defeat of North Melbounre in June, Beggs and Billing batting well.  Later in the season Northcote again beaten North Melbourne (8-3) in a crucial semi-final match, setting them up for a potential finals position.   All they needed to do was defet Prahran.  The match was even until the sixth innings but then Northcote fell apart and Prahran was through to the finals.   Begg, Hayes and Bailey were Northcote's best players.   This year was notable for the fact that a number of teams left Baseball League to form the Baseball Union.  Northcote remained in the League.
1916- A Grade
Northcote gained revenge for their semi-final defeat in the previous year by narrowly defeating Prahran.  Begg and Brown dominated for Northcote.  A week earlier Northcote had defeated an understrength North Melbourne, with Northcote's team described as '...a team of reliable sluggers,' who 'showed little mercy to the opposition.'  By mid June Northcote was leading the table, enjoying a narrow win over Williamstown in June.  Malvern and Prahran being the other stand out teams by the end of August.  After patchy form through the semi finals Northcote was left runners up after a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Prahran.  In a poignant note, Frank Lugton, one of Northcote's team members was killed in action after enlisting in the AIF.  Lugton was also a prominant cricketer, having already established himself at a leading Victorian player and played football for the Melbourne Football Club.
1917 - A Grade
Under the captaincy of Begg Northcote claimed the premiership pennant, their first for A Grade. 
Northcote had started the season well with a big win over Williamstown.  As well as the Begg and Gibaud, they had Tom Purvis formerly of Melbourne and Val Crawley, a good pitcher.  By the end of June Northcote had won all seven matches it had played.  Not everything worked out smoothly for Northcote.   The match against Flemington in July was played in chaos as the umpire failed to show up and the teams were forced to press gang a spectator into umpiring.  With much time lost the Northcote batsmen tried to get themselves out whilst Flemington tried desperately not to get anyone out.
By the end of August Northcote was undefeated with fourteen wins.  The team was noted for the strength of its batting with the Gibaud brothers preeminent.  Crawley was their best pitcher. The final was played against old rivals Melbourne with Northcote coming out winners 12-7.  The team had remained undefeated all year.
At the end of September the team played Fitzroy, the premiers of the Union League, to determine the State championship.   For some unexplained reason, Begg sat on this match and Fitzroy was able to squeeze out a narrow victory in his absence.  It was their own loss of the season.
1918 - A Grade
Any hope of back to back premiership disappeared after a disappointing defeat to the Y.M.C.A. in the semi-finals in August.  Up until this point they had only lost two matches, both against Essendon.
1919 - A Grade
In May Malvern narrowly defeated Northcote.  Newer players were now taking over at Northcote, including Beckefeld and Burnley.  Preston was now playing League games and their undefeated run include a 10-6 victory over Northcote.  On the other hand May also brought Northcote revenge over the Y.M.C.A. with a  17-8 win. Northcote crushed North Melbourne 19-0 in early June followed by a win against Essendon (15-13), with the Gibaud brothers contributing strongly.  Northcote's topsy-turvey season continued with a late June defeat at the hands of Williamstown.   They bounced back thrashing Preston 20-9 which left them in equal third place with Williamstown.
Further victories saw Northcote play off against Malvern for the Premiership. A 6-5 victory saw Northcote become the Champions for the second time in three years.  The Thompson brothers and the Gibaud brothers were becoming the new stalwarts of the team.

Baseball.  First Grade.  The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. 1861-1954), 10 August 1907, p.4
Baseball. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957), 9 September 1907, p.4
Baseball.  Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. 1869-1954), 30 May 1908, p.19
Baseball. Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. 1856 - 1954), 23 April 1910, p.3
North Melbourne Courier and West Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. 1895-1913), May 6 1910, p.3
Umpire's mistake at Northcote.  Winner (Melbourne, Vic. 1914-1917), 2 June 1915, p. 7
Baseball. The Preston Leader (Vic. 1914-1918), 2 May 1914, p.5 also 16 May, p.5
Annual meeting at the Peacock Hotel  Baseball. Northcote Club.  The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1948-1957), 10 March 1915, p.3
Baseball. Sensational pitching at Hawthorn. The Age (Melbourne, Vic. 1854-1954), 11 May 1920 1930, p.10
Premiers 1929  - Baseball commences. Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. 1922-1954), 30 April 1930, p.7
Baseball.  The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. 1861-1954), 27 August 1915, p.2
Baseball. Northcote Leader (Vic. 1914-1918), 27 May 1916, p.3
Baseball. Home runs plentiful in Melbourne Games.  Winner (Melbourne, Vic. 1914-1917), 17 May 1916, p.8
Casualties in France.  The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957), 11 September 1916, p.8
Baseball.  Union Team Succeeds.  Leader (Melbourne, Vic. 1861-1919), 29 September 1917, p.26
Baseball.  Preston Leader (Vic. 1914-1918) 19 May 1917, p.3
Baseball. Race for positions of First Division Teams. Winner (Melbourne, Vic. 1914-1917), 25 July 1917, p.6
Baseball.  League final played.  The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. 1861-1954), 8 September 1917, p.3
Baseball.  Northcote Leader (Vic. 1914-1918), 17 August 1918, p.3
League.  The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. 1861-1954), 7 June 1919, p.3
Baseball. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848-1957), 16 June 1919, p. 6