Kevin Day writes: On Fathers’ Day this year I was given the book ‘Uncommon Heroes’ by John Ellicott. I was particularly interested in the chapter on Group 9 and the history of the Maher Cup.
In 1959 I was working for the Electricity Commission of NSW. We were building a wood pole transmission line from Murrumburrah to Boorowa. I was sent from Sydney in late March to work there for 3 months at the construction depot. I was 22 at the time. I was able to secure board with a Mrs Franklin and her grandson I think his name was Reg. The house was at the entrance to the Murrumburrah Showground.
I had been playing junior league football in Sydney, with Renown United in the St.George competition, we had some success in the C and B grades.
I was in the Murrumburrah Hotel one night when a couple of guys connected to the junior league club I belonged to in Sydney came through (they had a horse with them and were on their way to the races somewhere down that way). They mentioned to whoever was there that I had played junior football in the same team as Reg. Gasnier, who was making a name for himself at the time. After that I was approached to have a game, which I did, and the rest is history.
In Sydney I had been playing lock, but as the captain coach Matt Grenfell was the Harden lock, he played me in the centres. All up I think I played in six games in both Group 9 and the Maher Cup before having to return to Sydney. I remember the following games: Sunday 17 May against Barmedman, won 19-8; Sunday 24 May against Boorowa; Maher Cup 30 May against Coota 17-8; Sunday 31 May v Junee 40-7; and 6 June Maher Cup aganst Gundagai 10-3.
I was only a team player (no star) I enjoyed playing and hope I contributed in a small way to the teams success at that time. It was not until many years later that I was made aware of what I had been part of, and how good that team was.
On 13 September 1958 Harden won the Cup from Wyalong and defended it for the entire 1959 season – continuously for some 27 Saturdays until 2 July 1960. This is an all time Maher Cup record. Of course the team had also to back up for tough Group 9 games every Sunday. When Kevin Day was in Murrumburrah it was in the relatively early days of that incredible run.
Below are two clippings from the Harden-Murrumburrah Express of 4 June 1959.