September 21 1935

Otago win Shield for first time.

Otago had first challenged for the Ranfurly Shield in 1904 and finally succeeded in 1935. It would be fifteen years before other unions were able to lift the Shield from either Otago or its neighbour Southland

Another thrilling exhibition of Rugby, very fast and exciting. Ideal conditions enticed 17,000 to crowd Lancaster Park. Otago were speedier back and forward, and being extremely fit attacked from start to finish. The forwards and backs combined to fine purpose, and there was no doubt about the merit of the victory. Deavoll opened with a penalty goal. 3-0; Trevathan, although hemmed in by forwards, shook himself free for a moment, and drop kicked a magnificent goal from 35 yards. 3-4. Otago retained the lead thus gained. The blue forwards rushed upfield, and sent the ball out to the backs, Watt scoring in the corner. 3-7. McAuliffe kicked a penalty right on halftime. 6-7,

The Otago pack broke away, Green kicking ahead and falling on the ball over the line, Trevathan converting. 6-12. The writing was on the wall, and it was Otago now all the way. McFarland ran through from fullback and passed to Quaid who scored. Trevathan’s kick hit the post. 6-15. Otago had won the Ranfurly Shield for the first time, after ten attempts since 1904.

Canterbury: I. L. Behrnes; R. Brown, J. G. Poison, C. H. McPhail; K. S. Mortlock, G. J. Gaskin; J. J. McAuliffe (Capt.); J. G. Rankin, G. W. Thompson, W. Sweeney, G. J. Howell, H. Deavoll, J. 0. HattersIey, R. B. Burke, R. Thompson. S. G. Henry replaced Mortlock in the second spell.

Otago: W. J. McFarland; A. C. Proctor*, H. A. Smith* (capt.), J. M. Watt; D. Trevathan, C. C. Gillies; C. K. Saxton; R. W. Nieper, F. J. Green, A. A. Parkhill, E. E. Murphy, L. J. Niven, C. E. Quaid, W. R. Laney. G. R. McDonald. T. G. Gold replaced Proctor late in the game.

The referee was Mr E. A. Empson of Canterbury.”

From “Ranfurly Shield Rugby” by A H Carman. Published 1960, revised 1967 by A H & A W Reed, p 127-128..
“Those of us born and raised in other parts of New Zealand, or from later generations, can gain an insight into this rare rugby atmosphere from people who played in it like Brushy Mitchell or Dunedin’s outstanding sports commentator lain Gallaway, who in those years was an impressionable, hero-worshipping youth. But there are other means to aid the imagination, for the Dunedin rugby of the time has been celebrated in the loftier flights of the nation’s literature. One of the best short stories written in this country is “The Big Game” penned by one, A.P. Gaskell. This concentrates on the build-up for the season’s championship final between University and a Southern side led by one of Otago rugby’s celebrated characters All Black Jackie Hore. The buildup is seen through the eyes of one of the University players, a student living in a hostel. It is a brilliant invocation of the Dunedin of the time, and the large roles rugby and the university itself had to play in the city’s affairs. The atmosphere of that fine old rugby ground, Cans- brook, is superbly captured. You can almost sniff the embrocation in its dressing rooms or the mud from its trim turf. You can almost feel the crispness of Dunedin’s winter air and see the late afternoon mists rising.

So it was to an already fertile rugby territory that the Ranfurly Shield came to act as such a dramatic catalyst in the mid 1930s.

Otago took the Shield for the first time in most emphatic style, beating Canterbury on Lancaster Park 15-6, scoring three tries to none with the big kicking, powerful first-five Dave Trevathan adding the other points with his boot. A phenomenal drop kicker, the first in New Zealand’s history, he potted one goal with his back to the Canterbury line and this was the first of many he was to land for Otago over the next few seasons in Shield rugby. The winning Otago team was: W.J. McFarland; A.C. Proctor, H.A. Smith .captain), J.M. Watt; D. Trevathan, C.C. Gillies; C.K. Saxtori; R.W. Nieper, F.J. Green, A.A. Parkhill, E.E. Murphy, L.J. Niven, C.E. Quaid, W.R. Laney, G.R. McDonald, T.G. Gold replaced Proctor ate in the match.

This lineup illustrated Otago’s vast playing riches. It was without two All Blacks, Hore and “Did Vorrath who were on their way to Britain by then. Its only capped All Blacks then were Proctor and Smith in the three-quarters. But men like Watt, Gillies, Trevathan, Saxton, Parkhill and Quaid would later gain the honour And two other men who had been in the reserves that day, fullback Jack Taylor and halfback Harry Simon, would also become All Blacks.

Laney, one of the forwards, was a New Zealand Universities representative. He later became a school teacher at Waitaki Boys High School, was for many years Oamaru’s mayor and for a term a member of parliament in the Labour government from 1972-75.

Otago then kept the shield over the summer and on August 1, 1936, came the first challenge from the neighbour with whom its shield fortunes over the next several years would be linked. Together Otago and Southland gave the shield a dimension it had never previously known. More than any other areas, it was Otago and Southland who made shield matches something more than a mere sporting contest. They added a festival flavor, occasions to involve the entire communities with parades and processions. Their border clashes were something similar to the incredible, FA Cup final atmosphere Eden Park experienced in 1979 when Auckland and Counties met.”

David Trevathan - drop kick specialist.

From “SHIELD FEVER” by Lindsay Knight. Pub. 1980 by Rugby Press Ltd p 48-49.