The 40th Anniversary of the Bill Turner Cup

September 2, 2019

in News

By Greg Danvers

In 2019 we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Bill Turner Cup and recognise the contribution of our Partners, the many volunteers, supporters and the schools who have made this competition what is today.

The very first Bill Turner Cup was played in 1979 with the Bill Turner Trophy, then under the banner of CHS, first contested in 1991.

“Over the years the Bill Turner School Football competitions have evolved to the point where the competition is held in high regard in the Football community and is recognised as one of the largest team sport competitions in the world,” said Lloyd Turner, son of the late Bill Turner OA.

Belmont High and Whitebridge High contested that very first Final at Crystal Palace Wallsend, known in those days as the home of Football in the region.

Belmont’s road to Crystal Palace was rocky from the get-go handed a drubbing by Whitebridge in a per-competition trial game.

“I must have missed that game,” quipped goal keeper Mark ‘Scallop’ Williams who kept a clean sheet in the final.

Belmont’s progression was temporally halted in the Quarter Finals by West Wallsend until a search of a Macquarie Association Rep Team list uncovered an over-aged player.

“We had three choices: let it go, not complain, or we can protest,” recalled Belmont’s manger Mark Smith.

Smith had previously excluded from his squad several of his school’s players due to age in-eligibility.

Pictured below are Belmont High’s 1979 captain Mark Leatham, manager Mark Smith and ‘keeper Mark Williams with the inaugural Murray Wever Memorial Shield.

Bill Turner and his executive disqualified West Wallsend and re-instated Belmont High.

“We beat a very strong Wallsend in the semi-finals,” recounted Smith.

“The team that we beat in the final Whitebridge, coached by Grant Harrison a really good bloke and coach, they flogged us 8-1, in a trial.”

The involvement of Northern NSW legend Ken Kaiser, a former KB United coach in the NSL, had a profound impact on the results of Belmont High as they marched down the Road to Crystal Palace.

Leatham noted that both Belmont and Valentine clubs had strong teams. Valentine was where Leatham and Murray Wever, the goal scorer in Belmont High’s 1-0 win over Whitebridge High in 1979, both played on Saturdays during their junior days.

“It was a pretty solid comp, there was a lot of rivalry with the other teams, there was a bit of aggression in some of the games,” Mark Williams recalled of the road to Crystal Palace.

“There was not a lot left on the park. 

“I remember the night we won (the Final) that there was a school dance on, and I wanted to the get the game done because I had a new girlfriend and I just wanted to get there so another bloke stole her,” said Mark Leatham. 

Forty years on the three agreed it was great to see the evolution of Bill Turner Schools Football.

The finalists – Bill Turner Cup – Winners PDF and Bill Turner Trophy – Winners – PDF.

 

 

 

 

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