History of sport 1904 – 1959

Alberton’s most capped rugby Springbok of all times Kevin de Klerk with 13 tests, in action for Transvaal (nowadays Golden Lions) of which he became president in 2010.

HISTORY of sport in Alberton formed an integral part of the history of the town and the country. Therefore, the political, economic and sport climate in the country affected sport in Alberton in a big way, as reflected by the milestones over the first 55 years of the town’s 110 years history.

In chronological order from the beginning in 1904, the historical sport highlights in Alberton’s history were inter-linked with the history of the time and ran like a golden thread through it:

1904 – Alberton’s 110 years sport history started when the town was named after General Alberts in the founding year.

1905 – During the period from 1904 to 1912, there were only about 15 families who settled in the Alberton holdings, therefore, sport activities were almost non-existent. However, some international sport events gripped the attention at that time.

1906 –The very first Springbok rugby team of Paul Roos played abroad in the Springbok jersey, a jersey worn since 1958 by a few special Alberton men.

1908 – The fourth Olympic Games took place in White City London and 52 year later the first Alberton sportsman Aalwyn du Plessis would present SA in the Olympic Games in Rome.

1912 – Alberton Rugby Club was officially established on March 20, 1912 with 36 members and Jack van Rensburg, first chairman, and Jan Coetzee, first secretary.

1913 – Alberton’s first rugby team was captained by Piet Fick and coached by Carl Harmse.

1914 – Still in the founding years of Alberton rugby, the team played against experienced clubs such as Pirates, Crown Mines, Diggers, ERPM and Simmer and Jack.

1915 – From 1915, a difficult period for sport and rugby in Alberton, due to World War One and fixture cancellations.

1916 – The difficult period for sport continued due to the Spanish flu epidemic and clubs could not field full teams.

1917 – Due to World War Two, when men were called for war services, sport clubs battled to field teams and often had to withdraw.

1921 – The looming mining strike in 1922 badly affected sport in the town and full members’ subscriptions could not be maintained.

1922 – The Administrators Cup schools rugby competition, today known as the “Beeld” Trophy, started and since the fifties Alberton high schools are an integral part of this competition on Saturday mornings in town.

1923 – The second Comrades marathon took place and was won by Arthur Newton for the second time, a race which since 1982 became the main event on the calendar for Alberton road runners.

1924 – National radio broadcasts started in 1923 and could also be heard in Alberton, but did not affect sport in the town.

1925 – Wits University and Benoni joined Alberton rugby for the first time in the leagues, with Pretoria sub-unions dominating all leagues that year.

1926 – Inter-country tennis championships started in England, the home of Wimbledon, and the forerunner for the formation of tennis leagues later in the world, including Alberton where there are three tennis clubs today: Alberhart, Alberton and Bracken.

1927 – Ellis Park was approved as the official home of the Transvaal Rugby Football Union, which it is still today, with Alberton Springbok Kevin de Klerk as President.

1928 – The first All Blacks rugby team from Maurice Brownlee toured in South Africa and Alberton rugby supporters were in seventh heaven when Transvaal beat them.

1929 – Wally Hayward prepared for his first of five Comrades wins in 1930, and the annual Wally Hayward marathon in May is nowadays a highlight on the road running calendar of many Alberton runners in preparation for Comrades.

1930 – The first Soccer World Cup took place and was won by Uruguay, and in the next 84 years two Alberton young men, Alberton-born Hans Vonk from Netherlands and Bradley Carnell would play for Bafana Bafana’s Soccer World Cup squad. Glen Salmon missed the 2010 World Cup due to injuries.

1931 –The development of sport clubs in Alberton was heavily affected by the big drought from 1930 to1932.

1932 – Another negative effect on Alberton sport development was the world depression in the early thirties.

1933 – Alberton Rugby Club started playing in white and black blocks.

1934 – About 34 years before the establishment of the first Alberton soccer club, the second soccer World Cup was won by Italy in Paris, the first of four tournament victories until today.

1935 – Albeton’s first rugby Springbok Johan Steenekamp (1958) was born on September 2, 1935 and played u.19 rugby for Alberton.

1936 – Motor fundi Jimmy Hills settled in Alberton and was on the forefront when motorsport disciplines and motorcycles made Alberton the mecca of the sport from Berts Garage in Voortrekker Road from the 30s to the 50s.

1936 – The period of the Great Trek 100 year’s celebrations, which were also celebrated 51 years later in Alberton with the Great Trek sport festival.

1937 – Arguably the best Springbok rugby team of all times, the 1937 Springboks of Benny Osler, beat the All Blacks 2-1 in the series and rugby fans at home savoured every moment.

1938 – Newmarket Racecourse, a landmark in Alberton, was established in 1938 and celebrated its 50th anniversary on September 29, 1988. Since then it made place for big business where Makro is today.

1939 – Alberton Amateur Boxing club was founded and celebrated its golden jubilee 50 years later in the Barry Vorster hall.

1940 – Due to the world war, these were a lack of players and Alberton had to amalgamate with Germiston, but it ended in 1942.

1941 – Die eerste SA Jukskeitoernooi vind in Kroonstad plaas en vir die volgende 73 jaar sou dit die hoogtepunt van die jaar vir alle Alberton jukskeispelers wees.

1942 – Piet Pretorius captained Alberton rugby first team, with Jan de Klerk vice-captain.

1943 – From 1943 Alberton Rugby Club started playing official league rugby, and that was the last year they played at their fields near the old railway station.

1944 – Theo Sauermann, who represented South Africa as prop forward in Australia in 1971 and five tests overall, was born on November 16, 1944.

1945 – The year 1945 was a record year for the number of spectators at provincial and club rugby games in T.R.F.U.

1945 – Dawid Booysen, een van Alberton se grootste veldatlete van alle tye as nasionale diskuskampioen en Springbok in die sestigerjare, is gebore op 25 September 1946.

1947 – Alberton Rugby Club was promoted to the Pirates Grand Challenge League second division.

1948 – Alberton rugby played since 1946 to 1965, including 1948, in gold and maroon jerseys.

1949 – The Piet Fick-Stadium inaugurated the previous year, became the official rugby home of Alberton.

1950 – Kevin de Klerk, Alberton’s greatest rugby Springbok with 13 tests, was born on June 6, 1950.

1951 – Judo club was very active in Alberton in the fifties and on the boxing scene, Bennie Niewenhuizen and D du Plessis became Alberton’s first National boxing champions.

1952 – Willie Smith took over the reigns as chairman of Alberton Boxing Club from Jack Pienaar.

1953 – Water polo was actively practiced at the Wally Bosworth swimming pool, with Messers Parks, Bosworth and Jubber the coaches those days.

1954 – A big swimming gala in the Alberton swimming pool was one of the first items of the Alberton half century festival in the first week of November.

1954 – SA Commonwealth games swimmer Natalie Myburgh in action in Alberton.

1955 – Jukskei flourished in Alberton, when Flip Engelbrecht (later mayor of Alberton) joined the club in 1955, and under his team management Southern Transvaal dominated the jukskei scene.

1956 – Lorraine Theron, who captained Hoërskool Alberton in 1956 and 1958 as a flank, became the first ever Alberton provincial schools player and made his debut against Western Transvaal.

1957 – The Blue Mill (Bloumeul) a landmark in Alberton North presented their third anniversary fishing competition.

1958 – Charles Sam, first Head boy of Alberton Primary, Alberton’s first ever sport Springbok to the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, was honoured by the then Mayor of Alberton, Mr. Hans Moolman. Alberton Amateur Wrestling Club was founded in 1958.

1959 – Alberton rugby obtained official Pirates Grand Challenge first league status, and Alberton’s first Springbok Johan Steenekamp captained Transvaal, while hooker Jaap Wessels toured with the Junior Springboks in Argentina.

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