It is likely that James Blaikie was watching on as a member of the small crowd before stepping in to help an undermanned Norwood team press on for a famous victory against West Adelaide at the Jubilee Oval in 1898.
W Heading Sept 2022, P Robins Feb 2023
Only a few more than half of the Norwood players had put in an appearance as the match got under way. West had a full team, if not quite its best, and was a strong favorite as it kicked with the wind in the first quarter. Norwood, however, attacked from the outset and led 1.10 to nil at quarter time.
Umpire Jack Woods had to pay many free kicks in a rough and tumble second quarter as Norwood moved further ahead, 2.13 to 0.3. The Advertiser said: “Many of the players were relieved to hear the half-time bell ring, and they presented a ludicrous sight as they limped and hobbled towards the pavilion”. After the break, Norwood was “slightly strengthened by the acquisition of one or two onlookers” and was never really threatened in achieving a meritorious win, 4.17 to 1.9.
Correspondence dated 17 August 1898 in the Norwood Football Club letter book 1897-1904 lists J. Blaikie as a player in this match. He may well have been one of the onlookers called in to boost the team. A Blaikie played football for Rose Park in 1899 and cricket for junior clubs Oxford and St Giles Guild between 1895 and 1898.
James Richard Blaikie was born in Adelaide on 16 December 1874. He was the eldest son of James Blaikie and the former Elizabeth Witherspoon Pringle. On 8 April 1903 at the Presbyterian manse, Kalgoorlie, young James married Mary Elizabeth (May), second daughter of the late John Clifford Tassell of Albany. They were living at North Kensington when their daughter Jean was born on 5 November 1907
James was a popular figure in the business life of Broken Hill when he resigned as accountant to Messrs White and Hosier in September 1928 to return to Adelaide because of his wife’s indifferent health. He had been with the firm for 21 years and was for 17 years a director of the Broken Hill and Suburban Gas Company. He was one of the city’s leading cricket umpires and served on the appeals committee of the Barrier Ranges Football Association.
James joined the Norwood Bowling Club and was active as a player and servant, principally as secretary from 1935 to 1941. In 1939 he gave the Norwood Football Club trophy for best forward play, won by Ron Brown.
May Blaikie died on 27 December 1933 and James took a new wife, Charlotte Bayly, in 1935. His daughter Jean married Garfield Needs and they celebrated the arrival of twins, a boy and a girl, in December 1936.
James Blaikie died at his home at 2A Hewitt Avenue, Rose Park, on 3 February 1951.