League football resumed in South Australia in 1919 after a three year break due to World War 1. Norwood, having finished last for three years prior to the War and having lost many due to enlistment, recognised future success was dependent on the quality of junior footballers available in the district.
The B grade committee was given the task of scouring the area for prospects. One club that came under notice was East United. In 1918 they had played in the Adelaide Imperial Association and emerged undefeated premiers. A young ruckman, Cecil Thomas, had won their best all round player award and was invited to participate in Norwood's pre-season trials.
In the first trial, playing for Norwood B against Norwood A, he played in defence and made such an impact he was chosen in the A side the following week. This in turn led to his selection in the league side against West Adelaide in the first round. He was to hold down this position as a defender for the rest of the season.
In 1919 Norwood fared no better than in the immediate pre-war years, winning only one game and finishing last. In this struggling side Thomas did attract some positive feedback from reporters.
In a game against North, he was described as speedy, a reliable high mark and showing great promise. Later in a game against West Adelaide it was reported that his high marking and good, long kicking was of incalculable value to his side.
Thomas returned for the 1920 season but new and intense competition for places saw him lose his spot early in the year. Newspapers reported that Norwood had 90 juniors vying for selection. Former players, Stephens, Townsend and Reverend, “Red-Wing’ Perry had at last returned from war service and new country recruits, notably Basil and Walter Scott from Stirling, had joined the club. Nonetheless, the contribution made by Cecil Thomas during the challenging 1919 season must be acknowledged
B Ridge Oct 2020