August 31, 2005

Grey Cup Memories: 1912

1912 – Hamilton Alerts 11, Toronto Argonauts 4

McGill University ended Varsity's reign as Grey Cup champions in 1912, but refused to challenge for the trophy because the students didn't want to take time away from their studies.

It was up to either the Hamilton Alerts or Toronto Argonauts to claim the Dominion championship of 1912, although this almost didn't happen. The game was delayed for about an hour as a groundskeeper forgot to provide a game ball to the combatants. Someone finally kicked in a locked dressing room door, and recovered the only available football.

Many did not give the Alerts much of a chance to win the game, but those in attendance at the Hamilton Cricket Grounds were treated to the first upset in Grey Cup history. The Alerts took the lead in the opening quarter on a pair of rouges.

The Argonauts best opportunity for a touchdown came in the second quarter when Tout Leckie mishandled a punt behind Hamilton's goal line. The Argonauts swarmed the ball, ready to pounce on it for a touchdown when an Alert player appeared out of nowhere and kicked it behind the dead line for a safety. Hamilton added a pair of rouges to take a 4-2 lead into halftime.

Penalties against the Alerts gave the Argonauts a number of chances in the second half, but Toronto could not capitalize. Hamilton scored the only touchdown of the game in the third quarter when Ross Craig bucked through the line between the goal posts. The try was converted to give the Alerts an 11-2 lead.

The Argonauts went on to score a couple of rouges in the fourth quarter, but were simply no match for the Alerts on this day.

It was the final game the Alerts ever played, as they were expelled by the Ontario Rugby Football Union for acting in a manner detrimental to the interests of the union. The Alerts decided to use junior players to replay a protested playoff game against the Toronto Rowing and Athletic Club, opting to use their regulars in a game against the Tigers for the Hamilton city championship. Many of the Alerts joined the Tigers the following season.