September 26, 2005

Grey Cup Memories: 1927

1927 – Balmy Beach 9, Hamilton Tigers 6

In one of the biggest surprises in the 18-year history of the Grey Cup, Balmy Beach took home football's Holy Grail after failing to win the title in 1924. Once again it was an all-eastern final after the Regina Roughriders decided not challenge for the championship because of the long delay between their last league game and the Canadian final.

Fans were enthusiastic about the renewal of the Toronto-Hamilton rivalry, as the 13,676 in attendance fell just short of a Grey Cup record. Conditions were less than ideal, with a steady rain commencing at noon and continuing until halftime. The field became a muddy swampland, as the players had difficulty with their footing.

The Hamilton Tigers were expected to dominate given the number of injuries Balmy Beach players suffered in earlier games. Hamilton, however, faced a deficit right from the opening kickoff. Tim Langway received the ball, and intended to kick it right back to Balmy Beach. But Langway took one too many steps, and Ernie Crowhurst blocked the ball back over the Hamilton goal line. Following a mad dash for the soggy pigskin, Langway knocked the ball past the dead ball line, giving up a single point.

The Tigers then received the ball on their own 25-yard line. Jerry Timmis fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Beach on the Hamilton 20. Three plays later, Alex Ponton took the ball around the end and over the Tigers' line for an easy score.

Hamilton continued to be just ordinary for the remainder of the half. Yip Foster booted three rouges in the second quarter, as Balmy Beach took a 9-0 lead into halftime.

The Tigers looked like their former selves in the third quarter. Pep Leadlay kicked a single, and then kicked an onside kick deep in Beach's territory which Tebor McKelvey caught for a touchdown.

But Red Moore took away all the energy Hamilton had with one play. Leadlay booted the ball over the Beach's goal line for an apparent single, but Moore caught the ball, cut through a number of Tiger tacklers and ran the ball to the 30-yard line. Given the change of field position and the momentum switch, this was the play which ultimately saved the day for Balmy Beach.

Hamilton had one last opportunity to tie the score and force overtime as Leadlay attempted a field goal but the ball landed just under the crossbar. Moore ran it out of danger, and a few moments later Balmy Beach celebrated victory.