Sunday, September 28, 2014

North Hobart has a long history as a soccer venue

North Hobart, the venue for today’s double-header featuring Tasmania against Melbourne Victory Youth at 12.15pm, followed by the A-League pre-season clash between heavyweights Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at 3pm, is no stranger to soccer.
Back in 1923, it was the scene of China’s 2-1 win over Tasmania.
Two years later, Tasmania lost to South Australia there 4-3.
South Hobart Oval then became the preferred venue for quite a few years.
It was back to North Hobart in 1951, when England beat Tasmania 11-0 before a crowd of 5,742.
England also played at York Park in Launceston on that tour, where they won 17-0.
Hong Kong were the next visiting side to play at North Hobart and they beat Tasmania 6-4.
Hong Kong played there again in 1955, winning 11-2 against Tasmania.
In 1957, the Hungarian side, Ferencvaros, played an Australian XI, containing five Tasmanians, at North Hobart.
It was 2-2 at half-time, but Ferencvaros scraped home 3-2.  There were just over 3,000 in attendance.
The referee was Norm Evans, who was killed when hit by a cricket ball in a game at South Hobart Oval some years later.Scottish club Heart of Midlothian, generally known as Hearts, beat Tasmania 10-0 at North Hobart in 1959.
Chelsea toured Australia in 1965 and they thrashed Tasmania 12-0 at North Hobart that year.
An English FA XI were the next visitors to play at North Hobart and they beat Tasmania 8-0, with the pitch marked out from the Ryde Street end towards Ridges Hotel, which in those days, was the Blind and Deaf Institute.  Generally, the pitch ran from the Argyle Street end to the Letitia Street end, as it will be today.
Apart from North Hobart, visiting sides have also played at South Hobart Oval, Queenborough, the TCA Ground, Grove Road (now KGV Park), the Showgrounds, York Park and the Elphin Showgrounds.
The last big game at North Hobart was in 1993, when Gary Lineker’s Nagoya Grampus Eight beat Tasmania 3-0.
In more recent times, the Tasmanian under-21s have played A-League youth sides at North Hobart.
In 2008, Tasmania Under-21s beat Melbourne Victory Youth 1-0 before 1,500, the goal coming from Mark Ambrose.
Milos Lujic, who played for South Melbourne Hellas against South Hobart last weekend, was in that Melbourne Victory Youth side.  Hugh Ludford was in the Tasmanian side and last weekend was the second time they had confronted each other.
Also in 2008 at North Hobart, Tasmania’s Under-21s beat Brisbane Roar Youth 1-0 through a goal by Danny White before a crowd of 900.
Today’s double-header offers a top-notch programme and anything less than 10,000 would be disappointing at this notable venue.

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