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Today's Tidbit... The 1909 Mount Allison Academy Spares
Located in Sackville, New Brunswick, Mount Allison is a member of the Maple League of Universities and is regularly rated as Canada’s top undergraduate university. Mount Allison Academy was a high school associated with the university that closed in 1958.
The postcard tells us the Academy team went 4-0 in 1909 playing football aka Canadian Rugby. Unfortunately, additional information about the team’s season could not be located, but the postcard has a few morsels worth digesting, specifically the roster listed in the upper corners.
Spliced together, we see the names and positions of eighteen team members, the manager, and the coach positioned between two sets of goal posts. The Academy team had four halfbacks, three quarterbacks, seven forwards, one fullback, and two spares.
Spares, it turns out, were substitute players as shown below in the lineups for the 1909 Grey Cup quarterfinal game between Ottawa and the Hamilton Tigers. Assuming Mount Allison played under similar rules as used in Grey Cup competition, fourteen players took the field -nine linemen and five backs- so two players labeled as backs on the postcard must have joined the forwards on the line, while two other backs sat on the bench.
Still, one has to wonder what H. B. Titus and C. T. MacLeod did to be considered spares and not receive position descriptions. Those with more knowledge of 1910-era Canadian Rugby, please weigh in.
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