Where Can I Watch The National Championship Football Game Fog, Rain, Gales, Lightening, Swaying Power Lines and a Blackout and Schoolboy Aussie Rules

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Fog, Rain, Gales, Lightening, Swaying Power Lines and a Blackout and Schoolboy Aussie Rules

Regional teams from across Queensland arrived at the Toowoomba Exhibition Grounds on Friday afternoon, excited and eager to compete in the 11th National High School Championships and play and watch some “good Footy”. The opening games were played under lights, something the boys loved to experience. But it was not to be. Toowoomba’s pleasant weather that night was terrifying and downright dangerous.

Before the start of the championship, a conference of visiting officials was held. After all the paperwork is completed; arranging accommodation and distribution of printed programmes, Darling Downs officials informed the visiting officials that a bus to transport the two teams that had not been set up. However, no driver has been appointed or provided to bus players to and from hostels outside Toowoomba during the championship. The championship manager asked if any visiting officials had a bus permit. One teacher trainer stated that he had such a license. He was asked if he would drive the bus because one of the teams was, in fact, his team. So he drove the bus transporting his team, Brisbane South and the Gold Coast team. If he had known what he was up to that first night, he certainly wouldn’t have answered.

The opening night of the carnival, played at the Toowoomba Show Grounds, was a night of extremes. Toowoomba, at its best in winter, is a very cold place in Queensland at night. Before the first night game, the weather turned nasty. As the night approached, the temperature dropped quickly and at the siren that started, it was freezing cold. But that was not all. Then a thick fog enveloped the field so much that the referees could not see the goals at either end as they stood in the timing room on the center wing. They only knew that the goal had been scored when the ball bounced into the middle. It’s a real miracle how the players managed to keep up with the game.

. The teacher remembers this about these championships.

Toowoomba showed very little sympathy for the game with a wintry spell leaving the Show Grounds shrouded in thick fog for much of the game. There are numerous stories of one of the referees rushing near the coaches’ boxes and advising the teacher/coaches to head to the far wing where a player was injured for most of the quarter.

The fog was so thick that no one could see the injured player. He was seriously injured. But he has a great story to tell his grandchildren.

Officiating in such a game was really not the easiest job. That first night, the two referees had great difficulty controlling the game until the lights went out. But the weather got even worse!

This fog was followed by heavy, windy rain that swept across the exhibition grounds. The light towers of the exhibition area were connected by long, suspended power lines. As lightning and thunder boomed throughout the storm, the wind grew stronger and stronger to violent proportions. This caused the electric light wires between the poles to swing randomly. Sparks began to fly as the wire touched. Eventually, when they got really tangled up, they put the whole system together. The exhibition grounds fell into complete darkness. The remaining games that were scheduled that night were postponed because the lighting system could not be repaired until the storm subsided.

The drama did not end there. The nominated bus driver had to transport himself and the Gold Coast team to their hostel after the games were called off. Driving a bus through a violent storm on a narrow winding unknown mountain road proved to be a great feat of human endeavour. He was forced to drive very slowly and carefully considering his responsibility to ensure that both teams of teenagers arrived safely. Sometimes the visibility was so bad; he had to get off the bus to see if he was on his way! On one occasion, he had to negotiate a fallen tree. Whenever that championship in Toowoomba is mentioned, he reminds his audience that his experience that night was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life.

Despite that night and the need for some teams to play two games the next day, the championships were still great successes. The championship ended on a high note for the Darling Downs supporters as their team won their first ever championship game on the final day of the championship.

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