Tuesday, November 10, 2015

10 November 1899 - All's Fair In Football And War

On 10 November 1899, British forces in South Africa during the Second Boer War had a football match interrupted by an artillery shell. The shell did no damage, but allowed one of the teams to sneak a goal amid the confusion.

The match took place at the parade ground of the Gordon Highlanders near Ladysmith in the British Colony of Natal, South Africa. The Gordons were playing against a team from a local Natal regiment. After only two minutes of play, a 90-lb artillery shell launched by Boer forces from a nearby ridge flew over the players' heads and exploded harmlessly near the far side of the pitch.

One of the Gordons took advantage of the confusion caused by the explosion to score a goal against his distracted opponents. The Natal players understandably objected, to which the Gordons later responded by sending a letter to the Football Association. Their complaint was that the rules at the time did not allow for any such objections. There is no record of a reply from the FA.

The Gordon Highlanders went on to later success, with their regimental team winning the 1890 Irish Cup.

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