Season 1912/13 - The prelude to Hamrun’s first major honour

The 1912/13 season left yet another bitter taste in the Spartans’ camp, since for the 2nd consecutive season they finished runners-up in the league, two points beneath the super Floriana squad of the time and two points ahead of Sliema Wanderers who finished in third place. Worth to mention during this season is one of the earliest recorded encounters between Hamrun Spartans and the Citizens of the then Valletta United. It came to no surprise that after the electric Floriana encounters, the match against Valletta was an another intensely contested match even in these early days of Maltese football, both on and off the pitch! One of the first recorded matches was played in the 1912/13 season and took place on the 3rd of November 1912. Both sets of supporters were packed like sardines at the Mile-End ground, which was packed to capacity. The formations presented by Hamrun Spartans and Valletta United were the following;

Hamrun Spartans: Borg, Callus, Wimshurst, Psaila, Ellul, Cricciola, Darmanin, Troisi, McAllister, Hicks and Dimech.

Valletta United: Bartolo, Busuttil, Sghendo, Borg, Miruzzi, Zammit, Caruana, Fiteni, Vella, Cristiano and Falzon

The match was a tight and rough one, with no inch being given by both sets of players with the first half ending in a goalless draw. During the second half a penalty on each end of the pitch was awarded, first to the Spartans which was saved by Valletta’s goalkeeper Bartolo and one for Valletta which was converted and consequently won them the match. However this win did not reap any tangible benefit for the citizens since trouble erupted in their upcoming match with their bitter rivals Floriana. One of Floriana’s goals was perceived as an offside by the City’s clan and they abandoned the field of play. The MFA subsequently cancelled all the results for Valletta United and removed them from the league of that season.

On the other hand the season for Hamrun was not over, they also participated in the Gaelic Cup, donated by the agents of the then �Gaelic’ whisky. In the quarter and semi-finals of the competition the Spartans run rampage on their rivals Senglea Shamrocks (13-0) and Msida Rangers (6-0). However their toughest fixture was yet to come, rivals Floriana also won their respective knock-out matches against Sliema Wanderers and St. Georges and the final was set for the 14th of April 1913.

There was little doubt that the final would draw another capacity crowd at the Mile-End, with an approximate 10,000 fans making their way to the stands. The game was balanced with the chances happening for both sides during the first half, however it was Floriana who took the lead with a header by Herbert. The Spartans continued to pile up pressure in the second half however they were caught on the counter attack by the Floriana forwards, and Holland scored a second when he connected to a rebound after the Spartans keeper Borg saved a shot from Floriana’s forward Herbert. There was little hope at this point that the Spartans could turn the result in their favour, and Floriana were declared winners at the final whistle.

This string of positive results both in the League and and in the cup competition where a prelude to the Spartans’ first major honour in the following season.

(Main Source – Goals, Cups and Tears {Volume 1} by Carmel Baldacchino)


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