Home' The Mt Barker Courier : The Courier - 2015-05-20 Contents PAGE 20 – The Courier SPORT Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Sport Back Page Insight
It is almost 50 years since
association football (or soccer) was
first played by a club based in Mt
On Sunday, May 22, 1966, on the former
baseball field at Dunn Park, and under the
captaincy of A. Lans, the newly formed Mt
Barker side played its first fixture.
The team were overpowered by a visiting
Elizabeth Vale side, losing 5-1, with the home
team’s solitary goal scored by P. Power, who
was also named as the club president in The
Courier newspaper at the time.
While Mt Barker was not the Hills first soccer
club – Woodside United were formed as far
back as 1949 and Denis Harlow’s book A
History of Soccer in SA also mentions a 1966
Lobethal side – it was the beginning of a long
association of the sport and the town.
By the time of the 1967 season, the
Mt Barker side had improved and were
competitive in State Amateur League
Division 1 ranks, kicking off with a 0-0 home
draw against Uniroyal.
However, after just two seasons Mt Barker
disappeared despite Courier articles
reporting on the club’s aim to establish junior
teams for 1968.
It was another 14 years before a Mt Barker
club re-appeared in 1981.
The second club was officially named
Adelaide Hills-Onkaparinga, which was often
shortened to AH Onkaparinga but also oddly
appears in print, including The Advertiser and
Courier newspapers, as either Onkaparinga
or Adelaide Hills, or Mt Barker United.
This 1981 incarnation was coached by well-
known local soccer identity John van der
Veeken senior, who previously in 1979 had
been instrumental in starting up the local
Van der Veeken was keen to develop the
game in the area through coaching and
mentoring the youngsters who, it was hoped,
would play well into the 1980s and beyond
During 1981 the first silverware was brought
to the town when the Mt Barker Reds Under
14 team were crowned champion of the
competition, but by the end of the season,
the town’s trophy cabinets had been added
to when AH Onkaparinga won titles at Under
16 and Senior level
When AH Onkaparinga seniors formed in
1981, there was just one other active senior
mens Hills club – Hills District United.
The Blackwood Soccer Club made it a trio
but many considered it to be a metropolitan
However, unlike Hills District United and its
own 1966-67 Barker sides, Adelaide Hills-
Onkaparinga did not initially compete in the
Amateur League, instead entering the Lower
Murray League, where it faced the likes of
Murray Bridge, Mannum and Tailem Bend.
In addition to John van der Veeken senior,
Courier reports of the 1980 era mentions
Rick Dew, Frank and Craig Schoof, Steve
Callahan, Steve and John van der Veeken
junior and captain Ian Dodd.
The side won the Lower Murray League
competition in its first season and then
completed its sophomore year of 1982
without losing a game, winning the title again.
In 1983, the side moved into the SA Amateur
League (SAASL) where it continued until the
end of 1988 when it folded.
Only plucky Strathalbyn (1986) have the
longest continual history in the area, given
the era was still several years before the
formation of seniors at the present-day Hills
Hawks (1991), Stirling Districts (1991) and
Mt Barker once again were revived 12 years
later for the start of the 2000 season.
This third incarnation holds no claims to be
a relation to the previous two sides of 1966-
67 and 1981-88, but did inherit some of the
genes ... it played in red, were known as
United and the home ground was at Dunn
The side were competitive in the first season
of 2000, albeit in lower divisions, where it
competed with a squad of a mere dozen or
so registered players.
Roy Mather, who had played in the AH
Onkaparinga sides of the 1980s, Dale Kenny
and Ans Papini were involved in getting the
side to an operational status.
Andy Bushten was the club president and
captain while the side was coached by Tim
Veen – ably assisted by Derrick Allen.
The first competitive match was a SAASL
Cup tie away at Birdwood-based Torrens
Valley Soccer Club, on April 2, 2000, which
the side lost 3-2.
David Grant scored the club’s first goal and
Enzo Tattarelli grabbed the second.
This, incidentally, was Torrens Valley’s first
competitive game as well, having revived an
old Birdwood team from the 1980s.
One week later, Mt Barker played its first
League game against West End United, at
Matt Elliott, Mather, Bobby North and
Tattarelli were the scorers in a 6-4 loss.
The team soon won its first game though
when it shocked Adelaide Omonia, probably
as much as itself, with a 10-1 home win on
April 25, 2000.
After a couple of seasons, and with its
confidence up, the senior team moved across
to the more competitive SAASL Saturday
Division 2 League, where opponents would
include the likes of Stirling Districts and
Hahndorf – both quality sides at that time.
However, the decision appeared to be
unwise with Barker trying to sprint having just
learned to jog.
Among the forgettable statistics was the
biggest recorded defeat in all competitive
matches within the Adelaide Hills when, on
August 24, 2002, the side lost 19-0 against
Stirling Districts at Bradwood Park.
Stirling’s Charles Holding scored five goals,
while Nick Briggs and Phil Yeardley each
scored a hat-trick.
A mountain of history
Adelaide Hills soccer identity David Grant reflects on the development of the world game in the local region,
as he recollects the history of soccer in Mt Barker from 1966-2015.
Tough times for Mt Barker
Mt Barker endured further horror results in 2002 as it
was also battered 19-0 by Adelaide Cougars at Dunn
Park, and lost 17-1 away at Sturt-Marion.
The side also lost by an aggregate score of 35-1 in the
home/away fixtures against MA Hawks.
In fixtures against Hahndorf, Mt Barker lost 10-1 at Pine
Avenue and then were downed 12-0 at Dunn Park.
The side finished the 2002 season with 16 league goals
in the 16 league games, but conceded 177 – an average
of over 11 goals in each game it played.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the Reserves team folded
before a ball had been kicked.
Brendan Stone was the unfortunate goal keeper in the
19-0 result against Stirling and recalls issues the club had
in the early 2000s was the inability to attract and retain
Oliver Toogood and Scott Sillence were the club’s best
and fairest award winners in 2000 and 2001 respectively,
and both left after one season each, while coaches also
came and went.
After Veen departed Ed Berger took over, then came Joe
Haffer – all within a few seasons.
Onfield performances didn’t improve either ... even in its
final season in the SAASL and 10 seasons after forming,
Mt Barker United were at the wrong end of a 10-0 result
at Hahndorf’s Pine Avenue in 2010.
Ironically, Hahndorf’s coach that day was Steve Handley,
now the senior head coach at Mt Barker.
The side jumped indecisively between competitions
for several years and even appeared unsettled on a
nickname, as the team played as Mt Barker United and
Mt Barker Crusaders where, perhaps Phoenix or Firebird
would be the more appropriate moniker for this third
The club also left Dunn Park and moved to the
Cornerstone College playing fields.
Stone who, along with Evan Jones, is the longest serving
player at the club, reflected a positive force then drifted
through the environment.
“The whole growth of the club started with Gary
Wonnacott coming across from Hahndorf,” noted Stone.
“He brought along his passion for the sport and coached
a new team on Saturday, so we were able to host games
on Saturday and Sunday”.
Desperately willing, but never quite able to be
competitive in the Amateur League, after 11 years Mt
Barker eventually made the decision to move to the less
challenging Collegiate Soccer League (CSL) for the 2011
season, with the aim of consolidating and rebuilding.
It worked ... moving to the CSL meant avoiding the likes
of Elizabeth Vale in the Cup or Stirling Districts in the
League and the associated demoralising beltings which
might come with that.
It also meant challenging for honors among just 20 other
clubs – as opposed to the 86 members of the SAASL.
However, probably most relevant of all, the club was
aligning itself with a competition associated with the
nation’s governing body, Football Australia.
The move to the CSL proved a wise one and it eventually
paid off when the Mt Barker United side were promoted
to the top CSL Division at the end of 2013, and then won
the CSL Cup in 2014.
Striker Kayne Stubing, was also the League’s top
goalscorer in 2014.
Stone again suggested the club had been blessed in
recent times to have strong leadership to drive it forward.
“Along with Gary (Wonnacott), there have been other
exceptional people come to the club to build it up
including Andy Harrison who was in charge of the first
team when we moved to the Collegiate Soccer League,”
“Andy Marshall has been a rock with his passion and
knowledge to drive the club even further, and finally Steve
Handley who is in charge of the first XI now”.
With the move to the CSL, the club associated itself with
Cornerstone College where it now plays its home games.
Training is held at Anembo Park and Dunn Park is no
longer used by the seniors.
The continuing rise has not been to the benefit of
Inquiries as to the availability of Anembo Park have
either been ignored or replied to with the answer that Mt
Barker United has exclusive use of the facilities.
Therefore, perhaps sadly for the greater good of the
game, the floodlights that tower over the pitches at
Anembo are often unused on weeknights and the pitches
beneath them lie dormant on wintery weekend afternoons
from 3pm onward.
Politics aside, those who had dismissed the club as
non-threatening must now be kicking themselves for
committing sport’s most basic error of taking eyes off the
Recently Mt Barker were announced as being the latest
to be admitted into the FFSA State League competition
for the 2016 season.
The club still has much work to do before it starts
competition in the third tier of SA soccer, but it has now
finally made those who dismissed it sit up, envious and
The Adelaide Hills has not had an intense local derby
rivalry in the past decade.
The decline of Hahndorf’s seniors over recent years has
robbed the community of the bi-annual Stirling Districts
versus Hahndorf battles described by many, including
local match official Ulrich Henn, as being the biggest
game in the Hills.
For the neutral observer, the prospect of a possible
future State League rivalry between the Hills Hawks and
Mt Barker is exciting and has been a long time coming.
Perhaps the initial few fixtures will be lopsided as Mt
Barker will no doubt struggle to find its feet initially.
Coach Handley will be required to build up his current
team, from one which has had mixed results so far in
2015, to one which can compete at Federation level.
Love them or loathe it, Mt Barker’s bold move is a
positive one for the good of the game in the area, and
adds a further chapter to the rich history of soccer in the
Mt Barker Soccer Club ... circa September 2000 ... (rear from left) David Grant, Tim Veen, Roy
Mather, Darian Byrne, Karl Smith, Matthew Elliot, Bradley Baddams and Isaac Mann.
Front: Bobby North, John Kane, Andy Bushten, Oliver Toogood and Keoh Goodall.
Soccer within the Mt Barker township dates back almost half a century when the district’s
inaugural team was based at Dunn Park.
Left: Tearsheet from The Courier in September, 1981, highlighting the Adelaide Hills-Onkaparinga Under 16
soccer triumph in the Lower Murray competition ... pictured team members are (rear from left) coach J. van der
Veeken senior, R. Gutteridge, I. Parkin, R. Huis n’t Veld, captain C. Schoof, vice-captain A. Wellington, A. Huis n’t
Veld and G. Lloyd. Front: F. Schoof, C. Montgomery, P. Noel, C. Jones, P. Evans and K. Cohen.
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