Barossa, Light and Gawler Football League (BLGFL) since 1987
Black and red
Barossa and Light Football Association (BLFA) - 1921-2-3, 1927-8-9, 1935, 1939, 1952-3, 1964-5, 1974 (13 total); BLGFL - 2004-5 (12 total)
The Kapunda Football Club was brought into being at a meeting held at the North Kapunda Hotel on 18th April 1866. Since then, it has enjoyed a continuous existence under the same name, making it one of the world’s longest running football clubs of any code. The form of football initially favoured by the club is not known, but when the South Australian Football Association was formed in 1877 Kapunda was listed as an inaugural member. Presumably therefore from that point on Kapunda would have been adhering to the set of rules advocated by the Association, which were more or less identical to the rules then in vogue in Melbourne, known colloquially as ‘Victorian Rules’.
Kapunda was no mere makeweight either. Although its distance from Adelaide precluded involvement in full scale organised competition it engaged in a fair number of challenge matches and could certainly hold its own against the SAFA’s elite. On 20 June 1879, for instance, Kapunda overcame a visiting Kensington team by 2 goals to nil (behinds, typically for the time, not being recorded).
Formal competitive football did not really get underway for Kapunda until it became a founder member in 1908 of the Barossa and Light Football Association. The club’s early years in this competition were largely unmemorable, although it did in 1911 and 1912 contest the grand final, going down on both occasions to Angaston.
The 1920s were Kapunda’s golden years. Over the course of the decade the club played off for the BLFA premiership on half a dozen occasions, and won every time. Mind you, none of the victories was easily procured, with the average margin of victory a mere 8 points.
In terms of grand final appearances the 1930s proved just as successful as the preceding decade, but only two of the six matches - against Angaston in 1935 and at the expense of Tanunda four years later - ended in victory. During the 1940s the club made only one grand final appearance, losing by 4 goals to Angaston in 1945, but the ‘50s proved to be another noteworthy decade, with five grand final appearances spawning a couple of flags. The 1960s too saw the Bombers ‘bringing home the bacon’ twice, but after their only grand final win of the 1970s, achieved in 1974 against Nuriootpa, the longest premiership drought in the club’s history set in, although it would be wrong to imagine that Kapunda became merely a makeweight in the competition. Finals qualification, sometimes involving participation in the grand final, was frequently achieved, but until 2004 the Bombers simply lacked that quintessential je ne sais quois necessary to transform pretenders into princes. The closest they came was a drawn grand final against Angaston in 1977, the replay of which ended in a 19 point defeat.
The drought-breaker, when it came, was emphatically achieved, Kapunda thrashing a hapless Angaston in the 2004 grand final by 67 points, 21.16 (142) to 11.9 (75). It was a similar tale a year later, this time with Freeling as the victims. The Bombers romped home by 56 points on this occasion, amassing 17.14 (116) to the Redlegs’ 9.6 (60).
In the three seasons since their most recent premiership the Bombers have continued to perform strongly, qualifying for the finals each year without managing to take the ultimate, decisive step.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications