Prior to their merger in 1969 both Carngham and Linton Football Clubs had been in existence since the end of the Great War. For a time, the two clubs competed together in the Linton and District Football Association, with Linton twice enjoying premiership success at the expense of its future partner. In 1925 the LDFA changed its name to the Linton Scarsdale Football Association. Linton went top for the third time that year, overcoming Lismore in the premiership decider by 5 points. The following season saw Carngham claiming premiership honours for the first time thanks to a 6.10 (46) to 3.6 (24) defeat of Scarsdale in the season’s ultimate match.
Thereafter both clubs embarked on peripatetic existences that culminated, in Carngham’s case, in a seven season stint in the Ballarat Football League’s District competition, and in Linton’s case in almost two decades of involvement in the Western Plains Football League. Although neither club experienced significant amounts of success individually, the merged organisation would rapidly develop into a power.
Following the merger the Saints spent their first thirty years as members of the Western Plains Football League, where their tally of twelve senior premierships was a league record. They also won a total of thirteen reserves and seven under seventeens flags.
Following the amalgamation of the WPFL and Lexton Football League in 1999 the Saints wasted little time establishing themselves in the new competition. They reached grand finals at both senior and reserves level in their debut season, winning the latter, and went on to claim senior flags in 2000, 2004 and 2006-7-8, making them the most successful club in the competition up to that point.
The 2006 premiership was won the hard way. After qualifying for the finals in second place, the Saints went down to Natte Bealiba in the qualifying final by 6 points. They then miraculously survived a cut-throat first semi final encounter with Rokewood Corindhap, ultimately getting home by the narrowest of margins despite managing nine fewer scoring shots. This victory set up a preliminary final re-match with Natte Bealiba, which the Saints won convincingly by 74 points.
The grand final pitted the Saints against Skipton, which had won both home and away encounters between the teams in 2006. Most neutrals expected another Skipton victory, but three tough finals matches had hardened the Saints for the task at hand, and they scored a well-earned 3 point triumph. Making the day even more memorable was the fact that the reserves also went top, giving the club the sixth such ‘double’ in its history, but the first since crossing to the LPFL.
Twelve months later, the Saints once again reigned supreme, although this hardly looked likely when they only managed to win half of their 16 home and away matches to scrape into the finals in fourth place. They then beat Illabarook in the elimination final by 8 points, Rokewood Corindhap by 12 points in the first semi final, Skipton in the preliminary final by 5 points, and Natte Bealiba in the grand final by 3 goals to clinch arguably the most remarkable of their seventeen senior grade flags to date.
That seventeenth flag duly arrived in 2008 as the Saints, having finished third after the home and away rounds, overcame Skipton by 12 goals in the qualifying final, Rokewood Corindhap in the second semi final by 27 points, and Skipton in a grand final thriller by a single straight kick, 13.8 (86) to 11.14 (80).
At the end of the 2010 season the LPFL disbanded, following which the Saints moved on to pastures new in the shape of the Central Highlands Football League where performances have gradually declined in quality culminating in a winless wooden spoon in 2016. After that, the only way to go was up, and in 2017 the Saints climbed three places on the ladder to fifteenth after winning 3 wins of their 16 home and away matches. It was to be but a temporary improvement, however, as in 2018 the Saints managed just a solitary win all season in tumbling to another wooden spoon.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications