Playing a hunch while tracking down mystery umpires from the early VFL years can often pay dividends.

For many years J. Gregory, a VFL boundary umpire was not able to be identified. There were not enough clues.

A chance reading of an article in The Age from 1933 about teams playing legend matches to raise money for the clubs and, in particular, a North Melbourne legends match with 11 members of the from the Gregory family playing, got Lloyd Fisk thinking. One of the Gregory’s – James Grant Gregory – a former Collingwood player umpired the match.

Maybe he had some umpiring experience after he finished playing, maybe that’s why he was chosen to umpire.
So with James Grant Gregory a possibility he investigated this further and located and contacted  James’ granddaughter.

Bingo, she confirmed he was an umpire.

Mystery umpire J. Gregory, VFL boundary umpire (31 VFL (B) and 14 country matches (F) 1908-1911) is now confirmed as James Grant Gregory former Collingwood Player (42 matches, 1897-1901) and the 86th player-umpire.

Only 55 (out of an original 450) mystery umpires 1897-1949 to go….

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