One of the Association’s greatest contributors passed away recently. As an umpire and long time Executive member Ron Allinson gave much to umpiring by working tirelessly for his colleagues.
“Bristles” began umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade in 1953 after a successful swimming career, including playing water polo, for the Footscray Swimming Club. He gained promotion to the senior list in 1955.
While he never umpired at VFL Reserve Grade level, in his 19 years on the senior list he visited almost every league to which umpires were sent and umpired 310 VCFL matches in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Included in these were four Grand Finals – Reserve Grade South West District (1963) and North-Central (1964) and senior Grand Finals in the Kowree-Naracoorte (1965) and Omeo and District 1967. This last Grand Final would have been most appreciated given Ron’s claim that the best hospitality in Victoria was in the Omeo league.
In an early edition of the ‘Man in White’ Ron named the only representative game he did as his most memorable match but giving no further details other than he travelled with Ted Pound. The match was the Reserves of the Kowree-Naracoorte League versus the Tatiara League Reserves in 1955 and Ted did the senior match that followed. A check of the newspaper reports reveals nothing spectacular about either match with regard to events or margins so we must assume that the memorable features of the weekend were in the travel or the post-match festivities.
A shortish but sturdily built fellow, Ron was always battling with his weight but trained conscientiously to be in top physical condition during his umpiring career. This sometimes involved unique techniques such as training during the pre-season sheathed in plastic and undertaking an ‘eggs only’ diet for a week.
1966 was a milestone year in many ways. Ron married Eunice, set up a new home and began a new job at Berger Paints. On top of that it was also his year as President of the Association. Having been first elected to the Executive Committee in 1960, he stayed on until 1964 when he became Junior Vice-President and eventually progressing to the Presidency. Even after his year as Immediate Past president Ron carried on with the Executive for three further seasons. In all, eleven consecutive years in office serving the Association.
Secretary for much of this time, Mark Turner, recalls,” Ron was a valued and forceful committee member, prepared to stand up for his point of view and certainly nobody’s ‘Yes’ man.” In the 1966 Annual report he notes that as President “he spoke confidently and fearlessly at many meetings at all times for the good of the Association.”