The Westminster Old Scholars’ Football Club was formed in 1969 and joined the SAAFL in that year.
Its early years were success filled as it rose from A4 to A2 in 5 seasons which included securing the A3 premiership in 1973 with victory over Kilburn in the grand final. Unfortunately, like with most amateur clubs, after 3 seasons in A2 players got careers and families and priorities changed.
The new group coming through took some time to gel and
the club spent several years battling back in A4. With the same group of people playing administering the
club it all got too much and the club disbanded at the end of the 1981 season.
Some 19 years later, a group of 18 & 19 year olds mainly from Westminster School decided that they wanted an Old Scholars team again. Whilst club President Richard Bund and VP Luke Harris worked tirelessly behind the scenes the boys played at Colonel Light Gardens for a couple of seasons whilst the administration arrangements were sorted out.
The club was formed, training was held at the school during pre-season and at Kenilworth football club during the season as the school had no lights. Games were played at the school and presentations were held at the Marion Hotel or if we played a northern club at the house of inaugural A grade coach Wayne Hughes and his wife Sue.
In a fairy tale finish to the season the A grade came from 5 goals down with 9 minutes to play to win the grand final and secure the Dvision 7 A Grade Premiership. The B-grade, coached by Scott Simpson who played in the first incarnation of the club also had a hugely successful season and made it right through to the grand final.
The club then made it four from four the following year with both teams making their respective grand finals in 2001, this time the B Grade winning the Division 6 Reserves Premiership under new coach Trevor Fuss and the A Grade coming in runners up.
During the off season of 2002 the club secured the tenancy at Glandore oval. Whilst it was a shame to lose that direct connection to the school it gave us the opportunity to train and play at the same oval and gave us a place to call home. With the move came a whole other set of challenges like running a bar and kitchen and maintaining clubrooms.
After going up 2 divisions in 2 years the A grade came up against some formidable opposition in 2002 and found themselves 2nd to bottom and relegated back to division 6. The b-grade showed the club had great depth making it through to a 3rd consecutive grand final, succumbing to Fitzroy in the big dance. The club promoted then b-grade coach Trevor Fuss to take on the A grade role for 2003 and on field success continued. The A grade returned to the finals unfortunately bowing out in a Prelim while the B-grade, coached by Gordon Hains, dropped one game for the year in securing the Division 6 reserves premiership.
The Club continued to get stronger as it established itself at the Dragons Den at Glandore Oval and recruited more and more members to the newest Old Scholars team in the SAAFL. Both grades made the finals again in 2004 with the A grade losing a second consecutive preliminary final and b’s losing the first elimination.
2005 and 2006 saw both sides lose elimination finals before a lean season in 2007 saw both sides miss the finals for the first time in the clubs history.
The club changed both coaching roles to begin the 2008 season with Paul Barber taking the A grade role and Derek Murphy the reserves. Success immediately followed with both sides making the finals and the A grade securing the Division 6 Grade Premiership, kicking a goal with a minute or so remaining to wrestle back the lead and secure the win.
In 2009, after a back injury cut short his playing career, Ryan Shipway took on the b grade coaching role and both teams again had successful seasons. Both grades made it through to the grand final with the B-grade falling to Plympton and A grade to Pulteney however the club was back to its historical best. After a year of consolidation in Div 4 in 2010 the new club experienced exactly what the old club had. Some key foundation players reached their thirties and pursued the next stage of their lives and the club was unable to adequately replace them. Wins were hard to come by and the club battled in Division 4 in 2011 and div 5 in 2012 and were at the cross roads having returned to Division 6 for the 2013 season.
Under the direction of club President Brett Williams a strategic planning session was held following the end of the 2012 season with all the key stake holders coming together to work out how to turn the club around. Paul Sherwood was appointed as a player coach and the club set its sights on a quick bounce up the divisions.
With a fresh approach and renewed vigour the young club took out yet another Premiership cup in 2013 with the Division 6 A Grade title added to the trophy cabinet. Looking to consolidate in division 5 in 2014 the club won its round 18 match to secure the last spot in the finals series. What followed was an extraordinary run as the club secured away victories against CBCOC, Elizabeth, Colonel Light Gardens and then North Haven in the grand final to win the division 5 premiership and return to division 4. It was the clubs first back to back premiership and what seemed a pipe dream had become a reality.
In 2015, after being in the top 5 for almost the entire year the A grade lost the last minor round game and dropped out of the finals race finishing the year in 6th spot. The B-grade returned to finals action however they also fell short of the big prize losing an elimination final away to Kenilworth.
With A grade coach Paul Sherwood relocating to the Barossa Valley the club secured the services of ex West Adelaide and Goodwood saints player Luke Donaldson to continue our push to climb through the divisions. The club recruited some old scholars that had been playing elsewhere and topped up with a couple of other key recruits and were confident entering the 2016 season.
Finishing the minor round in second spot with 11 wins from 16 matches the club secured victory over rivals North Haven in the first week of the finals before losing to Eastern park in an at times spiteful contest the following week. A follow victory over North Haven in the prelim final gave us another shot at Eastern Park and promotion to division 3.
The first half was an even contest with very little separating the sides at the main break. The dragons then kicked away with the breeze in the 3rd quarter to take a 6 goal lead into ¾ time and held on to secure a memorable victory and hand eastern park only their 3rd loss for the season. With only one team being promoted to division 3 the win had even more significance.
At the now annual strategic planning session the club re-set its goals and is looking forward to more success.