The Burnside Hockey Club was established in 1949 when the Kenwood and Knightsbridge clubs merged and entered the District Hockey competition. The Bulldogs, as they quickly became known, immediately came to attention of the hockey world by defeating the previously invincible Grange Hockey Club, led by Russell Bowden. Since then, a fierce rivalry has developed between Burnside and Grange and this is celebrated today with an annual play-of between the clubs for the Bowden-Bowley Cup. The Men’s District (now Premier League) team were Premiers in 1988 and the men’ s teams have a massed a considerable number of Flags in the other grades.
In 1969, the Burnside Women’s Hockey Club was established and their top team rocketed its way through the lower grades, from C3 to A Reserve, winning 5 consecutive Premierships and being promoted to the next grade each year. Along the way they amassed 560 goals in their first four years with just 39 against, so no one could ignore the kids from Burnside.
Once they reached the top grade, A Grade, in 1974 the Bulldog women took just one year to adjust, coming 7th and still winning half of their games. They then proceeded to win an incredible 5 Premierships in just 6 years (1975 to 1980) only just missing out on the 1978 Flag when they had had to play 3 Grand Final Matches in the one year (due to draws in the first two) and a desperate Aroha (now Adelaide) finally won the third Grand Final 1-0. Despite that blip, the Women went on the win a legendary 8 Premierships in their first 12 years in A Grade, while the lower grades amassed an equally impressive record.
This domination by the Burnside women was due to a combination of great coaching and an unbelievably good group of players that boasted numerous State players and no less than 3 Olympians, Suzzie Watkins, Sandy Pisani and Judy Blight. The Club has also had the honour of having an outstanding Olympian on the Men’s side, Adrian Bearce, whom we remember following his untimely death by naming the Club Bar in his honour.