Roy Hill was born into a distinguished, South Australian sporting family. He was one of 18 siblings, six of whom played cricket for South Australia and of those, five pulled on a Norwood guernsey. An older brother, Clem, captained the Australian Test side and was acclaimed by many as the world’s premier left-hand batsman. His father, Henry John Hill, playing for North Adelaide against a visiting Kent County Side is credited with scoring the first century at Adelaide Oval.
Roy was no slouch at cricket. He represented the state 18 times with a top score of 123 against NSW. In February 1903 the Hill family created an unusual record when five brothers played in the same East Torrens District Cricket team.
As a footballer, Roy was recruited from Prince Alfred College. He was described as of medium height and stocky build. He quickly became a regular in the league side, playing mainly in defence, either in a back pocket or half back. Later in his career, with the retirement of a number of players, he was chosen on the wing.
Roy gained a reputation for speed and toughness. An article in The Advertiser 7th Sept 1906 told of his, “Remarkable dashes.” Hill’s hardness sometimes resulted in tongue-in cheek reports. The Express and Telegraph 11th May 1907 reported that “Roy Hill [was] a trifle on the rough side.”
The same paper a month later on 1st June 1907 had this to say,” Roy Hill is a dangerous man in the backlines. He defends well but in doing so gives away a number of marks. The umpire does not agree with Hill in his affectionate embrace of an opponent.”
Roy’s consistency was rewarded with the vice-captaincy and on a number of occasions he captained the side in the absence of the club captain, Bahr.
Roy Hill played during an outstanding Norwood era. He played in two premierships (1904 and 1907) and in two losing grand finals. He was a member of the 1907 Champions of Australia side and travelled to Melbourne with the team in 1906 when they recorded victories against Fitzroy and Essendon. Quite a player in quite a team.
B Ridge Oct 2016