Birchgrove Oval is a place steeped in Rugby League history.
It was here on the Monday 20th of April, 1908, that the first matches of the newly formed NSWRFL were played (with the other 2 games being played concurrently at nearby Wentworth Park).
South Sydney defeated North Sydney 11-7, while Balmain smashed Western Suburbs 24-0.
Birchgrove Oval remained in use as a regular venue until 1933, primarily as the home ground of Balmain, although every other club from the early years played home games here at some stage.
Birchgrove Oval would again be used by Balmain for 4 games in 1942, where on the 8th of August Balmain defeated North Sydney 17-5 in the last game played at the venue.
In all 176 games were played here, with Balmain appearing by in 153 of those games.
With the close proximity to the water, you would imagine that a few balls (and possibly spectators) ended up in Snail Bay on game days.
Over the years players & specators would also have been able to keep an eye the progress on the Sydney Harbour Bridge being constructed in the background.
Although I never had the chance to ask him, I imagine that my grandfather would have played some games here as a Balmain junior in the 1920s & 1930s.