The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1904
"But we have, on the other hand, some bold and magnanimous sayings common to high races and natures, which set forth the advantage of the losing side, and proclaim is beter to be a dead lion than a living dog."
— R. L. Stevenson
"Then strip, lads, and to it, tho' sharp be the weather,
And if, by mischance, you should happen to fall,
There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather,
And life is itself but a game of football."
— Sir Walter Scott
There was a time when nervous parents had to hold their boys back for our national winter sport, and when a boy was not boy if he did not follow the bounding leather over the springy turf. Now we hear that the good old game is languishing and that Rugby Football has fallen on evil days.
- - - -
Victoria College has not much reason to complain. It can send out thirty men a week to do battle, and if they go to the slaughter they are for the most part men who can take one licking and bob up serenely for the next. Yet even Victoria College can point to stalwart sons who prefer the whistle of the City tram-guard to the sharp call of the referee on the plains of Miramar. We have not great objection to losing with such men as College sends to the field, but half-a-dozen strong and willing recruits would not only turn the tide of defeat but enable the club to improve its Football.
- - - -
The tide of defeat, indeed. Did not the Second last year, and has not the first this year stemmed the tide? Nevertheless, the successes have not been without loss. The old war-horse, Johnstone, is out of action, and though he sometimes joins the Fray, he pays the penalty on the sticks. Goulding will play the game as long as he can stand, but a sprained ankle can't be page 39 played with long. A wounded shin, a dislocated finger, not only reduces he fighting strength of the First but means a draw on the Second.
- - - -
Though the First has had to change continually, promise is not wanting that it will play a good game of football before the end of the Season. Mr. Hunter, at the request of the Committee, consented to come out on the opening day to coach the teams. He was too keen to look on and since then, when the rush has been swift and the pressure hard, we have learned to expect our little half-back to be there or thereabout. He knows the game and the tricks thereof, and he plays them fair and well. Behind him Gleeson, Millier, Eccleton and Heenan are learning his ways. The pack in front is sometimes good — some — times indifferent. The teams have not yet learned to play well all at the same time. If the forwards are on the backs are off and vice versa.
- - - -
The Second Team has had a hard time. Drained buy the First, it has had no good recruiting ground. It has, however, stuck pluckily to the task; its forwards are stout men and true. The back line has often had to be taken from the scrum, and has naturally not been too successful. Davie and Wilson lead the van and Reid holds the backs together. Wedde, who came to the rescue last year was transferred from Wellington. We wish him luck.
- - - -
By defeating Poneke the First gained its first victory and we heartily congratulate the Team. The casualties were : 1 ankle, 2 eyes, 1 finger, 1 abdomen, 2 legs, 1 tooth, 2 knees.
- - - -
An attempt was made early in the Season to arrange a match with Canterbury College. On the date suggested Canterbury College could not play, and at a letter date suggested by Canterbury we found we could not get anything like our strongest team away owing to casualties and other misfortunes. It is to be hoped that in the second term effort will be made.
- - - -
The following are the results of matches played : -
(Captain—F. A. de la Mare)
V. C. V. St. James. Lost 13—3 Gleeson scored a well-earned try. Forwards very weedy. The Backs defended well, especially Hunter.page 40
V. C V Southern. Lost, 29—6. Despite the score the game, was better than previous Saturday and our team occasionally played football. The forwards worked well but the back defense was weak. Gillanders, at back, played a sound game. Heenan scored from a good passing rush and Hunter got a tricky try.
V. C. V. Poneke. Won, 3—0. Our first win. It a close, even, gory encounter, the only score was a penalty goal kicked by Hunter who played an excellent game.
V. C. V. Kia Ora. Lost 15—3. Played on a very slippery ground. Goulding hurt his ankle near the beginning and we had only 13 men most of the game. From a passing rush Eceleton gained a good try.
V. C. V. Johnsoville. Won, 3—0. Thirteen men on a hill-side in a blizzard in flicted defeat on the enemy. It ws a very jolly, enjoyable game-played in good spirit. Gleeson played a great defensive game and handled the ball well. Millier scored a fine try Patrick and Bray were conspicuous among the forwards.
V. C. V. Oriental. — Won, 10—0. A high wind interfered with the passing. Bray scored from an opening made by Hunter. The other try was secured by de la Mare. Hunter, who converted both tries, and Gleeson, were the best backs, and Gillanders was the pick of the forwards.
(Captain — REID)
V. C. V.Wellington Colllege. Lost, 32—0.
V. C. V. St. Patrick's College. Lost, 11—0.
V. C. V. Old Boys. Lost, 3—0.
V. C. V. Athletic. Lost, 45—0.
V. C. V. Oriental. Lost, 27—0.
V. C. V. St. James. Lost, 17—0.
V. C. V. Southern. Lost, 28—0.
V. C. V. Poneke. Lost, 6—0. Team bucking up.
[N. B.—No College team has yet defaulted]