The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1909
"They run—see how they run."
—Battle of Quebec.
(By Ivor Davey).
63 points for and 187 against—such is the newspaper tall y of the games played by the first fifteen this season; although it is to be feared that the newspapers have let us down lighter than circumstances warranted. The day, then, has not yet come when Victoria College, the cynosure of all footballs eyes, shall draw its countless thousands of supporters to watch with tremulous expectation and uproarious enthusiasm its games on the Athletic park. To those who have watched the progress of Victoria College football it sometimes seems as if that glorious day was as far off as when we first donned our green and gold in the senior ranks. And yet there is evident nowadays a feeling among onr opponents which was absent hitherto—a feeling that the College team is not to be despised, and that even the best of them must not take liberties lest, perchance, they might find their Waterloo at the hands of the green and gold.
One match won and two drawn—not a record to be proud of. But the games were clean and hard fought, and often victory hung long in the balance. And moreover the College has, during the past year, won its way into popularity. This fact became glaringly patent in the match against Poneke at the Petone Recreation ground. A large crowd came over to watch the final stages to the game, and the roars from a thousand throats acted on our men like a draught of new wine. Never did the College play a more brilliant gem than in this last twenty minutes. Time and again it hurled its forward and back divisions against an ever-receding line of red and black, and it is safe to say that had this volume of applause come to stimulate our men earlier in the game Poneke would not have won the senior championship.page 36
Those who take an interest in College football will, no doubt, have read the weekly accounts of the various matches as they appeared in the papers, and it would be unprofitable to recapitulate them here. The football year is dead, and dead also are our defeats, our draws, and our solitary victory. But there is new year before us, a year which is fraught with possibilities if we only take to heart the various lessons which experience has endeavoured to teach us. Let us therefore state a few bald facts and make a few deductions, so that "he who runs may read" and profit.
We have already pointed out what effect a number of "barrackers" has on a team, and yet it is a fact that almost all of the College matches this season have been played in the presence of but two or at the most three supporters. Surely the College team, which is draw from a clearly defined body of students, has a right to expect that a little more interest should be taken in its doings.
But more important still is the question of training. We have a spacious gymnasium now, and there is no reason why College should not start off next year's season as the best trained team in the competition. It is all-important that the first match of the season should be won. In this connection we strongly advise the Club to hold its annual meeting earlier than hitherto and lose no time in getting its men into regular training.
Thirdly is the question of resourcefulness, especially among the back division. One expects clever football from a College team, but our football is not particularly interesting to watch, For instance, many of us must have noticed Sydney University's little dodge of throwing the ball out to half-way when penned up on their own goal-line. A year or two ago it was said that backs cannot indulge in tricky play so long as forwards cannot hook the ball; but this objection does not now hold good—Victoria College has one of the best packs in the city, and certainly the best "dribblers."
Lastly, there is the question of place-kicking. Cannot this be practiced on Kelburne Park? It is a very weak spot with the green and gold. And we have to complain that a chance was not given to several players who have proved themselves in other matches to be excellent place-kickers. There is, for instance, one College senior who won a medal down South for place-kicking, and he was not given a chance the whole year.
In conclusion we have to point out that the College team this year is a very young one, that it will next year be older and more experienced, and that with the addition of one or two page 37 crack players from other parts of the Dominion it will in the near future prove itself to be more than a match for any other team in Wellington.
Victoria College versus Canteury College.
After a very trying trip down in the "Maori" College took the field feeling shaky. There was a very large attendance of the public and the spacious grand-stand boasted few vacant seats. Canterbury attacked strongly from the commencement, and early in the game a fine dodgy run by McKenzie resulted in hay scoring; Hay also took the kick and landed a beautiful goal. Shortly afterwards de la Mare broke for College, and, in his usual unselfish way, passed when he was safely beyond pursuit; Tennant took the ball nicely and scored. Shortly afterwards Canterbury kicked high and the green back fumbled miserably; Wilson (Canterbury) rushed up and carried the ball over without opposition. At half-time Canterbury led by 8 to 3.
Throughout the whole of the second spell the greens played a fine dashing game, completely outclassing their opponents. Goodbehere, Berendsen, Tennant and Ryan scored in quick succession. After the feeble attempts made by the College backs in Club matches to turn to account the hard work of their forwards it was a pleasure to see them making dash after dash for the line. Towards the end of the game the maroons worked hard to turn the tables. The game ended—Victoria College 17, Canterbury College 8.
After the match Canterbury College enterained our men at a supper, and an excellent musical programme was supplied by the students.
The Sydney University team did not meet with the success in New Zealand which was predicated of them. Both the large matches—that played in Dunedin on the 4th September, and that played here on the 11th—were somewhat disappointing form the spectacular from the spectacular point of view. At Dunedin, Victoria College was represented by only two players. Phillips and Brosnan, both of whom acquitted themselves creditably. The game was fought out mostly among the forwards and resulted in a win for Sydney by 15 to 5.
The second test match was played at Wellington on the following Saturday. College was fortunate enough to secure places in the New Zealand team for eight of it men—Duncan, Phillips, O'Leary, Brosnan, Curtayne, de la Mare, Tennant and Robertson. The game was somewhat dull during the first spell, but livened up considerably in the later stages. Eventually, after a close fight, New Zealand won by 17 points to 14.
The success of the Second Fifteen was not as great as might have been expected considering the fact that the Club decided at the commencement of the season to enter only three page 38 teams—a senior, a third grade, and a fourth grade—for the Rugby Union's competitions. The first match of the season was played at Miramar on 24th April against the Selwyn Third Fifteen and resulted in a win for College by twelve points to six. The following team donned the4 green jersey in the first match—Lyon, Inder, Hamilton, Duncan, Edie, Phillips, Enting, Jackson, Leary, Daniell, lynch, Ramsay, Randrup, Russel and Cash. If this team could have been retained throughout the season there is letter doubt that their position in the championship would have been considerably higher, but being the surce of supply for the first Fifteen they soon lost the services of Several of their best players. Among these were: Lyon, Duncan, Phillips, Ramsay and Russell. The vacancies thus caused were filled by Dobbie, Richmond, Melody, Hall and Jordan. Eleven matches were played during the season, and of these College won four, drew two, and lost five.
The following is the list of matches played and the result of each:—
V. C. v Selwyn. Won, 12—6. Tries were obtained by Duncan (2) and Lyon. Phillips kicked goal.
V. C. v St. James. Lost, 3—16. Duncan scored a try.
V. C. v Wellington. Won, 11—3. Tries by Enting, Russell and Phillips. Phillips converted Enting's try.
V. C. v Petone. Lost, 6—25. Tries by Daniell and Phillips.
V. C. v Epuni. Lost, 0—19.
V. C. v Kia Ora. Won, 8—5. Tries by Cash and Randrup; Enting converted Cash's try.
V. C. v Upper Hutt. Lost, 0—18.
V. C. v Johnsonville. Drawn, no score.
V. C. v Poneke. Lost, 0—11.
V. C. v Kis Ora. Won by default.
V. C. v Exchange. Drawn, no score.
One other match, a match againt the Stat Boating Club, was to have been played very late in the season when all other games had been finished, but this match was abandoned by mutual consent.
Matches played 13; won 3; drawn 4; lost 6.
Points for 50; against 72.
V. C. v Melrose. Lost, 6—3. Williams picked up smartly and dashed over. Jordan and Clemance stood out the forwards.page 39
V. C. v Old Boys. Lost, 6—3. Mackay kicked a penalty goal. Our opponents showed superior combination.
V.C. v Oriental. Drawn, 3 all. A most enjoyable game—no falling away in our score. Jackson scored a neat try. Dowling conspicuous among the forwards.
V. C. v St. James. Lost, 16—6. A severe shock to the dreams of conquest consequent on our performance the previous week. Dowling taking advantage of a zephyr out of the south, kicked a penalty goal from our own goal line—more or less. While Mackay held the full-back down, Hall-Jones scored a good try.
V. C. v Polhill. Drawn, 3 all. This was an uninteresting game save for occasional flashes by our backs who were working well together. The stockings of the opposing wing-forward were another feature. McCartney scored.
V. C. v Athletic. Won, 13—0. Williams having advised us that Athletic were exceptionally weak, we made a terrific onslaught and hewed our way to a single Victoria. Griffiths an Anton, our five-eighths, played splendidly. Griffiths scored two tries which Mackay converted; Mackay also kicked a penalty goal.
V. C. v Selwyn. Drawm, 3 all. That elusive cup! we had Jordan back after an absence and he marked his return by scoring from a line-out. McRae foul of an opponent, and, resorting to self-help, was required by the referee to see the rest of the game from the bank.
V. C. v Petone. Lost, 12—5. Anton, as usual, played hard to the finish. Griffiths scored a clever try which Mackay converted.
V. C. v Epuni. Drawn. 5 all. We led right to the last two minutes when our opponents got in. Edie scored and Mackay converted. Bridgman and Gray played strenuonsly in the forwards, as did Anton in the backs. Williams made an excellent full-back.
V. C. v Karori. Won, 3—0—and "we did it with ten men!" Goodness knows where the others were, or what we might have done with a full team. Possibly the vacation accounted for the shortage of men. Johnston scored.
V. C. v St. Johns. Lost, 3—0. For the first time our score sheet stood bank. The Spike editor played magnificently, demonstrating that the pen is as mighty as the jersey any day.
V. C. v Wellington. Won 3—0. We were now getting too accustomed to winning to exhibit jubilation. Gray, after threading his way through a marsh set the ball down in a sea of mud, and sat on it—in short, scored a very good and very dirty try.
V. C. v Southern. Lost, 15—0. Southern were leading for the championship and we decided to shake them up. The referee, having a look at the state of the ground, declared the match off, and left. Bridgman, however, was very keen on playing, so finally we got our coy opponents to play, with a referee extemporized. Like a true sport he kept the whistle quiet—a fact which our opponents turned to better account than we. Anton, Bridgman, and Macartney strove hard to stem the tide of red, but without avail.