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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 18 August 3, 1938

Second Hockey Test — Interesting but not Spectacular

Second Hockey Test

Interesting but not Spectacular

The New Zealand team showed greatly improved form on their showing in Christchurch; in fact, one of the Indians did not recognise Hart the goal-keeper as the same man he had played against in Christchurch the week before. The same applied to the remainder of the team, who showed that they had overcome their nervousness of the First Test.

In neither side were there any particularly outstanding players, all working together with no playing to the gallery. The New Zealand side used the push stroke to advantage, but unfortunately, that great weakness of New Zealand hockey—hitting the ball to one of the opponents instead of taking more care with placing their passes. This, indeed, was the great fault of the team; their stick work, positional play (especially in the second spell), and combination were good, although not up to the visitors' standard. The Indian forwards do not wait for the ball to come to them from their backs, but move about until they are opposite an opening in the opposing defence through which they can see their own players.

Penalties Numerous.

As far as penalties were concerned, these were numerous, in equal proportion on both sides, but with a somewhat greasy ground breaches are always likely. It was noticeable that even the Indians are capable of occasional mild body-play and are inclined to give any breach when pressed in the circle in order to prevent a score, by having a penalty corner given against them. A penalty bully was given in each spell against the New Zealand team. Hart winning his and Clark losing, thus making the score 4-0.

On the New Zealand side, the two University players, Botting (Otago) and "Scotty" Watson (Auckland) acquitted themselves with distinction. Of the others, Hart, as goal-keeper, was brilliant, as the goals he let through were very difficult shots, but it is doubtful if he is any better than Les Hercus, the Otago University goalie, who gave such a fine display against the Indians a week or two ago. The two full-backs. Jones and Clark, played well, keeping contact with their halves and not, as with the backs on the occasion of the Wellington debacle, keeping to the edge of the circle all the time. Loder, at centre-half, was outstanding, while W. Bowden, at right-half, by heady tackling, kept Fernandez and Sultan Khan from becoming brilliant. There were no shining lights in the forwards and the forward line was the weakest part of the team. The local forward, Maurie Browne, was a great worker. But, as with the others, too often did his passes go on to one of the opposition's pads.

The Indians.

For the Indians, the centre-forward and inside-right were most dangerous. With Feroz Khan a non-starter through injuries and Sultan Khan nursing an injured leg, they were not so brilliant as when in Wellington before or against the Universities' side in Dunedin.

Shahoor Khan, at centre-half, together with the full-backs. Hussain and Guranain Singh, were the mainstays of the defence. Unfortunately, towards the end of the game Hussain slipped and sprained his ankle badly, which means that the team now has three of its stars partly disabled through injuries.

It is the definite opinion of those in a position to judge that this Indian team is definitely superior as a team to the 1935 one. Lacking a Ruph Singh, a Dyan Chand and a Mahsoud, the team becomes a team of eleven men which always requires watching, and not three or four. Unless the side has particularly bad luck it is most unlikely that they will be beaten in New Zealand, and the fact that only eight goals have been scored against them gives an indication of their quality.

From the "Auckland Weekly News":—"There is a Second Division wing-three-quarter in Wellington who would probably develop into something really good if given a chance in representative company. He is H. J. Eastwood, of Victoria College. He has pace to burn—a crack, track runner, he is probably the fastest three-quarter in New Zealand to-day—a good swerve, and perhaps what is more important, he gives everything a go. There is no hesitation about Eastwood. He smashes through attempted tackles. But he has one dangerous habit. He frequently hurdles opponents, and, if he persists, he is only asking for trouble."