Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 4. April 27, 1959
Dissatisfaction with Blues — Driven to Drink
Dissatisfaction with Blues
Driven to Drink
Easter Tournament has once again produced complaints about N.Z.U. Blues. Are they justified? In this article I will try to show that the complaints of many sports are fully justified. The responsible sportsman is the best judge of standards and once the selectors, officials or anyone else loses his support he may as well turn to drink.
Clause 53 of the N.Z.U. Blues regulations states "In arriving at a standard the Panel (Blues Panel) shall have regard to the standard of a good provincial team." This regulation would appear to be more honoured in the breach than the observance.
I intend dealing with N.Z.U. representation in a future article, so will not touch on this contentious subject in this issue.
I treat athletics first because it comes first in the alphabet and for no other reason of precedence. The athletes are not happy about the present Blues system, as the standards (strictly adhered to as they are) take no account of track conditions, etc.
This strict adherence to standards is directly opposed to clause 59 of the Blues regulations, which states "The panel shall have power to fix standards in any sport, but these standards shall not be binding on the panel and shall be for guidance only."
Rob Irwin a few years ago won the 100, 220 and 440 at Tournament all in times just outside the Blues standard, but no Blue was awarded, yet another athlete the same year equalled the Blues standard in one event and was awarded a Blue. Who was the better athlete?
The athletes are not satisfied with the present system. Ailsa McDonald won a number of titles this receive a Blue!
This year a Fresher at Victoria was awarded an N.Z.U. Blue—while year but, like Bob Irwin, did not this chap performed admirably at Tournament, and during the season (for another club), what has he done for university sport?
Why not either revoke the Fresher eligibility clause or leave the award of such Blues pending until the sportsman has proved himself as a Varsity man?
Under the present system of awarding New Zealand University Cricket Blues, only the very favoured few have any chance of being awarded one.
The practice of the Blues panel during the past decade or so has been to give Blues to university cricketers of international, or near international, status.
Only a few of the more fortunate have come into this category.
Under the rules governing the award of Blues, it is clearly laid down that cricketers of a "good provincial standard" who take part in Tournament shall be eligible for the award.
Assuming that "a good provincial standard" applies to anyone chosen to represent the six major associations—Central Districts, Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury, Otago and Northern Districts—it is clear many have been passed over who ought to have qualified.
To quote an example: The N.Z.U. cricket team which toured Australia this year contained three players of first-class stature, yet not one received a Blue in spite of the team's good record on tour. The only award went to John Sparling, the New Zealand off-spinner.
While no-one would want to see Blues cheapened, or awarded willy-nilly to those who did well at Tournament, it is obvious that a change is necessary in the policy of the Blues panel. The rules are there and the Blues panel should be directed to act on the standards laid down.
The rowers have been getting a fair deal!!! and I would be the last to argue with the sportsmen who told me this. In fact, the rowers are the only people whom I have heard complimenting the N.Z.U. Blues panel over the years.
The N.Z.U. standards are going up year by year, and while they are in line with "good provincial standard," some shooters feel that in view of New Zealand's high world standard and the comparative lack of experience of university students, a slightly lower standard would still keep the Blues in the sky.
What is good provincial standard as referred to in Clause 53? Is second at National Championships not sufficient to satisfy the selectors in this regard? Richard Swindell was second at National Championships in the diving, but was beaten by Bill McCarroll at the N.Z.U. Championships by 1.7 pts. Bill was good enough for an N.Z.U. Blue (I1 quite agree), but Richard was not!!
Blues are supposed to be awarded for competition at the annual tournaments Or for N.Z.U. representation. The 1957 team to tour Australia were not granted any Blues for performances in Australia. The Blues panel said that they had not seen these people in action, nor had the Blues' selectors—a rather lame excuse, as times and performances could be shown quite easily. This peculiar ruling did Theo Verhoeven out of an N.Z.U. Blue for waterpolo.
Theo was captain of the waterpolo team in Australia which lost only one game of the 13 played. He was goalkeeper for Wellington, who were national champions, and goalkeeper for The Rest v. New Zealand (not being eligible for N.Z. on nationality grounds). He broke his ankle a week before Tournament, so no Blue; an appeal signed by all the members of the touring team failed.
These are only two examples of the swimmers' grievances, but they show why the swimmers have completely lost faith in the N.Z.U. Blues panel.
The basketball and tennis players approached did not feel competent to comment—I respect their silence. Yachters are of course, not eligible for Blues as yet.
All the sports clubs appear to be satisfied with the Vic Blues panel, and I hope that under the new Sports Council the present satisfactory system continues. The loss of Clem (Dr. J. C.) Hawke to the Vic panel will be great, but I am sure Massey (where he has been appointed a Senior Lecturer) will gain from our loss.
Salient does not approve of the present N.Z.U. Blues system, especially the arrangement for appeals. Appeals are heard by the same panel that has refused the Blue. British justice!