The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1908
[Review of the activities of the men's hockey club]
"I have endured and done in days before;
I have longed for all, and bid farewell to hope."
—R. L. Stevenson.
With the cheery optimism of all College Clubs, a small credit balance and the Third Class Championship in hand, the Hockey Club this season embarked in pursuit or the two remaining Championships and incidental glory. The same old conservative battle methods were adopted. Practices were considered inadvisable, noses were broken and influenza contracted; each man played in each other man's place each Saturday and each former College crack (Dixon alone excepted) was in turn brought out of his honorable oblivion to fill the casualty depleted ranks. The "future in the distance" and the encouragement of youthful players by promotion, were consistently ignored and the Club is duly face to face with the unwelcome fact that its proud possession the 3rd Class Championship has passed to another and that its cherished hopes remain unfulfilled.
In the face of this however it has to be written that the season has been the most successful in the Club's career. Of eight teams in the competition the Seniors, who occupied second last position at the end of the first round, secured third place in the final, having scored more goals than any other Club in the competition. In earlier matches their defence was weak and their play individual rather than combined, but recent performances, especially that against United, furnish indisputable proof of marked improvement. Despite their weakened team, the fight against the redoubtable Champions was a memorable one, victory being more richly deserved than the honorable draw.
There is a tradition at Victoria College that a personal interview with the Captain of the Junior Hockey Eleven at the beginning of any season will invariably elicit the same confession "The Junior Championship is a foregone conclusion," and such indeed it has ever been,—but never for Victoria College. This season's page 44 Captain—one Eichelbaum—had no reason to make a different confession, and his, as of yore, seemed born of deep conviction. But here the resemblance to all previous seasons appeared to end. Within a month of the season's close we were actually leading by one point for the Championship, Then came the crucial point and tradition once more asserted itself by selecting Y.M.C.A.—the ultimate Champions—to check our victorious career. St. Patrick's College Old Boys were responsible for a further fall from grace and the season's results leave the Juniors runners-up for the Championship. The team is to be congratulated and the higher honor may not be beyond it next year.
The III a team who last year earned the distinction of being the first College team to win a local Championship, found isolation on the pinnacle of fame irksome and unbefitting and the descent, though steady and decorous, has been sure. Four contributing causes they allege, aided them in the descent:—An undue share of Karori ground, absence of a referee on five occasions, playing shorthanded (average strength of team 9.4 men) and the depredations of "Eichy," the Junior Captain. Since some of their most famous successes were achieved on the aforesaid Karori ground, shorthanded and without a referee, it would seem that they owe their present unfortunate position to none other than the predatory "Eichy." An infusion of stray footballer in their latest matches has however acted as a rejuvenating tonic and they have closed the session with a brace of memorable victories.
The reputation of the III b team is at stake. Hitherto they have (with spasmodic lapses) justified expectations by losing all but one or two of their matches, but this year they so far forgot themselves as to win a series of matches at the end of the season. On one occasion only did they threaten to return to their former policy, when they turned out with seven men and an air of non-chalance which enabled Wesley to secure their solitary competition win. Socially the team has perhaps been the greatest success. In highways and byways members may often be seen fighting their battles over again, sighing for what might have been and recounting their "deeds of derring do."