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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

A Winter Tournament?

page 109

A Winter Tournament?

It seems a great pity that the Joynt Scroll Debating Contest had to be withdrawn from the list of Tournament events. All the available evenings are now, of course, fully taken up with Boxing, Swimming and the Tournament Ball, so that it would now be impossible to restore this historic event to the Tournament programme. At present, therefore, the Debating contest seems to be an "orphan" in the programme of Inter-University contests.

One way of restoring this contest to the fold would be to commence a Winter Tournament comparable to the Easter Tournament, but even wider in scope and variety. A programme of winter sports could easily be arranged. At present the Inter-University Hockey Tournament is held alternately in Christchurch and Wellington, about the King's Birthday. Later in this year, largely due to the efforts of the V.U.C. Harrier Club, the first Inter-University Harrier Championship was held in Wellington and it is also intended that the venue for this event should alternate in the same manner.

Here, then, is an opportunity for Victoria College to take the initiative as she did in the Inter-University Tournament. Already there are three Inter-University contests in existence, all three being held during the winter, namely, Hockey (about the King's Birthday), Debating (usually about July), and the Harrier Championships in August. With the addition of Rugby matches between the four University centres and the addition of golf there would be a wealth of sporting attractions during the day-time. Golf is growing in importance and it would be an easy matter to arrange a University Golf Champion-ship with the number of students now playing golf. The idea of a University Rugby Tournament similar to the Inter-Collegiate (Secondary Schools) Tournaments would also have much in its favour. Selection of the New Zealand University Rugby team to meet our friends across the Tasman would be simplified. This would also prevent the tendency of players to take lectures for one year and thus qualify for selection when there is the prospect of a New Zealand University Football Blazer and/or a tour to Australia in view and then to abandon lectures when this object is attained.

There are further arguments in favour of the proposal. A New Zealand University XV. could be selected and the Tournament rounded off by this team playing against the representative team in the centre where the Tournament is held. Failing this, the XV. could play a team from "the Rest." Either match would prove one of the outstanding events of the Rugby season, so that, to reduce matters to a sordid basis, finance would be simplified. Furthermore, a New Zealand University XV. would always be available and New Zealand could then fall into line with England and South Africa in providing a match against a university side for Overseas touring teams.

With Rugby and Hockey Tournaments and Harrier and Golf Championships, outstanding performers in these sports would have an opportunity of competing against their peers and, best of all, in meeting in fellowship which is so valuable a feature of the Easter Tournament. Incidentally, speaking of the social side, perhaps it might be advisable to transfer Basketball, really a winter sport, from the Easter Tournament and include it in the Winter Tournament with the Women's Hockey Tournament.

The evenings could be devoted to the Joynt Scroll Debating contest, a University Drama competition comparable to the exceedingly popular British Drama League Festivals, Fencing (which is growing in popularity with University students) and a Ball to complete the social round.

Scoffers will probably condemn the proposals as a far fetched ideal impossible of realisation.

The most effective reply to these jeremiads is to point to V.U.C.'s part in founding the Easter Tournament. In this connection the proposal mooted by Canterbury College in 1900 was but an immature "skeleton" and just as dead after one or two letters had passed between Canterbury, Otago and Victoria. But in 1901 the students of Victoria College, then scarcely founded, infused the breath of life into the abandoned skeleton, and with the hearty co-operation of page 110 C.U.C. set under way, in 1902, the Easter Tournament which has grown in importance and scope ever since. The students of those days had no precedent to guide them, communications were sketchy, and finance was a tremendous hurdle. If we of 1934 who have the glorious precedent of the Easter Tournament before us, a New Zealand University Students' Association to act as intermediary, and much improved communication in our favour cannot arrange a winter counterpart to the Easter Tournament, then we are poor things indeed.

Difficulties undoubtedly exist, but they will never be overcome if resolution is not brought to bear on the problems we have to face. With the experience of successful Easter and Hockey Tournaments and of the more recent Harrier Championships behind us, surely a little hard work and native wit will produce the eminently desirable result of a Winter Tournament; a Tournament intellectual as well as athletic.

We of Victoria may take legitimate pride in our connection with the Easter Tournament when we remember the size of the College. If other Centres have wrested the laurels from us they have at least known the strength of our opposition, and even if they have beaten us sometimes a: least we have taken more than our share of the organising of the contests.

We owe a debt to the past and have a responsibility for the future. Let us pay the former and meet the latter in a manner worthy of both.

R. J. Larkin.