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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)

Panorama of the Playground — The Rules and the Game

page 63

Panorama of the Playground
The Rules and the Game

An object lesson in good sportsmanship was given by Alex. Murray, who was disqualified in the New Zealand Open golf championship last month after leading the field home by two strokes. Murray's offence was to have a practice putt at the eighth hole. When this act was reported by his companion, J. P. Horna-brook, disqualification came automatically.

There were more than a few of the spectators at the championship meeting at Hamilton, who deplored Horna-brook's action more than they did the breach of the rules by Murray, but, to the credit of the champion of two seasons ago, Murray took up a totally different attitude.

He had committed a breach—unintentionally—but the punishment was provided for in the book of rules.

To have won a championship only to lose it for what some may call a trivial technicality would upset the unruffled temperaments of most sportsmen, but it failed to disturb Murray, who has been the first to come out in defence of Hornabrook's action, in reporting the breach. Rules are made to be observed and this point was never more clearly made than by Walter Travis, an American golfer, who was almost ostracised in England because he insisted in the rules being carried out to the letter. At the time he was most unpopular but, to-day, he is remembered as the one golfer who did more than any other to see that the rules were carried out if they deserved a place on the book or abolished if they were not serving any useful purpose.

In most branches of athletic endeavour we find rules which do not seem to serve any useful purpose but, almost without exception, there is good reason for the rules being included in the book. Incidents forgotten by those who criticise have, more often than not, been responsible for the drafting of this or that rule and, as sure as night follows day, the rule will one day serve to remind a competitor that “it's not done.”

* * *

The Royal and Ancient Game.

Perhaps in no other sport than golf is there such a keen interest displayed by people who have never seen the game played. I refer to the ultimate result of the Open, amateur and professional golf championships recently contested at Hamilton.

Few of the many thousand newspaper readers in New Zealand have ever seen any of the players in action; few would even deign to take the trouble to walk around the links to see the players in action in the big events, but it would surprise even the golfers to know just how their play was followed through the columns of the daily press.

When it became known that Alex. Murray had been disqualified for an unintentional breach of a rule and that Hornabrook, Shaw and Moss would fight out an extra round of golf, interest reached a fever height.

In a similar degree, the doings of the women golfers at Napier gave New Zealanders something sporting to discuss—and it must be admitted that sporting conversation became a little difficult after die defeat of New Zealand in the third Test against South Africa!

Mrs. Hollis (nee Oliver Kay) came right back into the sporting limelight to defeat Miss S. Tolhurst (Australia) in the women's championship and fully endorsed her claim to being the outstanding woman golfer in Australia or New Zealand at the present time.

Rugby Union Football in New Zealand.

All is not well with Rugby football in New Zealand! This assertion may be proven by a search through the files of any newspaper published in New Zealand during the past six weeks. Perhaps the greatest good done to New Zealand football was the defeat of our representatives in the third Test at Auckland, when the Springboks won by 17 points to 6. For too long we have lived in the atmosphere of smug complacence; we have imagined that our footballers were the best on earth and we have been content to let posterity take care of itself.

Of course the blame is attached on the New Zealand Rugby Union, but the public cannot escape its share of criticism. It is the public which dictates the style of football played in any country—not the player nor the official! Dull, prosaie Rugby football will soon drive the public to seek other forms of amusement and to keep that public interest New Zealand players have been forced to alter the style of their play. Along came a team of players who played the game we had known in 1928—they admitted they had learned from Maurice Brownlie's team of that season—and they, the Springboks, showed us how football should be played.

page break
(W. W. Stewart Collection.) Arrival in Auckland of a special train from Wellington.

(W. W. Stewart Collection.)
Arrival in Auckland of a special train from Wellington.

The Rugby public should remember, too, that it has a big voice in the election of the New Zealand Rugby Union and if individuals refuse to assert their rights they should not have any redress.

Readers might ask just what say they have in the election of the N.Z.R.F.U.? Their voice in the Rugby world comes through the affiliated clubs. Any citizen of New Zealand may link up with a football club and vote at the annual meeting at which delegates to the Rugby Union are elected. These club delegates in turn elect a delegate who attends the annual meeting of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, at which meeting the principal officials for the year are appointed. It is, therefore, an easy matter to trace the connection between the individual supporter and the council officers of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

Because New Zealand has struck a lean period in football—something that comes along in cycles in every sport and in every country—there is an element crying for the heads of the officials. Truly the sporting world is a peculiar one and a forgetful one!

Trials for the Empire Games.

Next month will see the leading amateur track and field athletes of New Zealand in action at the Basin Reserve track, Wellington, to justify their inclusion in the team to represent this Dominion at the Empire Games in Sydney early next year.

It is a wise move on the part of the New Zealand Amateur Athletic Association and should settle many little differences which arose over the suggestion that the team should be chosen from nominations and not from competitive performances.

There has been comment that the New Zealand amateur championship meeting, to be held in March, is set too far back on the calendar, but athletes should remember that they, as well as others, must occasionally make sacrifices. If an athlete is keen to win an Empire title surely he should not cavil at having to get fit for that event and so jeopardise his chances of winning the New Zealand title a few months later? Far better to train for one event than to be greedy and train for both and get none.

New Zealand Amateur Wrestler.

Although there has been considerable praise given to the performances of the amateur wrestlers who won the New Zealand amateur wrestling titles at Wellington recently, I am not one who thought the standard up to that of the previous two seasons. Apart from Nolan, who won his matches with ridiculous ease, I do not consider the standard to be high. Anderson and Godfrey, who retained their titles, were definitely below their best form, while the absence, through injuries, of Hutchison and Bradley, former title-
(Railway Publicity photo.) A Railways Department ‘bus on one of the popular sight-seeing of Wellington city and environs.

(Railway Publicity photo.)
A Railways Department ‘bus on one of the popular sight-seeing of Wellington city and environs.

holders, gave some of the competitors an easy time. If New Zealand is to be represented by wrestlers at the Empire Games it is essential that only the best men—not necessarily the champions—be sent away.

Losses to New Zealand Sport.

New Zealand sport lost two valued officials and supporters a few weeks ago, when Messrs. Earl Stewart and A. W. O. Travers passed away with tragic suddenness. Of the two men, Mr. Stewart was better known to the sporting public because of his connection with boxing. As a referee he stood above any other “third man” in New Zealand, and although at times his decisions were questioned it was significant that the losing boxer would ask that “Mick” Stewart be the referee in future bouts, A great man, his loss will be felt for many a year.

For authoritatively written sporting information, there is no better value in the Dominion than “N.Z. Sporting Life and Referee.” A carefully selected staff of sporting writers—all experts in their respective branches of sport—weekly place before the paper's large army of readers the very latest and best in sporting news and comment. Whether it's racing, trotting, wrestling, boxing, athletics, cricket, swimming, or yachting it is just the same. Accuracy and brightness are the paper's guiding principles and on those solid foundations its Dominion-wide popularity has been built.

Every sportsman who knows his sport buys “Sporting Life and Referee” and makes a close study of its contents. It is the paper that materially helps to make racing a payable proposition. “Fourpence and well worth it,” is the public's verdict.