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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 3 (June 1, 1938.)

Panorama of the Playground — Highlights of New Zealand Sport

page 63

Panorama of the Playground
Highlights of New Zealand Sport

Leaving New Zealand without any flourishing of trumpets, the New Zealand polo representatives more than justified the high opinions formed of their ability, and succeeded in vanquishing the best teams Australia could field. Particular praise was given the New Zealand ponies which were said to be faster and more clever than the steeds used by the Australians, but due credit was also given the skill and combination of the players.

Boxing in New Zealand has more ups and downs than a lift attendant! About twelve months ago it seemed that there was going to be a regular boom period for the men of the padded glove, but a lull set in and things drifted back to a parlous state. Now there seems to be a reaction and, although the standard of professional boxing may not be as high as would be desired, there are numbers of tyro professionals getting chances of fights and from the number of boxers available it should be possible to unearth another Johnnie Leckie, Charlie Purdy or Tommy Donovan.

Another success scored by New Zealand in Australia was the win of Miss Jean Hahn, of Christchurch, in the New South Wales waltz skating championship held recently. Miss Hahn won her right to represent New Zealand by winning a competition which saw the provincial winners in action and her success abroad demonstrates just one other sphere of athletic endeavour that has not been given much encouragement in the Dominion. It is understood that a move is on foot to include roller-skating championships on the Olympic programme—ice skating has long been a feature—and if that day should come, New Zealand should not be long in taking its place among the leaders.

Sir Julien Cahn's Cricket Team.

More than one New Zealand cricketer has been given the opportunity of big cricket in England and abroad by the good offices of Sir Julien Cahn, who specialises in finding remunerative employment for promising players so that he has always a good cricket team at his disposal.

News has been received in New Zealand that Sir Julien Cahn's team will make a tour of New Zealand in February and March of next year and New Zealanders should see cricket at its best. A suggestion—and a good one, too—has been made that the first match by the tourists should be one against a team of New Zealand schoolboys. Many of New Zealand's cricketers have been at their best while attending school—M. P. Donnelly secured New Zealand representation while attending New Plymouth Boys’ High School—and this opportunity of giving young and promising players experience against proven players should have a most beneficial effect.

New Zealand Tennis Players.

The spirit of adventure is not yet dead! When the New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association decided against sending representatives to compete at Wimbledon, the Mecca of all tennis players, there were many disappointed New Zealanders, but none more so than A. D. Brown (who had made a phenomenal rise, to top flights) and D. Coombe (who had just returned from England where he had made a good impression). But this pair did not sit down and cry. They made arrangements to get positions on a steamer travelling to England and in the most humble capacities worked their way to the Old Land where, if Dame Fortune rewards their enterprise they will add lustre to New Zealand's tennis name and follow in the footsteps of the immortal Anthony Wilding, Alan Stedman and Cam Malfroy. New Zealand tennis players, those who have gone abroad, have shown that they have the necessary ability to reach the top flights—all they need is the opportunity.

Cricket and Rugby Enthusiast.

This year's president of the New Zealand Rugby Union, Mr. A. M. Ongley, is a man of enthusiasm for both cricket and Rugby. Born at Oamaru and educated at St. Patrick's College (Wellington), Mr. Ongley represented North Otago, Hokitika, and Manawatu on the Rugby field and for his services to Rugby in the Manawatu district was elected a life member after many years in the office of president of that Union.

On the cricket field, Mr. Ongley represented Hawke's Bay, West Coast (taking, eight wickets for 36 runs against “Plum” Warner's team), North Island (playing in the first contest between the North and South Islands) and Manawatu (captaining the district team against Melbourne Cricket Club). For the past 15 years he has been selector of the Manawatu teams and for a similar period has chosen the Country team to play against Wellington.

His was the guiding hand that brought about a reconstitution of the New Zealand Rugby Union, a move that should bear fruit in the years to come.

In civic interests, Mr. Ongley has not waited for others to do the work. For seven years a Borough Councillor in Feilding, he later served six years as Mayor of that progressive town. If he carries the same enthusiasm into his new role he should go down in history as a “big man” in New Zealand football.

Rugby in Japan.

New Zealand Rugby players will, sooner or later, be including Japan in the list of countries to tour. Already a New Zealand University team has played in the Land of the Rising Sun, and on return to New Zealand reported that the Japanese players have a clear conception of the game, but that they page break
(Rly. Publicity photo.) The Chief Accountant's Machine Repair Workshop in the new station building at Wellington. (See article on page 10.)

(Rly. Publicity photo.) The Chief Accountant's Machine Repair Workshop in the new station building at Wellington. (See article on page 10.)

play to a set schedule and do not vary their play to meet the occasion. But Rugby football in Japan is improving, and although the stature of the average Japanese citizen is a handicap, competent observers declare that the day is not far away when Japanese teams will take a prominent place in world Rugby. More than 40,000 spectators recently saw the final of the Eastern Universities championship played at the famous Meiji Stadium and the game is fast being adopted as a national pastime.

Losses to Rugby.

When Messrs. Alan Good and Samuel Wilson passed away, the Grim Reaper recently took away two men prominently associated with the history of New Zealand Rugby football.

Mr. Good, one of four brothers prominent in New Zealand sport — each brother had fine track performances to his credit—represented New Zealand on the Rugby field in 1893, being one of the first three Taranaki players to win an All Black jersey. He toured Australia that year, but in 1888 had played against Lilywhite and Shrewsbury's first English team to visit New Zealand. In 1928 he accompanied the All Blacks on their tour of South Africa.

Mr. Wilson was president of the Canterbury Rugby Union for many years, and represented New Zealand at the International Rugby Conference held in London in 1924, at the time the “Invincible All Blacks” were winning their matches. A life member of the Canterbury Rugby Union, Mr. Wilson never won representative honours in New Zealand, although he won a New South Wales representative cap while living in Australia. In addition to his interest in football, Mr. Wilson served for several years as an executive officer on the New Zealand Cricket Council.

Addressing schoolboys in Canterbury not long before his death, Mr. Wilson gave the lads this sound advice: “Boys, I want you to do this for me: See how much you can put into the game, and not how much you can get out of it, for as an old man who has played football I can assure you that the more you put into it the more pleasure you will take out.”

Physical Welfare and Recreation Scheme.

New Zealand's move to improve the physical well-being of its inhabitants has advanced another step by the appointment of a Council to carry out the policy of the Physical Welfare and Recreation Scheme. In selecting the key officials, Hon. W. E. Parry has made a wise choice and all sections of the community are represented. Although sport—competitive exercise—is likely to play a big part in the scheme it is noted that many of the members of the council are prominent in social activity as distinct from competitive sport, and it will be by the alliance of sport and social work that the best results may accrue.

Fine Innings by Dempster.

C. S. Dempster, who was selected among the five best cricketers of the year following the New Zealand tour of England a few seasons ago, distinguished himself by topping the score in Leicester's second innings against Bradman's touring Australians last month. Although he failed in the first innings, after being struck by rising balls, Dempster compiled an excellent 105, to score the first century against the tourists.

Redpath Cup Award.

Ken Uttley, former Wairarapa High School student and later a pupil at Southland Boys’ High School, has been awarded the Redpath Cup for the most meritorious performance by a representative in the major New Zealand cricket associations during the 1937–38 season. Uttley, in his earlier days, was a prominent competitor at the Secondary Schools’ athletic championships in Wellington and although not much higher than the hurdles he could keep the champions scampering in those events. In the broad jump he was particularly effective.

Uttley played six innings in representative cricket games last season, captaining Otago. He scored 419 runs for an average of 69.83. His highest score was 138. Uttley has also represented Otago on the Rugby field.

The Heeneys Again!

Among the boxers chosen to represent New Zealand at the Empire Games in Sydney, is noted the name Darcy Heeney. The Christian name recalls memories of Australia's greatest middleweight boxer, Les Darcy, while the surname is known in boxing rings in New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and America. Darcy Heeney, fighting son of a fighting father, is a nephew of Tom Heeney, who fought Gene Tunney for the heavyweight boxing championship several years ago. Darcy's father, Jack Heeney, held the New Zealand professional middleweight championship for many years. As an amateur Jack Heeney won the welterweight championship of New Zealand in 1914—twenty-three years later his son brought the title back to the family!