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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 14. July 12, 1939

Hockey — Relegation System Criticised


Relegation System Criticised

"Making confusion worse confounded" was the phrase with which a well-known V.U.C. hockey player summed up his comments on the recent attempt by the Wellington Association to improve the standard of play by a system of grading.

"By interchanging, after the first round of matches, the two lowest teams in the grade below." he went on to say, "they hope that the standard in each grade will become more even, matches will be closer, and everyone will benefit.

"It is not unreasonable to suppose that they had in mind the Senior Grade in particular when they made this decision, the opinion being that many players there were not up to standard. But the course events have taken has shown the foolishness of their step. Next year, it is to be hoped not only that the system of regrading halfway through the season will be abandoned, but also that the Senior grade will be drastically reorganised.

"At the Club's Annual Meeting one member was criticised for suggesting it would be a good thing for the hockey in Wellington if the number of teams in Seniors was reduced to six. Even if Varsity lost their place in that grade. His remarks were based on considerable hockey experience in Auckland. Having played much Senior Hockey in a southern centre, I am inclined to agree with him. But I would say that there should be six senior clubs, and that under no conditions whatever should one club be allowed more than one team in the Senior grade. As a consequence of the recent mid-season shuffle, there are three Huia teams in the Senior grade, two Karori teams, and one team from each of three other clubs.

"The result? When in doubt, good players from other centres tend to join the stronger clubs, because they will have more chance of playing in Seniors, will be playing in good company, and thus catch the eye of the selector. This can do nothing but harm in the long run.

"Circumstances should be such as to make players do exactly the opposite—to join the weaker clubs. This does in fact happen when there are six senior clubs, and where I played last season, the bottom team in competitions was liable to defeat the leaders at any time without the event being dismissed as a fluke.

"I think that there is no doubt that the relegation of the University team is detrimental to the game, as well as to the club. However, it seems that we shall regain our position on the recent improved form, and under those circumstances the Club could not be accused of any ulterior motive in recommending the reforms suggested above to the Hockey Association. At present there are five clubs in the Senior grade, and University, by its recent decisive defeat of Wellington, would seem to be the logical choice for the sixth. I should like to see our Committee take a definite stand in making this proposition."