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The Spike or Victoria College Review, June 1906

[review of the activities of the football club]

"You are beaten to earth, well, well, what's that?
Get up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there, that's the disgrace.
The harder you fall, why, the higher you'll bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye.
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts,
But how did you fight and why."

Sketch of football players

Have expectations been fulfilled? The most sanguine members of the club were looking forward to the incoming season with hopes. Hard work would probably give us three fairly creditable teams, but no one quite expected that we would double our membership and be able to play four teams.

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Since the beginning, the history of the club has been one of striving and aspiring. In 1902 we played one match, but couldn't form a club. In the next year the fears of a few of our prominent members were overcome by the enthusiasm of those who would do or die, and a club was formed. Two teams were forthcoming, the second of which was usually short-handed, and the scores remind one of the IIIB's worst days, yet they never defaulted, and in that same season lived to win a match. Things became too easy in the following year when the first began to win a few matches, so it was decided to terrify the senior teams by moving up a step. Again fears and objections were overcome and the club was in its old position of struggle. page 39 The second team was playing well in the third class championship, thus leaving a gap between our first and second teams which the increase in our numbers has enabled us to bridge. This year with a membership of over sixty, with four teams in the field, and with expectations, we can fairly claim to be the strongest athletic club in the college.

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The greatest difficulty we have to face, as in former years, is the lack of time and facilities for training. It was thought that a gymnasium would be fitted up in the top storey and our difficulties would be overcome, but a small matter of falling ceiling plaster annoying the classes below intervened. Since then a scheme for building a gymnasium has been brought forward. This is, of course, supported by the football club, because a gymnasium at the college itself would be of very great service indeed. Some of the other clubs do not seem to want it, or agree that it would be very nice if it cost nothing; the tennis club would be pleased to use the shower bath. Still there must be many students outside of the club to whom an opportunity of physical improvement to combine with their mental culture would not come amiss. At any rate, even if there were very few, the club numbers nearly a sixth of the total number of students and is thus entitled to a fair amount of consideration, for hardly any improvement that could be effected would affect so large a number.

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Matches were played last year against Canterbury College and Otago University and efforts are being made to make these fixtures, if not annual, yet periodic. It is suggested that each year a triangular contest be held in Christchurch. If this is arranged for this year it will probably be during the vacation, but as there are rumours of a visit from Sydney University it is impossible to say what will finally be decided upon.

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"The matches of the 1st XV. have shown its main weakness—want of combination, and it can hardly be expected that there will be improvement in this direction until members have an opportunity to practise together, that is until Kelburne Park is improved. But there are some other points that deserve the consideration of individual members of the team.

(1)The tackling of many of the forwards is weak. What page 40 is the use of following up to miss a man by going high? Tackle low and hard and go for the man with the ball. Tries have been given away by backs waiting for the pass.
(2)The line kicking of most of the backs is weak, and as the forwards are kept running to and fro the result has been that in most matches the forwards while more than holding their own in the first spell have not been able to endure to the end.
(3)Players should remember that if they are not actually playing the ball they have still a duty to perform., viz., get into position for the subsequent play.
(4)Promising rushes have been spoiled by forwards trying to pick up instead of playing the ball with their feet.

The material of the XV. is good; the spirit of the game is there; and with attention to the points mentioned and the opportunity for practice the present team should give some good exhibitions."

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The Juniors, owing to lack of training, have not been so successful as was expected, but on the whole have proved worthy of their grade. The forwards are inclined to keep the game too close. If the backs were given more to do there would be a decided improvement in the game.

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IIIA have played 4 games and won 3. The fourth was lost mainly through the selfishness of some of the backs. The offenders might be tried on the wing, for with this fault remedied the team has a fair chance for the Cup.

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IIIB consists of 13 forwards and 2 backs—when there is a full team. They suffer in being constantly drawn on by the teams above. There is some good material in the team, but a coach is badly wanted here as all through the club.