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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1909

[Review of the activities of the football club]

"They run—see how they run."

—Battle of Quebec.

(By Ivor Davey).

Sketch of man kicking rugby ball

63 points for and 187 against—such is the newspaper tall y of the games played by the first fifteen this season; although it is to be feared that the newspapers have let us down lighter than circumstances warranted. The day, then, has not yet come when Victoria College, the cynosure of all footballs eyes, shall draw its countless thousands of supporters to watch with tremulous expectation and uproarious enthusiasm its games on the Athletic park. To those who have watched the progress of Victoria College football it sometimes seems as if that glorious day was as far off as when we first donned our green and gold in the senior ranks. And yet there is evident nowadays a feeling among onr opponents which was absent hitherto—a feeling that the College team is not to be despised, and that even the best of them must not take liberties lest, perchance, they might find their Waterloo at the hands of the green and gold.

One match won and two drawn—not a record to be proud of. But the games were clean and hard fought, and often victory hung long in the balance. And moreover the College has, during the past year, won its way into popularity. This fact became glaringly patent in the match against Poneke at the Petone Recreation ground. A large crowd came over to watch the final stages to the game, and the roars from a thousand throats acted on our men like a draught of new wine. Never did the College play a more brilliant gem than in this last twenty minutes. Time and again it hurled its forward and back divisions against an ever-receding line of red and black, and it is safe to say that had this volume of applause come to stimulate our men earlier in the game Poneke would not have won the senior championship.

page 36

Those who take an interest in College football will, no doubt, have read the weekly accounts of the various matches as they appeared in the papers, and it would be unprofitable to recapitulate them here. The football year is dead, and dead also are our defeats, our draws, and our solitary victory. But there is new year before us, a year which is fraught with possibilities if we only take to heart the various lessons which experience has endeavoured to teach us. Let us therefore state a few bald facts and make a few deductions, so that "he who runs may read" and profit.

We have already pointed out what effect a number of "barrackers" has on a team, and yet it is a fact that almost all of the College matches this season have been played in the presence of but two or at the most three supporters. Surely the College team, which is draw from a clearly defined body of students, has a right to expect that a little more interest should be taken in its doings.

But more important still is the question of training. We have a spacious gymnasium now, and there is no reason why College should not start off next year's season as the best trained team in the competition. It is all-important that the first match of the season should be won. In this connection we strongly advise the Club to hold its annual meeting earlier than hitherto and lose no time in getting its men into regular training.

Thirdly is the question of resourcefulness, especially among the back division. One expects clever football from a College team, but our football is not particularly interesting to watch, For instance, many of us must have noticed Sydney University's little dodge of throwing the ball out to half-way when penned up on their own goal-line. A year or two ago it was said that backs cannot indulge in tricky play so long as forwards cannot hook the ball; but this objection does not now hold good—Victoria College has one of the best packs in the city, and certainly the best "dribblers."

Lastly, there is the question of place-kicking. Cannot this be practiced on Kelburne Park? It is a very weak spot with the green and gold. And we have to complain that a chance was not given to several players who have proved themselves in other matches to be excellent place-kickers. There is, for instance, one College senior who won a medal down South for place-kicking, and he was not given a chance the whole year.

In conclusion we have to point out that the College team this year is a very young one, that it will next year be older and more experienced, and that with the addition of one or two page 37 crack players from other parts of the Dominion it will in the near future prove itself to be more than a match for any other team in Wellington.