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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1910



I'll catch it ere it come to the ground."


"A hit, a very palpable hit."


Our first year of senior cricket is over, and our fate has been similar to that of many other clubs situated as we were. Yet, even after the hard fact of being awarded the wooden spoon has been fully realised, there remains much to cheer us. Between the last four teams there was not much difference, so that on our merits we might as easily have been fifth as eighth. And did we not have two reps.? Looking forward to our next season, one remembers that many of the team last season were new to senior cricket, and their experience cannot but benefit them. With better facilities for practice, there seems no reason why we should not start next season with a keen, and far more efficient team.

In the championship matches, we performed valiantly—at the start. The first two matches, against fairly weak teams, we won, but in the next, against Petone (not a very strong combination) the whole team failed disastrously in the first innings. The end of the game was more even, but we lost by 100 runs. South, in the succeeding game, provided a close and interesting contest. One of our opponents was scoring freely, six more runs being wanted to win, the last man, not a brilliant bat, came in, but defied the bowlers till those six runs were obtained. Three successive defeats, by East A. North and Central, followed, and then we unaccountably failed against East B. whom we had previously defeated by over an innings. Truly, cricket is a page 73 game of ups and downs. The season closed, after many interruptions, with a one-innings match against Hutt, lost by one run.

In the match against Canterbury College, played on the Wellington College ground, the outstanding feature was our recovery in the second innings, mainly due to Berendsen, and the comparative failure of Canterbury's best bats in their second innings. The visitors, winning the toss, batted, first scoring 225. King's 104, mainly from leg strokes, proved a great help. We responded with only 115 (Dempsey 32, Monaghan 28), but in the follow-on, Berendsen retrieved the side by making 90 in a forceful and free style. Mild excitement prevailed when in Canterbury's second innings the first wicket fell for only 6 runs, and as one after another of the best bats fell a victim to Monaghan's swerves. Niven's breaks, or Dempsey's slows. Every effort was made in the field to save runs, and for six wickets the score read only 84. Hasty mathematics showed that we had a fair chance, but Denniston, by steady play, disillusioned us, and Canterbury won by four wickets.

There was a fair attendance during the afternoon of the match, and the Committee were pleased to see many College supporters and friends taking an interest in the welfare of the teams. The thanks of the Club are due to those ladies who so kindly presided over the afternoon tea arrangements, and to those friends who so generously cared for the visitors.

In commenting on the form shown throughout the season perhaps the weakest feature of the team has been the batting. The only reliable bats we had were Foster and Monaghan, both of whom are to be congratulated on securing places in the reps. Three our four offers might score, but there was not the same degree of security. Of bowling, there was a fair variety, but until Findlay came, we had no fast bowler—often a valuable asset. Monaghan proved most deadly among the wickets, and it was unfortunate that we were deprived of his spraining a muscle. Foster proved a good change bowler, but deteriorated towards the end of the season. Niven and Miller both achieved a fair amount of success, the former especially bowling very consistently, often with very hard luck. Dempsey's success in breaking up partnerships was well marked. The fielding, though not inferior to that of many of the teams we have met, was yet not nearly so good as it might easily have been. It is page 74 not the easiest thing to field ground hits on many of the grounds we played on, but they can certainly be fielded better than they were. The art of fielding is the easiest of all the three cricket arts to learn, while proficiency in it is often of as much value to the side as expertness in batting or bowling. On the whole, there is a great amount of valuable material in the team, which wants but developing through constant practice to prove a valuable aid.

Averages in Senior Competition for Season 1909-10.
Batting Bowling
In. Rns Av. Wkts. Rns. Av.
1. Foster 12 411 34.25 1. Dempsey 12 108 9
2. Monaghan 14 199 14.2 2. Stainton 2 23 11.5
3. Ward 8 108 13.5 3. Monaghan 33 407 12.3
4. Berendsen 12 127 10.58 4. Foster 23 286 12.43
5. Niven 12 114 9.53 5. Miller 21 296 14.09
6. Stainton 3 26 8.6 6. Niven 18 283 15.7
7. Griffiths, J. 9 77 8.55 7. Mackay 2 47 23.5
8. Dempsey 15 128 8.53 8. Findlay 6 47 35.5
9. Darroch 5 42 8.4 9. Darroch 0 17 __
10. Findlay 6 42 7
11. Griffiths, H. 8 42 6.5
12. de la Mare 16 103 6.4
13. Burbidge 7 34 4.8
14. Jamson 3 9 3
15. Miller 12 34 2.8
16. Mackay 4 10 2.5
17. Broad 7 12 1.7

The junior teams were somewhat weak materially, owing to the new departure into senior grade, but were weakened still more by the constant changes necessitated by men being required to fill unavoidable vacancies in the senior ranks. The latter effect was heightened by an unfortunate arrangement existing for some time by which Junior matches began on a different Saturday from senior and third-class. Still, in the face of all this, Caddick led his cheerful band of experts through the round of junior matches, being successful in carrying off the victory twice, while Brosnan "coached" the glorious third, who managed to record one victory.

A strong attempt was made this year to reduce from abstract to concrete, that much-discussed disideratum, a University Cricket Tournament, and though our efforts to arrange a triangular contest between Auckland, Canterbury, and Wellington failed, yet the degree of success obtained, showed that the process of reduction is by no means impossible. Most probably, next season will see it in action. Till then—we practise.