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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1910

First Fifteen

First Fifteen.

For some years the Victoria College seniors have been conspicuous in the tail of the senior competition. Many of their defeats were owing to lack of training, the want of "condition" telling a woeful tale in the last fifteen minutes.

This year, with a brand new gymnasium, and Kelburne Park available, it was hoped that lack of "condition" would be notably absent, and so far it has been. Spectators who remembered our weakness last year have been surprised to find that we could play the game to the bitter end and score in the last few minutes. Besides lack of condition, there was another reason for our losing matches, namely, the kidglove manner in which as a rule we handled our opponents. We still have that fault that costs us two or three matches last year. Only on one occasion this year have our men "downed" their opponents as they should do. An opponent can be rendered harmless for the moment without any rough play, so let us always down our man, for he is dangerous while on his feet.

One source of weakness to Victoria College is that many of our players are with us only for a year or two, and each year sees a great change in all our teams. This year was no exception; many old faces were missing and strange ones in their places. Last year's skipper, Humphrey O'Leary, who was injured towards the close of the season, has permanently retired. F. de la Mare, hero of many a hard-fought game, was also missing, but Laurie Short made his reappearance.

To get down to the various games this season.

V.C. v Poneke. At Miramar. Although beaten to the tune of 19 to nil, we were in no way disgraced, and made a very creditable showing, so much so that the few barrackers of the College prophesied a " future " for the team. The forwards played a good, hard game, while the backs played creditably, Duncan and Faire both showing improvement, while Phillips was as solid and useful as ever.

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V.C. v Old Boys. At Karori. The team showed some little alternation, Bertrand retiring from the ¾ line, his place being taken by Young. Contrary to the expectations of the public, and also of Old Boys, we scored a decided victory, 8 to 3, a try scored by Young and converted by J. Ryan, and a try by Wilson. Our team again played good football, and made the pace merry from start to finish.

V.C. v Southern. At athletic Park, No. 2. The team which took the field was perhaps the best we have ever had, at any rate it equalled the record put up by a previous team, add defeated the enemy by 26 to 0. The forwards were equally matched, but our backs were decidedly superior, and they played the best game of the season. Duncan was the hero of the match, scoring no less than four tries, most of them after brilliant runs, which aroused the enthusiasm of the spectators. Phillips and Fairs scored a try each, while J. Ryan kicked three goals, and Phillips one.

V.C. v Athletic. At Karori. Here we suffered defeat by 6 to 0, and our chapter of accidents commenced. Shortly after the game started our "flier," Duncan, retired temporarily, owing to an injury to his ankle. During his absence the two tries, the only score of the match, were gained. Duncan returned to the field, but was compelled to retire, and is still a spectator. Wilson, who was resting, took his place, but we were unable to score.

V.C. v Orientals at Miramar. We had a very weak team, J. Ryan, one of our best, being absent, and not one of our three-quarter line being available, while our forwards were also altered, "Froggy" donned the jersey to help us out of a difficulty, and Russell reappeared as a senior. The junior three-quarters were palpably nervous, but acquitted themselves very creditably. We lost the match by 15 to 5, owing to the superiority of our opponents' backs, the best back team in the competition. Our forwards all played well, de la Mare, Curtayne and Wells being conspicuous, the last-named scoring a try just on the close of the game, and Curtayne added the major points. Our backs were outclassed, but Pownall, Young and Phillips played well. Pownall retired injured before the close, and has permanently retired from the game.

V.C. v Petone, on the Athletic Park. With high hopes, despite a weakened team, we faced our opponenets, but our hopes were dashed to the ground, for after a try by Phillips, which Ryan convered, we failed to score, while our opponents put on 18 points. The score does not represent the difference between the teams, for we made things very interesting most of the time. Our backs, with the exception of J. Ryan, who played a good game, were at fault, for our forwards, one and all, played a real good game, but Petone forwards are a very tough proposition.

V.C. v Melrose at Karori. During the match against Petone we cast eyes at the Melrose-Hutt contest, and came to the conclusion that we had a good chance to defeat both teams. We had the opportunity of testing our prophecy, on the following Saturday. This was the least enjoyable match of the season. We won by 12 to 0, tries being scored by Bertrand, Fair, Phillips and Ryan, but our place kicking was sadly at fault. Just on the close of the match Stainton retired, owing to an injury.

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Detailed List.
Against Result Points for Against
Poneke Lost 0 19
Old Boys Won 8 3
Southern Won 26 0
Athletic Lost 0 6
Oriental Lost 5 15
Petone Lost 5 18
Melrose Won 12 0
Total Points for... 56 61