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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1913

The Twelfth New Zealand University Tournament

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The Twelfth New Zealand University Tournament.

Twelve Tournament have come and gone, and the last, the third to be held in Wellington, was no whit less joyous than its predecessors. The most noteworthy features were, first and foremost, our won record victory Athletics, and secondly the equally convincing triumph of Auckland University College in Tennis. For the second time since 1910 we failed to secure the Joynt Debating Scroll, which this year has fallen to Otago, while Auckland carried off the Relay Cup. In view of the fact that the latter College has these two victories to its credit, we are somewhat at a loss to account for its being awarded the Wooden Spoon in addition. Presumably the said utensil is regarded as a purely athletic trophy.

Our Auckland guests arrived on Thursday evening, and the Southern contingents the following morning. Good Friday was a glorious day, the sort of day that it is nothing short of criminal to waste, but beyond a little training but the sprinters and boxers, an hour or two of tennis practice, and cricket match against Otago, was spent quietly.

The customary civic reception was held in the Town Hall Concert Chamber at 9.15 on Saturday, the Mayor and other local big-wigs being on the platform. Speeches of welcome were made by the Mayor, our own J. C. McDowall and Prof. Picken, all eminently praise-worthy by reason of their brevity. The Prof. secured the record he was after.


From the Town Hall an adjournment was made with all dispatch to the Wellington Club's Courts, where, of the earlier games, most interest centred round the duel between Duthie and Parker; the play was mostly back page 12 line, with little volleying, Parker taking more risks than his opponent; The first set terminated at 13—11 in favour of Duthie, who had no difficulty in winning the next, 6—2.

Cleghorn beat Parsonson, of Canterbury, comfortably. In the Men's Doubles some splendid play was witnessed, notably in the semi-final between Duthie and Campbell and Abernethy and Parsonson. Auckland won : 6—1, 7—5. Cleghorn and Parker reached the semi-final without being unduly pressed.

The best contest in the Women's Singles was that between Miss M'Laughlin. Victory fell to the Auckland at 11—9. Miss Tennant and Miss Cooke secured comfortable wins.

In the Women's Doubles, Misses Tennant and Lawry disposed of Miss Tompkins and the redoubtable Miss Cumming, 9—5, and Victoria College stocks began to look up; they followed this up with a victory in the second round over Misses Welsh and Taylor, 9—3.

In the Combined, Miss Tennant and Cleghorn beat Miss Millar and T. D. Smith, of Canterbury, 6—4, 6—4, Cleghorn being much superior to Smith, his overhead shots in particular being safer than his opponent's.

Thus on Saturday evening we wended our way to the Debate with our hopes of the morning translated into something nearly akin to confidence. All five championships seemed, if not within our grasp, at least within the realm of possibilities. Besides, who was Duthie, anyway?

By Tuesday evening we were considerably humbler. One of the best matches of the Tournament was played that morning, the semi-final of the Combined. The first set went to Auckland, 6—4, but in the second Victoria took four of the first five games. Then Auckland caught up, and it was game and game alternately, until we succeeded in getting the vantage, and won, 13—11. In the final set Duthie and Miss Cumming came away with great rush, and at one sage the score stood 5—1. Then Miss Tennant and Cleghorn followed suit, and took the four next games—5 all, and the excitement was positively painful. But, alas, to the Aucklanders it was page 13 that the next two games, and therefore the match, fell. The tennis played by both sides was really brilliant, and there was, as the score shows, little between them. Miss Tennant never played better in her life. In the final, Miss Cumming and Duthie won from Miss Welsh and Hart (Otago), 6—2, 6—4, without being extended.

Partridge caught Cleihorn napping at the commencement of the semi-final of the Men's Singles, but did not last, and in a similar fashion T. D. Smith took the first set from Duthie, who, however, made "on race" of the next two. The final came on rather late in the afternoon, when both men were feeling the effects of their strenuous day's work. The first set provided a stubborn go, with Duthie the winner at 8—6; he took the first games of the next set, but when Cleghorn carried off the next three games, decided to save himself for the succeeding set. In this Duthie showed himself the better player, for although Cleghorn volleyed well at accuracy; the final score was 6—2.

The Men's Doubles had already been decided—another scalp dangling at the Auckland belt, 6—I, 7—5.

In the first set Parker was quite bad, but recovered himself in the second. Duthie played with exasperating accuracy throughout, and as Campbell played up to him, their combination was too much for our men.

The Women's Doubles provided us with yet another disappointment. Miss Tennant had had a very heavy programme of games to get through, and by the afternoon was perceptibly tired, while Miss Lawry seemed to be below form. Thus we could score only six games to the nine of Misses Miller and Tutten (Canterbury), who had the honour of annexing the only championship which did not go North.

Both Miss Cumming and Miss Tennant made short work of their opponents in the earlier rounds of the Singles, but the final was not the battle royal it was expected to be. Miss Tennant, not yet recovered from the grueling effects of the Doubles final, fell a fairly easy victim, 9—4.

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It was an ironical Fate that confronted T. D. Smith and Cleghorn, after they had both patiently and with admirable fortitude borne up against four years of Jennings, each yearning with a great and mighty longing for 1913, victory, and the other's blood, with such an able successor to Jennings as Duthie. The present prospect seems to be that Duthie will finish up like Jennings, with an unbeaten record, for Cleghorn has seen his last Tournament, and there is no one else in sight likely to defeat the champion, young as he is and certain to improve. Still, it is unsafe to prophesy for four years ahead, and a Wilding may turn up at V. C. at any moment.


Easter Monday opened fine after the previous day's showers. but the southerly breeze was keen and strong. We will draw a veil over the tactics of certain citizens who blocked us form all athletic grounds, so that we had no option but to make the Athletic contest a part of the Citizens' Carnival. Suffice it that things went off much better than we had expected, and that we have the consolation of knowing that some twenty thousands of our fellow-countrymen and women have taken an interest in their University on at least one occasion.

The "gate" was, as we have indicated, a huge one; £35 was our share, all applications for an increase being firmly refused; once again we shall refrain from comment. On the whole it seems unnecessary.

Newtown park is not an ideal spot for a sports meeting; it has far too much slope for one thing, and in the second place the surrounding hills and trees fail entirely to keep off the wind. Competitors in the middle and long distance events, therefore, had a double task, and the check on their pace, as runners turned the corner at the bottom of the ground, was most marked; as some slight compensation, the finish was down hill.

Otago were the favourites for the Athletic Shield, although Canterbury rather fancied their own chances; like Brer Rabbit, we lay low, and said nothing; Auckland, as usual, nobody seemed to take into consideration. page 15 In view of the ultimate issue, it is interesting to recall the jubilation of several Otago barrackers as Williams, followed by Seddon, came romping home in the mile; the said jubilation was due to the fact that Canterbury would obtain no points in that event, and "we don't mind Victoria winning this so long as Canterbury's out of it."

Otago always seem strong in field events, and Boyne had no difficulty in winning both Shot and Hammer; indeed, his performance in the latter was over 9 feet better than Reid's record of the previous year, and should stand for some time.

The sprint events were a gift to Christie (Otago). It was very hard lines for Benham that necessitated the 100 yards being run a second time on account of a prodigious "break" by Mansell. Benham got second place in the first race, but was displaced by G. Strack in the re-run. Mansell failed to reproduce his form of last year, and even with his flying start was left in the ruck. Equally convincing were the victories of Thomas (Canterbury) in the middle-distance events; this runner is at least the equal of Moyes and Opie as a quarter-miler, and a N.Z. championship at either quarter or half is well within his powers. As it was, one could but lament the short-comings of the track and the strength of the wind, which combined to render records impossible.

In the Broad Jump Egley won comfortably, and his winning effort was at no time seriously endangered; Reynolds, of Auckland, might, however, have proved a serious rival, and ever have carried off the victory had he not, with unfailing regularity, misjudged the take-off, sometimes to the extent of nearly a couple of feet.

Hall-Jones improved upon his last year's performance in the High Jump, with Young (Canterbury) only an inch below him, but failed in his attempts to reach Millard's record.

The onlookers will not readily forget Hudson's great Three Mile, which exhausted the stocks of superlatives of all the local sporting and newspaper men. Williams's performance would itself have been a meritorious one, but Hudson almost lapped him; little wonder all the page 16 other competitors dropped out. The time was 17 2/5sec. better than Rigg's best, run on the Basin Reserve on a perfectly calm day, with a track in excellent condition.

The most exciting race of the day was undoubtedly the 120 Yards Hurdles final, the starters in which were Stewart and Harston, of Auckland, and the Strack brothers.

Stewart and G. Strack fought out every inch of the way, never a foot between them; over the last fence Stewart landed just a fraction of a second in front of Strack, and it seemed that the race must be his, but our man made a desperate leap at the tape, and just got there. We cannot understand the "Evening Post" reporter's doubts as to the accuracy of the time-keeping in this event. 16 2/5sec. for the first heat and 16 4/5sec. for the second and final certainly do look rather sensational at first, but the fact that the race was run down the slope, with a following wind, affords ample triumph for the Strack family, who had the finish to themselves; considering the conditions, the time (65sec.) was excellent.

The Mile Walk was yet another event from which we gathered 3 point. The perfect understanding between Cleghorn and Sievwright enabled them to press Ross that he "broke," and was called off in the third lap. Sievwright eventually won in record time, with Cleghorn 30 yards behind, the rest nowhere. A lot of nonsense was written by a reporter adversely commenting on the winner's style, the only effect of which was to draw forth a chorus of expert dissent from such criticism. The fact that Sievwright has competed at every local meeting for the past three years, without ever being so much as cautioned, is sufficient replay to his critics.

The Relay Race afforded some excitement by reason of the desperate finish. Stewards and Mackersey, the latter completely done, staggered down the straight neck and neck, until our man dropped a few yards from the tape. Meanwhile Thomas, who started something like forty yards behind, was coming along at a great pace, and actually finished not three yards behind the winner.

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The Debate.

"That it is desirable that New Zealand should federate with Australia for the purposes of defence by land and sea."

Canterbury took the affirmative in the first debate, and were opposed by Victoria College. In the second debate, Auckland and Otago took the affirmative and the negative respectively. The judges were His Honor Mr. Justice Chapman, Sir John Findlay, K.C.M.G., K.C., and the Rev. Farther Kennedy.

This practical political question was this year submitted to the College representatives for the testing of themselves and the edification of the Nation.

The speeches generally showed an abundance of reading on the subject, but the information so liberally scattered abroad lacked, in many cases, penetrative effect because of the absence of authority behind it. Statements by College debaters prefaced by the words "I believe" carry, now as of yore, curiously little weight. Especially in political disputation, concerned as it is with the ever-varying conditions of bodies politic, it is necessary for speakers to refer to competent authorities for the facts upon which they base their arguments.

The method of arrangement in individual speeches was generally bad, but it is fair to say that Hunt (O.U.), Watson (V.C.), and Phillips (A.U.C.) were quite lucid in the order of their deliverance. Most of the speakers made an attempt to anticipate or combat the arguments of their opponents, and in this respect the debate reached a high standard.

The manner of delivery of the speeches rudely disturbed the consciousness of the discriminating editor of "The Triad." His telepathic communications were as follows:—

"Bad deportment was rampant. The Canterbury speakers glued a hand into a pocket, and were followed in their nasty habit by the first speakers for V.C. and A.U.C. Carrington (C.C.) hobbled incessantly, and deigned only on occasions to notice his audience. Faulty voice production was fife, as a pest is or an epidemic. It is positively certain that with the possible exception to Treadwell (V.C.), all page 18 the speakers were distorting and mutilating their vocal chords. Galling indeed to a sensitive ear, or indeed even to that of a schoolmaster, was the pronunciation by some of these College students of the King's English; so also were their colloquialisms and their false emphases. Gray (C.C.) was the only speaker who could be excepted from this criticism, and his voice lacked resonance. Treadwell (V.C.) provided his audience with "heah" (hear); Carrington (C.C.) with "ackchilly" (actually), "Canad-or-India" (Canada or India), and with such irreverent little phrases as "It's like this," and "before I end up." McLeaver (A.U.C.) regaled the gathering with "gerreatest" (greatest), "rrecognise" (recognize), and "rreciprrocity" (reciprocity), in quick succession. Hunt (O.U.) followed him with reference to the "fuchuar" (future), to "danejure" (danger), to "Austrailyer" (Australia), and to the "sa-un" (sun). Philips (A.U.C.) was suffering from a bad cold and a closed throat, and the whole of his speech was indistinct, and muffled. Watson's voice was not successful in escaping freely from the depth of his throat. Adams (O.U.) allowed his voice to sink in the wrong place continually, and reminded me of the awful feeling I have when a ship sinks from under me in the hollow of a great wave." . . .

The emanations here became so vigorous that they ceased to be intelligible. Nevertheless, Mr. Baeyertz, our unfeigned thanks for these crumbs of your genius!

The O.U. and V.C. teams were strongest in combined treatment, and of these two the division of the subject matter adopted by V.C. seemed the better.

A general survey of the debate convinced us that the Otago representatives well deserved to win, but that the best individual debating speech was made by Watson (V.C.). He never made a freer or more convincing speech in his life in public.

The interruptions which came from the massed students deserve severe condemnation. The inability of some speakers to make their voices carry to the back of the hall doubtless conduced to the volume of the noise made, but this in its turn seriously hampered most speakers and detracted unfairly from their efforts to represent worthily their College. An accurate parallel would be the "barrack" of a tennis representative playing page 19 a difficult shot or the obstruction of a runner. Offensive references to a man's nationality were in evidence also, and these are at any time in the worst of taste. It was not thus in the earlier tournaments, and it will be a good thing if the Tournament Committee takes steps to prevent the manners of former days from vanishing from our midst.

The Ball.

"Nemo fere saltat sobrius nisi forte insaniat"—Cicero.

To many the Dance is one of the chief of Tournament delights, the pièce de resistance, in fact; and our visitors turned up in large numbers on Monday night to the Town Hall, where the decorations were charming, the floor perfect, the music divine, and partners plentiful. The presence towards midnight of some two or three half-intoxicated undesirables about th vestibule and stairs were the only blemishes. Needless to say, these individuals have no connection with any of the four College.

The Picnic.

"A southerly wind and a cloudy sky" betokened ill for the picnic on Tuesday evening, but none the less the affair was great success. The Duchess bore us down the harbour almost to the Heads, the Maori being vociferously farewelled en route, and then put us ashore at Rona Bay. Thence the whole party proceeded on foot to Day's Bay, and further proceeded to demolish the supper spread in the Pavilion. A dance followed, but alas! valuable time had been spent on the trip down the harbour, and hardly had we got into our stride, so to speak, when it was time to return to the boat. Songs and choruses helped to pass the time, all too short, before we reached the Ferry Wharf to the strains of 'This is the ending of a perfect Day."

Appended is list of the official results.

page 20

Table of results

page 21

Victoria College Representatives.

  • 100 Yards : G. S. Strack, E. M. Mackersey.
  • 200 Yards : A. East, R. M. Bruce.
  • 440 Yards : H. Jowett, R. M. Bruce.
  • 880 Yards : R. Collins, G. H. Seddon.
  • Mile : H. Williams, G. H. Seddon.
  • 3 Mile : A. Hudson, H. Williams.
  • Mile Walk : A. B. Sievwright, G. M. Cleghorn.
  • 120 Yards Hurdles : G. S. Strack, C. H. E. Strack.
  • 440 Yards Hurdles : C. H. E. Strack, G. S. Strack.
  • Shot : C. A. Caigou.
  • Broad Jump : B. Egley.
  • High Jump : F. G. Hall-Jones, A. East.
  • Relay : Bruce, East, Jowett, and Mackersey.
  • Men's Singles : G. M. Cleghorn J. B. Parker.
  • Men's Doubles : G. M. Cleghorn and J. B. Parker, H. T. M. Fathers and C. H. Taylor. Women's Singles : Misses I. Tennant, F. Cooke, G. M. Lawry.
  • Women's Doubles Misses Tennant and Lawry, Cooke and Sievwright, E. Mason and L. Taylor.
  • Combined : Miss Tennant and Cleghorn, Miss Sievwright and Fathers.
  • G. G. G. Watson and C. A. L. Tr[gap — reason: illegible]adwell.