The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1913
"Oh my stats!"
—Marlowe's "King Edward II."
During every of the seven years, and probably before then, our First Fifteen has started the football season with excellent prospects and with hopes strong, and yet the best performance was the one registered in 1910, when we finished up half-way down the list in the Senior Championship.
The fact is difficult to account for, but there it is none the less. We can take comfort only in the fact that this season the scores against us, except in the Oriental match, have been low ones, but one trembles to think what is in store when the cracks are away in Sydney with the N. Z University Team, and that in the vacation. Even now, at the end of the first found only St. James save the First XV. From the wooden spoon.
In the last issue of the Spike the Club captain had occasion to enter an emphatic protest against the lack of interest displayed by students in the inter-College games. Let us hope that there will be no grounds for a similar complaint in respect of the match against Auckland University, to be decided on King's Birthday. On Saturday it is unquestionably better to be a player than a mere onlooker, and the team does not cavil at the lack of support received from the side lines on these occasions, although there must be something more than a mere handful of students who play neither football nor hockey, and are not watching our hockey matches After the Poneke match a local newspaper, suggesting a bid for the Championship, remarked that if we won "Capping Night would be nothing to it." While loth to damp the ardor of our very good friends the daily press, we are regretfully compelled to express a contrary opinion. About 10 per cent. Of the College would actively rejoice, 20 per page 68 cent. would be mildly interested, and 70 per cent. would remain blissfully ignorant. Perhaps the formation of a "Barrackers' Club," as in Canterbury College, would effect an improvement.
v. Petone. Drawn, 12—12.
There have been many matches in which College has tried conclusions with Petone, but never until this day one in which College was out to win. They literally swept Petone off their feet at times, and on the day's play were 3 points the better team. Dansey drew first blood, scoring near the posts, but T. Beard equalized from a mark. Later in the first spell Dansey scored again, and M'Farlane kicked a goal from a mark, placing Petone 6 points in the lead. In the second spell, College had things lively. Goodbehere made two great runs, scoring in one and just failing to hold the ball in the other. Quilliam and T. Beard also scored good tries. The kick at goal, which was to decide whether V. C. was to be the winner, flew wide. We refrain from mentioning the name of the man who kicked.
The news caused quite a sensation in town, and produced the following telegram from A. Curtayne, of Wairoa, our old captain : "Py korry! What you mean?"
v. Athletic. Lost, 0—14.
The Union seem determined to try our metal this year,—the two worst matches to begin with. Right off the mark, Evenson speculated a lucky drop-kick, which took all the heart out or our men for a quarter of an hour, and enabled the Blues to score two more tries, both of which were converted. But from half-way through the first spell till call of time there was no more scoring. The College forwards showed up well, but had not the science of their antagonists. M'Kenzie, who was playing an excellent game, had the misfortune to dislocate a thumb, and retired.
Note.—The newspapers are giving us a good hearing these days.
v. Poneke. Won. 16—0.
The match should have been won by more had the referee been a little more watchful, and one of our men (name not distance) a little less hot-headed. In our reporter's opinion, for instance, Fawcett scored a fair enough try, but it was disallowed. Stainton opened the scoring list by running over page 69 cleverly, and T. Beard's kick failed by inches only. Then L. Beard scored and converted his own try. Next his big brother got over, and L. Beard added the additional two points, and finally Quilliam (variously called Gwilliam, Quvilliam, etc., by the papers) got over. Ryan played his usual sound game, and the manner in which he kept his backs in motion evoked a generous (and well deserved) outburst of applause from the local press.
To-night, the Sporting Edition was almost enthusiastic.
v. Wellington. Lost, 0—3.
This was a very disappointing match, and yet on the day the score just about represents the difference between the teams. Willington would been unfortunate to lose; they owe their victory to the superior weight of their forwards and the marvelous kicking of Lambert. Rain was descending in torrents at the kick-off, and continued to do so without saw much back play. However, at the commencement Sim sent the ball out from about half-way, and it passed through the left wing, being sent infield by him to L. Beard, who, with the line at his mercy, was brought down by the treacherous ground. The ball rolled over the line, and Wellington forced. We dominated the game for the first quarter of an hour, but the rest of the spell was very even, play see-sawing up and down the field. In the second spell wellington saw more of the game, but Fawcett had hard lines in missing a score; while Quilliam on one occasion, diving at the slippery ball after it had been dribbled over Wellington's line, was just able to scrape its side with his finger tips— it was a Wellington hand that got on top. Right at the end of the game Wellington tried their only passing rush, and it almost ended in a score, Durie being tackled by Goodbehere in the corner. A minute afterwards, in the gathering darkness, there was a scrum on our line, and a yellow-jerseyed forward dived over with the ball; the kick failed, the bell went, and we had dropped a place on the Championship ladder.
Walker had the misfortune to sprain his ankle during the first spell, but pluckily saw the game out.
v. St. James. Drawn, 8—8.
We beg to state our entire disagreement with the local reporter who described the game as dull, and the play as bad. In our opinion there was much excellent play, and to the par page 70 tisans of either teams the match was exciting enough. On the other hand, the refereeing was simply atrocious, and we were the principal sufferers.
From the start our backs set to work, and Enting, after a great burst, got over in the corner; Ryan's kick went very near, but not near enough. Shortly afterwards L. Beard broke through and carried the ball from his own to his opponents' twenty-five, but the pass was intercepted, Ryan next made an opening, and passed to Paulsen, who, with a determined dash, crossed the line by the posts. L. Beard converted.
Another passing bout ended in Enting being collared by the full-back, and then St. James took a turn at attacking; a free kick enabled Thomas to place a goal, and although Young was nearly over twice, the spell ended without further score.
The second spell was not very old before the St. James outside five-eighths cutting in ran right through our backs and scored, Thomas gosling. From them on the ball travelled up and sown field at a great rate, T. Beard being on one occasion within inches of scoring, while more than once only Ryan's tremendous line licks saved from disaster.
Within five minutes of the commencement of the game Bennett's ankle once more played him false, but the way he stuck to his task was good to see. Besides Ryan, Grey and Stainton were both very safe and sure, which Paulsen, Shaw and Fawcett, amongst the forwards, were the most conspicuous.
v. Melrose. Lost, 0—12.
From this match, Bennett(ankle), Sim (wrist), and L. Beard (knee) were absent, the gaps being filled by Stewart, Faire and J. Bennett. The Melrose forwards dominated the game, which was played in the traditional Melrose way, keeping the ball tight. When the Melrose backs did try a passing bout they made little progress, the ball simply going across the ground, while in the loose our forwards were the better of the packs. As we seldom or never secured the ball from scrum or line-out, our backs had little chance to show their quality.
The first score came half-way through the first spell, their left wing, tackled on the line by Faire, being carried over by the impetus of his run.
This spell was mostly in our favour; Fawcett got over with four men hanging on to him, but a scrum was ordered, and then a free kick helped Melrose out. Later Bennett kicked when he should have come round, and the ball went over the dead ball line. Shaw and Meldrum, with a dribbling rush, a great page 71 opening for Goodbehere, but the ball bounced the wrong way, and the chance was lost.
Melrose began the second spell with a fierce attack by their forwards, forcing us three times. Later we got within striking distance, and Tom Beard had two unsuccessful attempts at goal from free kicks. Stainton initiated a passing rush, in the course of which Bennett beat three would-be tacklers, but it ended in Goodbehere, unmarked, knocking on when all he had to do was to drop over the line.
A spell of even play followed, then Grey failed to gather a rolling ball, and Melrose had put on another try : 6—0. From the kick-out their backs went right through our whole team: 9—0, and then repeated the performance : 12—0. It reminded the Spike of old times in IIIB. Stung by the reverse, the College men roused themselves, but in the few remaining minutes no score came our way, although Stainton came very near a try, being held up on the line.
Without any hesitation this defeat can be put down to feeble tackling. It was very noticeable that when Melrose tackled the victim came to the ground, while a Melrose man could frequently be seen to plunge forward for yards with two or three affectionate College chums (presumably) hanging around his neck. Verb sap.
v. Oriental. Lost, 6—24.
As the first match of the first round saw the Fifteen at its best, it was perhaps a fitting antithesis that the last match should show it at its worst. But that the disgrace should fall upon us on Park No. I, on our first appearance there for years!
And yet we started out popular favourites, and performed so well in first spell that the Man on the Bank put quite a small fortune on us, and in consequence gave us, for a time at least, that vocal encouragement that hitherto has always been sadly lacking.
The ball was thrown about a lot by both sides, and each in turn nearly got over; at last Grey hung on to the ball too long in front of his own goal posts, and Oriental had a penalty goal to their credit. Almost immediately after we were awarded a penalty just on their 25, and over against the touch-line. I., Beard landed a splendid goal amidst much applause. Faire was conspicuous for two great and characteristic dashes down the touch-line, but was crowded out on each occasion. Promising passing rushes were spoilt by knocks-on, or spent themselves on the Oriental defence, which was very sound; then Enting marked right in front of the goal, and L. Beard made the score read 6—3.page 72
Oriental now had a turn, and a free kick went very near, twice their right wing nearly got over, and once a forward rush ended in touch in goal. Faire intercepted a pass, and covered over half the length of the field, but. His pass was dropped. After another chance had been lost through Enting failing to take a pass, the ball travelled out to the Oriental right wing, and back again to Kinvig, who dropped over in the corner just as the spell ended : 6—6.
Over the second spell a veil had best be cast; suffice it that Oriental scored six tries, fortunately converting none; while we achieved nothing. The forwards several times swarmed on the Oriental line, Meldrum and Paulsen putting in good work, but as Enting and Goodbehere cheerfully dropped all passes, and Faire received none, no score came our way. Our tackling, too, was painful to see, even Ryan and Quilliam catching the contagion, and showing a liking for necks instead of knees. Grey, too, was sadly off colour. Stainton played his usual solid game, and shirked nothing.
v. Petone. Lost, 6—21
As this was the first match of the year, many of the members of the team were practically strangers of one another. We scored first, East getting over from a passing rush. Petone replied with a somewhat lucky try, which they converted. A little later Daniell scored from a forward rush, but this was the last of our scoring. The first spell ended 13—6 in Petone's favour, the final score being 21—6, still in their favour. Contrary to the usual custom of College players, our men were well enough trained to last to the end, and were pressing strongly when no-side was called. Had the forwards put more bite into their play Petone's score would have been much lower. Undoubtedly the best forward on the ground was Meldrum.
v. Orintal. Lost, 3—11.
Our team played better this Saturday, but met a better combination. The half-time score was 3—0 against us, our only score coming in the second spell—a goal by Fathers from a mark by Daniell.
v. Marist Old Boys. Won, 6—0.
The match was played at Miramar. It started raining as we lift town, and at the time of writing (three days later) it is still raining. This is practically all there is to say about the match. We were one short, our opponents three short. O'Shea page 73 and Ryter scored for us. There were approximately forty force-downs, the ball being too slippery for the forwards to hold. The backs are to be complimented on their showing under adverse weather conditions.
v. Porirua. Won, 14—5.
Played at Porirua on a fine day. Tarrant missed the train, so we played one short once more. Our opponents were a healthy-looking lot, but they couldn't last the distance. McKenzie scored within five minutes of the start. A little later Stewart repeated, O'Shea converting. O'Shea kicked a penalty goal, and our last score came from a try by Tait. All this happened in the first spell. In the second spell, playing against the wind, we felt the loss of our man short. Porirua scored and converted. However, our backs got going, and for the rest of the spell we were attacking. Much appreciation was expressed by members of the team for the Porirua Club's action in supplying a room at the Porirua (Private!) Hotel to dress in, with a hot bath at the end of the game.
v. Selwyn. Lost, 17—0.
Again one short. Out three-quarter, Ryter, ricked his knee before the game began, and had to go off. East was away in Auckland, Butcher had his hand, another of the forwards had to take a "friend" to the Athletic Park, so once again we were one short. In the first spell Selwyn only scored three points, but within a quarter of an hour of the end of the game Selwyn scored 14 more points. It took our peaceful friend "Barney" forty-three minutes to express himself fully on this game, so the least said soonest mended. The most unkindest cut—we missed our tram, and had to walk to Kilbirnie.
v. Poneke. Won, 6—0.
Just as we go to press comes news of another victory, in spite of two men short. O'Shea and R. Geville scored tries. Nathan prominent.
v. Wellington. Lost, 0—32.
No details of this match are forthcoming, but under the circumstances they seem hardly necessary.
v. Petone. Lost, 3—6.
A marked improvement all round, and this against one of the leading teams in the competition, Ellis was our scorer.page 74
v. Berhampore. Lost, 9—24.
The score at half-time was 9—0 in our favour, thanks to Robinson, Tarrant, and Hudson. The final score would therefore seem to call for some explanation, but as we have received none ourselves, we can only leave our readers to conjecture; for our part, suspicion falls on "condition," that old foe of Victoria College teams, or perchance a superabundance of self-satisfaction had something to do with it.
v. Y. M. C. A. Lost, 6—19.
A piece of stop-press news that might as well have been left unrecorded. Rodwell scored a try, and an unknown kinked a penalty goal.