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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1929

A Slight Mistake

page 14

A Slight Mistake

The learned Professor of Ancient and Modern Law, and I. went to see the game between the Australian Universities and Victoria University College. For besides our natural interest in. and affection for, the latter. were we not honourable vice-presidents of the V.U.C. Football Club?

So when we arrived at the ground where play had already begun, we thrilled with loyal pleasure at the sight of the green jerseys with their shields of gold. The green seemed slightly lighter than usual, but the manufacturers might have run out of the exact colour, as has been known to happen. Being rather high up in the grandstand and also a trifle myopic, we could not distinguish the faces clearly, but the colours were enough for us.

During the first spell we were somewhat disappointed that the white jerseys seemed to be getting rather the better of it. but we put that down to the lamentable fact that they had apparenly won the toss, and were playing with both the wind and the sun. Also they had the grossly unfair advantage of being the heavier side. Anyway, our men in green were keeping them out, and the wonderful passing rushes of their fleet backs were always brought to nought, just on the line. A great defence, of which we were justly proud. When half-time came with no score, our hopes were high.

In the second spell we noted bitterly that both the wind and the sun had gone down, and the Green and Gold reaped no advantage from the aids of Nature. The Whites were still attacking furiously, and when one of them eventually dropped over the line with the ball, we grieved, but admitted ruefully that the try was well deserved. When the kick at goal was disallowed, we did not know the reason, but felt sure the referee was right.

Up and down goes the game. At last a green back seizes the ball and. with an almost incredible turn of speed, leaves all standing. He is over. We yell with delight, the Professor, in his abandon, quoting an Institute of Justinian written in the lighter vein. That must have been Ramson; the Professor remarks that Ramson is the only man on the field who could possibly run like that. Yes, No. 3 is Ramson! Splendid, and just when we were wondering that he had so far not distinguished himself, and especially that he had taken none of the kicks. He must have hurt his kicking toe, we thought. The extra two points for a conversion would have been most useful. Hard luck!

The game proceeds, and right in front of their goal we are awarded a free kick. An excellent referee! No. 1, Who, according to our book of words, must be Cormack. lands a splendid goal. We lead 6—3; we ought to be pretty safe now. When the score goes up on the board. "Australia 6. Victoria College 3." the Professor mutters angrily: "Look, the silly fool has made a mistake and reversed the scores." I agree. We had not happened to look at the board earlier.

As the last minutes approach, the Whites make feverish attempts to get over, or kick a goal. Every effort of theirs goes on its way fraught with our adverse hopes. Especially the last free kick, on the call of time. page 15 is positively weighed down with them, and we breathe a deep sigh of relief as the ball flies wide. The bell rings, and we have won.

Then strange things happen. The score on the board remains unaltered, and we ask a neighbouring spectator why this is so. He replies, with great accuracy, that a try and a penalty kick count 6, while a try alone is only 3. We look at each other, a great light beginning to dawn. So that is why the small boys had all leapt into the air when the Whites scored, and when they appeared to be about to score. We had wondered if they were perhaps Australia's childhood who had been imported hither to do so.

On my way home. I did two things. I tried to reconstruct my feelings at each incident of the match in the new light. I also remembered that, on the previous day, I had met one of the Australian team, and had remarked on his wearing a rosette of our colours, which I had put down as the gift of a V.U.C. admirer. He had explained that they were his team's colours, and that the green was not olive but bottle. Most appropriate, I informed him, recollections crowding on me of the first Sydney University Team that had visited these shores in days long since departed.

Many other things became clear, but chiefly the absolute wisdom and necessity of keeping mum. The Professor and I swore a pact. I have broken it. I do not apologize. Truth should out.

S. E.