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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

Hockey at Victoria

page 66

Hockey at Victoria

And that health may not be wanting,
Games we play with heart and soul,
Keen to lodge the flying leather
In the adversaries' goal.

—Translation of Professor J. Rankine Brown's College Song, "The Spike," 1914, "The Old Clay Patch," 1920.

The dry facts of histories, whatever the nature of their content, is intrinsically unromantic and unappealing to the minds of most, and this would apply, no less, to the history of the hockey Club. Reflection, however, and a keen regard, will see more in the fabric of such a factual exposition than is apparent or merely superficial.

It will, for instance, give a satisfying pique to hockey players, to learn that a greater enterprise was evidenced by the founders of the Club than by the members of the Football Club, for the latter came into being two years after the Hockey Club.

The triumphs of an organisation are not only in the record of wins and athletic excellences, and the success of the Hockey Club's launching was due to the zeal and fellowship which characterised its promotion. This spirit persisted, and has always made it a club in the complete sense; a club, rather than a collection of teams.

To Mr. G. F. Dixon belongs the honour of bringing about the promotion of the Club in 1901. Dixon, F. W. Furby, P. S. Foley, and R. St. J. Beere were the pioneers and on the 18th May of that year the College's first team, a junior one, took the field against Karori at Karori. A captain was found in R. St. J. Beere, a vice-captain in the person of H. P. Richmond, while Dixon was made Hon. Secretary-Treasurer.

In other numbers of The Spike is written the record of dances and ping pong tourneys; of undertakings reminiscent of bazaars and sales-of-work; of men's and women's committees, strenuously operating to ensure the success, financial as well as social and athletic, of the new Club.

Its present size, for it numbers some eight teams, and until this year was the largest in New Zealand and Australia, is a monument to those early zealots.

An ardour, incomprehensible to the modern student, who takes his recreations, like his work, with a gay insousiance, possessed the Club members of those days and six o'clock in the morning often saw them hard at practice, perfecting with patience a shot from a corner, or learning the difference between untutored zest and accomplishment in the intricate work of giving and taking a pass.

A lean round was the first one of the first season. Not one win figured to the credit of the College team. But then as now, the 'Varsity team provided surprises, and besides playing a draw with the ultimate winners of the Cup, were the only team in the second round to defeat the Waiwetu XI. This was achievement. At least to a company so new to the game.

Two teams, a senior and a junior, were entered next season, the senior team furnishing one Wellington representative, D. Matheson, and the juniors, two senior representatives, J. M. Bateman and B. C. Smith.

Even the formation of the Football Club in 1903 failed to affect the strength and progress of the Hockey Club.

Indeed the members of each club were mutually helpful and the relations between them commendably fraternal, if recorded incident be true.

From junior games to senior; from senior to inter-University is the process.

We first met and defeated Otago in 1905 and staged an equally succesful encounter against Auckland in 1907.

These were the beginnings. A definite, if imperfect indication of what was to follow, namely the Inter-'Varsity Annual Tourney.

Of honours, 1905 saw three members in the North Island team, C. H. T. Skelley, J. A. page 67 Ryburn and R. St. J. Beere, while in 1908 two were included in the first Wellington team to win the New Zealand Championship Shield, namely H. W. Monaghan and D. S. Smith.

Not till 1910 did the senior team win its first championship, a splendid record of only 1 draw and 1 loss in nine games, going to its credit. To this team belongs the honour of being the first College senior team to win a championship in any sport.

In 1911 and 1912 they were runners-up, and in 1913 showed clean heels to win their second Senior Championship by 7 points. These were the palmy days of the Strack brothers, P. Bur-bidge and H. W. Monaghan.

Among the accomplished members of the 1913 team was one D. S. Smith who, since giving up playing, arbitrates as the Hon. Mr. Justice Smith. He is, as well, a Vice-President of the Club.

It is remarkable to note that R. St. J. Beere found strength and wind enough, even in 1923, to support a keen desire to play, and turned out as a member of the First Eleven.

So many find a like virtue in hockey. Long after the age when Rugby players, joints a-creak, distended of waist, have found that "sitting on the bank" suits them admirably, hockey players may be seen sporting a fine turn of speed and showing a wicked zest in a hard fast game.

N. R. Jacobsen, first capped for Auckland Province in 1906, still plays; and that right well. C. H. Hain, in ordinary life a sedate mature lecturer and solicitor, flourishes an effective stick yet, and covers the paddock like a two year old colt.

Of late the College has had many notable players. Eddie McLeod and H. F. Bollard, New Zealand representative halves both of them; N. R. Jacobsen, who, while he chose to play only for the Senior B team, has yet been New Zealand captain several times.

In 1929 the Club won the Senior A, Senior B, and Club Championships and was runner-up in the 1930 Senior Championship.

Lately the seniors have shown erratic form. At times superb, at others pitiable. The students' game, however, is mainly dash and speed, for, coming as most of them do to the game, after rugby has claimed their first efforts, science in hockey is never properly achieved.

Nowadays, however, the lower grade teams are manifesting an increasingly effective science and hostility, and success will surely come when the foundations are so sound.

The third grade and the two fourth grade teams each maintained an earnest challenge throughout this season for the premiership of their respective grades, only the incalculable element of luck preventing two of them from success.

Through all the grades, however, the teams were eager.

The unfailing support of all the Club's old members has been abundant and remarkable.' To such people as Mr. Dixon the Club's debt of gratitude is large indeed. To the members of the Ladies' Hockey Club, too, many thanks are due, for their able and ready co-operation at tournament times and at the Club's annual dances.

It is quaint to contrast their costumes of former days with those of to-day. It marks their progress, too, and perhaps the extent of their emergence from those ancient costumes is the measure of their emancipation.

—K. Tahiwi.