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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1936

Men's Hockey Club

Men's Hockey Club

Notwithstanding the apparent slackening of enthusiasm as the season draws to a close, this year has been for the Men's Hockey Club, most successful. The absence of purely statistical success deplored in last year's review of the club's activities has been replaced by a more gratifying column of victories and goals for.

Seven teams were entered in the Wellington Hockey Association's competition and have been maintained up to full strength throughout the season. Training College players have joined with the club and have fielded a team which has proved itself an excellent combination and should win the Junior grade.

Tournament was held in Wellington this year on the King's Birthday week-end, and was thoroughly successful. Besides providing an opportunity for Fiji reminiscences there was an abundance of very enjoyable hockey, together with pleasing weather and satisfactory social activity. Two teams were fielded by Victoria to even the draw, and the A team, by winning the Seddon Stick, defeating the holders—Canterbury—in a fast and most thrilling final by 1-0, succeeded in proving V.U.C.'s place in Inter-University Hockey and also in vindicating their three full-back formation in the face of strong orthodoxly-formed combinations. A great deal of credit for the smoothness with which the functions during tournament were executed goes to the committee members, all of whom devoted a great deal of time and effort towards making the whole affair a success.

Criticism comes easily from those uninitiated into the team formation taught us by our invaluable coach, Mr. N. R. Jacobsen. There is little doubt, however, that besides providing a match-winning asset, the increased enjoyment and incentive to skill, speed and fitness that the necessary co-ordination between players in this formation involves, makes hockey an even more attractive sport than before. The fact that for the first three games of the season using the orthodox formation the Senior A eleven registered no wins, while since the changeover, the team has been beaten only twice is in itself a reply to the criticism that has been levelled at us from outside. Now that the formation is soundly launched in the Senior team, it should not be long before the lower teams will be able to adopt it.

Lack of practice facilities still remains a serious handicap to Victoria's hockey, although we are probably in a better position than other Wellington clubs owing to the fact that we have access to the gymnasium and the football club's floodlit field. Full team practices during the day, such as Training College can manage, would work wonders with the standard of play throughout the club.

In Mr. Jacobsen the club possesses a coach whose fund of knowledge, keenness, interest in beginners and ideals of sportsmanship invest the game with a great deal of benefit and enjoyment. F. H. Stewart, our club captain, deserves a tremendous amount of credit for improving the standard of play, keeping alive the club spirit, organising a highly-successful tournament and captaining the senior team to victory and the Seddon Stick (the first time since 1932).

Training College look like carrying off the honours in the Junior Grade, unless the Varsity team, at present unbeaten but having suffered a few drawn games, beat them in the final, and so draw level in the competition.

There are some enthusiastic and improving players amongst the Juniors to mention only Lancaster, Evans, Oram and Dixon, who should prove worthy to take their place in the Seniors when vacancies arise there next year.

The club was unfortunate in that owing to the Wellington Hockey Association's regrading of a Senior B team they have three Third Grade teams entered in the competition. Although one of these teams should have been near the top of the competition, none of them has achieved much success, all suffering unfortunately from a changing personnel.

The Senior B's have been unfortunate with injuries, but nobly took part in Tournament, although they could not come up to the standard sufficiently to make an all-Victoria final.

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Hearty congratulations are extended to our two N.Z.U. Blues for this season—H. J. M. Abraham and P. N. Grant. Keenness and hard training have consolidated the natural ability of these players to bring them this reward.

There have been many changes in the personnel of the club this year. Ben Denby was very unfortunate in having to stay out of the game for the season, being injured in the first five minutes of the first game. Cliff Camp has been similarly unfortunate, although he has been forced to the sideline only since Tournament. McEwan was transferred to Dunedin and played against us for Otago University. Innes and Johnston are valuable newcomers to the club from Hamilton and Christchurch respectively.