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The Spike Golden Jubilee Number May 1949

2. A Period of Strength 1919—1929

2. A Period of Strength 1919—1929

In 1919, the College regained at a bound its old status. Four teams were engaged each Saturday, the Senior team was for the first time runner-up in its grade, and eight players represented Wellington—Beard, Jackson, Aitken, Brosnan, Martin-Smith, N. A. J. Barker, D. E. Chrisp and R. R. Scott. It was a good year.

By contrast, in 1920, partly owing to the demands of the New Zealand University team, which took Aitken, J. D. Hutchison, F. M. H. Hanson (the 1919 Army representative), D. H. Scott, R. R. Scott, and S. K. Siddells, the First XV could win only four and draw one of eleven matches, and so the chance of championship honours, which had seemed so good, was lost. Notwithstanding the Club's mediocre record, Siddells, Martin-Smith, Jackson, Barker, Aitken, R. R. Scott, J. D. Hutchison, and M. L. Smith were in representative teams, while Barker became the first Victoria College man to be selected for the North Island team.

His feat was eclipsed in the very next year by G. G. Aitken and S. K. Siddells, who both played for New Zealand against the touring South Africans, Aitken being captain in the first two tests, and Siddells playing in the last, thus becoming the Club's first All Blacks. In Wellington sides were Siddells, Aitken, Jackson, Hanson, D. H. Scott, R. R. Scott, C. B. Thomas, F. C. Hutchison, and G. G. MacKay; and the New Zealand team in Sydney included Hanson, Jackson, Aitken, Siddells, D. H. Scott, and H. N. Burns.

1922 was a fairly successful year, especially from the point of view of representative honours, for Thomas, Siddells, Jackson, Burns, Aitken, R. R. and D. H. Scott, J. O. J. Malfroy, A. Murray, A. D. McRae, H. B. Riggs, M. L. Smith and J. F. Trapski earned the distinction of playing for Wellington, while Siddells was awarded a place in the North Island team, and Jackson, D. H. Scott, Siddells, Thomas and McRae were members of the New Zealand University side against the touring Sydney University team. College football was again in much the same position during the next year, the First XV's place not being a high one, in spite of the fact that from its numbers Jackson, Malfroy, Thomas, McRae, Martin-Smith, M. L. Smith and I. A. Hart represented the province, and were among those who, by their partiality for the fast open game, were making of Victoria College Rugby a spectacle to delight the public. In the same year Thomas, McRae, Malfroy, Riggs and Martin-Smith were members of the New Zealand University XV.

At the beginning of the 1924 season there were many who expected that, since retirements had left such a gap in Senior ranks, the Club's chances were hopeless for many years to come. As it happened, however, the College team was embarking at that time upon a six-year period of uncommon strength, and by the end of the winter could afford to laugh at the woeful prophets. There were seven College men—Malfroy, Martin-Smith, Hart, Riggs, J. J. G. Britland, C. J. O'Regan and E. Walpole—in the Union's sides; and the First XV finished in a creditable place.

By the end of 1925 the Club was able to boast of having been third on the ladder; of having sent to Wellington teams Hart, Walpole, Malfroy, Martin-Smith, O'Regan, E. T. W. Love, S. Joll and R. H. C. Mackenzie; and to New Zealand University XVs Burns, Martin-Smith, Mackenzie, Malfroy, O'Regan, Walpole and G. J. Sceats. In this year also the College defeated Sydney University for the first time, by 16 to 8. Still better things were to follow in the next year, when a very strong side consolidated the successes of 1925 by finishing in second place, and by contributing to Wellington teams E. T. Leys, F. A. Noble-Adams, J. D. Mackay, L. C. South, J. F. Platts-Mills, S. C. Childs, Malfroy, Sceats, Mackenzie, Burns, Martin-Smith, and O'Regan. Love was a member of the Maori All Blacks.

In 1927 Mackenzie, O'Regan, F. S. Ramson and E. E. Blacker were provincial representatives, and Childs, Love, O'Regan and Burns toured Australia with the New Zealand University XV. The Club team was becoming stronger, but it was not until 1928 that the Jubilee Cup was won for the first time. A hard final, evenly contested with Poneke, put the College at the head of the table, and a further major event in the history of Victoria College Rugby had occurred. In that same year, in virtuous emulation, University teams in all the four main centres of New Zealand, and in Sydney, won their Senior championships, University Rugby being at the time exceptionally good. A much-depleted team won the National Mutual Cup for the first and only time in the Club's history; J. D. Mackay and R. H. C. Mackenzie were All Blacks against the New South Wales team, and also Wellington representatives, in which distinction Noble-Adams, Ramson, Leys, O'Regan and Blacker also shared.

Next year witnessed only a slight abatement of the standard of the first championship season, as the Club again carried off the Jubilee Cup, though unable to retain the challenge trophy for another year. The list of Wellington representatives was still further extended by Ramson, Mackay, Mackenzie, Leys, H. W. and F. Cormack, C. E. Dixon, R. E. Diederich, J. M. Edgar and E. K. Eastwood; page 98 that of New Zealand University players by Mackenzie, Leys, Mackay, Blacker and Edgar; and that of All Blacks by Leys, who went to Australia to join the team touring there.