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AMATEUR ATHLETICS.

N.Z. CHAMPIONSHIPS,.

AT WANGANTJI THIS WEEK,

AUCKLAND TEAM'S PROSPECTS,

THE GOLDING-LERMOND CARNIVAL,

Just why it is that athletic sports do not attract large support from the public is difficult to understand. Veterans of the running track who are still with us can recall the day when all Auckland, as the saying goes, would be present at the Domain Cricket Ground on the occasion of an important athletic carnival. Very likely the big draw those days was not the actual running, but the betting which took place. Bookmakers there were who did big business on athletic meetings, ..and it was not difficult for men to back themselves to win substantial sums. But with the passing of the gambling element the interest of the

public began to wane, and to-day, unless some particularly strong attraction is presented, a couple of thousand spectators seems to be the limit. It is a pity, because the sport is clean and highly interesting.

The Auckland Centre's carnival on Saturday-at Carlaw Park was rather a good one, but there was some disappointment when Lermond, the American 1000 yards crack, would not compete in the mile against the Auckland champion W. J. Savidan. The centre tried to arrange a race of 1000 yards, but Savidan would not compete, and the crowd saw Lermond only in the half-mile handicap, and also as one of a team of four in the mile relay. Savidan contested the mile only.

The "handicapper went to the two extremes in his assessment of Lermond and Golding. Lermond, in the half-mile, was handicapped to give starts ranging up to 120 yards, and the winner turned up in K. Spragg, 95 yards. Mitchell, 90 yards, was second, and C. Anderson, 85 yards, third, so that it will be seen that the backmarkers were never in the hunt. Lermond was set an impossible task, and at no stage of the race did he ever look like getting near the leaders. He finished seventh, but a long way back, and only passed tired men or others who did not bother when they saw they had no chance. The American's time for the half-mile was 1.5S 4-5, but he would still have had a task had Spragg's start of 95 yards been reduced by nearly half.

The task set G. A. Golding, the Australian crack at 440 yds, was a very simple one, and it was not surprising that only three of the local men took him on, and they were not very confident. It is the usual thing to find A. J. Elliott at every meeting giving away up to 12yds in a 100 yds handicap, but in 440 yds Golding was only asked to concede 22yds to Kerr-Taylor and only 12yds to T. Henry and L. H. Meredith. At this handicap not one of the locals had the remotest chance, but they are to be congratulated on starting. Golding ran up to his opponents early, and just waited on them till about SOyds from the tape, when he cleared right away and won by half a dozen yards. He ran the quarter in 49 l-ss, which is 2-5s better than ever done by a New Zealander. The record, however, for the distance is 48 3-5s put up by Nigel Barker in Australia in 1905. Golding is undoubtedly a brilliant runner, and he has been chosen to represent Australia at the Empire Games to be held in Canada this year.

W. J. Savidan only competed in the mile, and he, like Lermond in the halfmile, found the handicapper had asked him an impossible task. The placed men were A; Blow (140 yds), J. P. Dolan (180 yds), and B. L. Evans (125 yds). Savidan ran well, but had no chance. _ The time for the mile was 4.19 2-5, which is too good for the Auckland champion. His time was 4.25 1-5, which shows what a job the handicapper had set him. As a matter of fact, the best men are rather harshly dealt with. Take A. J. Elliott, the best sprinter in Auckland. He is now being asked to concede starts which consistently see him getting third, fourth or fifth. In the 100 yds on Saturday O'Shea won off 6yds in 9 4-ss, which, of course, meant that Elliott (scr) would have had to put up a great performance to get the prize. O'Shea will come back in the handicap in future, but what about Roper and Willey, who were only "beaten by a touch? They look like holding Elliott safe at least the next time they meet him at 100 yds. N. F. Cooper won the three miles run by 100 yds. He was the backmarker on ,90yds (Savidan did not start), and gradually made up his handicap. Browne (340 yds) led till half mile from the finish, when Cooper ran past him, and, steadily drawing away, he came in by himself. The third man, Vallance (280 yards) was about 300 yds behind Browne, and about 400 yds behind the winner. Cooper is a very fine runner, and can be expected to stretch Savidan in the championships. On Saturday the Papatoetoe-Club was represented for the first time at a city carnival, when eight members of the club took part in the Golding-Lermond carnival at Carla\v Park. The officials and followers of the new club were delighted with the success of their boys, who filled places on no fewer than ten occasions during the afternoon. George Jones won both °the half-mile and one mile cycle races, showing good speed and judgment. He is quite a newcomer, having only ridden for about six weeks. F. Brain rode into second place in the half-mile cycle, and was third in the mile._ He also showed great promise for a beginner. Albert Dawson won both his heat and the final of the 220 yds, and did it in a finished manner. V. R. Symtheman ran second in the 220 yds heat and was close up third in the final._ C. Anderson ran a sjame race into third place in the SBoyds L. Smytheman entered the final of the maiden handicap, but although unplaced was finishing on after starting scratchingly. Three wins, one second and three thirds in the finals was distinctly promising for a small team of inexperienced runners and riders.^ Auckland' 6 prospects playing an important part in the New Zealand amateur championship meeting at Wanganui on Friday and Saturday are not too bright. As a combination, the

team is not a strong one, but there are one or two who should do well indivi dually. A." J. Elliott, who was. the sprint champion last year, has been running well lately, but there is just a suspicion he is not quite so good as twelve months ao-o when he defeated the best the other provinces could produce at 100 yards and 220 yards. However, Elliott is up to 220 yards and he looks like being the hardest to dispose of this week. J. W. Savidau won the mile and three miles last year, but with E. A. Rose atrain at his besi, Savidan's prospects in the mile are not very good. Rose should have no difficulty in beating him. Again, Barnes (Canterbury) recently defeated Savidau, and it would seem the only hope the Aucklander has of winning this week is in the three miles.

T. Henry is a little above the ordinary as a hurdler and he should make a «ood showing, although form points to F. S. Ramson, particularly in the 440 yards hurdles.

E. B. Smith, who is one of the Auckland team, will be our hope in the half mile. In 192S he won the half mile championship of Wellington and is now a resident of Auckland. He is expected to run two minutes or a shade under. If he does, the man who beats him will have to move fast and keep going.

L. H. Meredith is a fair runner, being the holder of the 440 yards championship of Auckland, but he is hardly up to tho standard required to carry off Dominion honours. D. Kerr-Taylor, the last of the Auckland team, is just useful and it will come as a surprise if he can win.

A COMING CHAMPION,

CAREER OF DON EVANS. TAIHAPE, Monday. Cyril V. ("Don") Evans, of Taihape, who defeated the American Leo Lermond off the scratch mark in the 1000 yards race at Cook's Gardens, Wanganui, during the week, in the New Zealand record time of 2.15, is a slimly-built lad just turned 21 years. Born and educated in Taihape, he lias had a meteoric rise in the amateur world. Due to the distance from Taihape of the amateur meetings at Marton and Wanganui, he commenced running at the professional meetings in the neighbourhood, and on his first'appearance in Taihape won the 220, 440, 880 yds and one mile handicap with ease, and since then has not raced without being placed. At the big St. Patrick's Day gathering lasjt year, Evans, from off the back mark, collected the mile (£2O), SSOyds (£8) and 440vds (27), His times were: one mile (00yds virtual scratch), 4.1o; SSOyds (30yds), 1.52; 440vds (20yds), 475. In training this season, without a pace-maker, he has clocked 4.20 for the mile. At the end of last year he was reinstated amateur. The 1000 yds race at Wanganui is remarkable for the fact that this was Evans' first attempt at this distance.

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Bibliographic details

AMATEUR ATHLETICS., Auckland Star, Volume LXI, Issue 59, 11 March 1930

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1,573

AMATEUR ATHLETICS. Auckland Star, Volume LXI, Issue 59, 11 March 1930

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