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TOPICS OF THE DAY.

Mr C. R. Smith, tho Hon. The Secretary of tho New ZcaAuslmlian land Cricket Council, who is Team. accompanying the Australian team during their tour of thie colony, was interviewed when he arrived In Christcliurcli with the visitors the other day from the North Island. Speaking of the team collectively, ha said they were in his judgment about the beat lot of cricketers that had ever gone on tour from Australia or perhaps oven from the old country, and off the field they were as pleasant and courteous a set of gentlemen and sportsmen as one could wish to meet. They pleased the cricketers up North as much by their social qualities as by their brilliant play. Taken physically they present every variety of strength, from the Tusinanian giant Euly, 6Jft tall and splendidly proportioned, down to little Gregory, who stands on tip toes to touch sft 3in. "It is really encouraging," aaid Mr Smith, "to men of the Zac heus build to note that this midget is considered by his comrades to be the best all-round batsman in the world—that is, taking bad wickets with good. On perfect wickets they give the palm to the Indian Prince. It is a perfect treat to see the little man whip the fastest bowlers from outside the off stump to long leg. That is the way he treated Richardson and the best English bowlers time after time. Where lie carries his , strength is a marvel. It seems but a second from the time his bat hits the ball, and whack —it is up against the boundary. Then there are very slim men, and others, like tho genial captain, of somewhat portly form. Their ages. vary from Giffen, 35, to Clem Hill, 19, and no less 'than six aro just about twenty-six years of age and born within six months of each other. The men, in times of peace, follow various avocations, and are drawn from all classes in life. Johns, Efvdy and McKibbin belong to the legal profession ; Jones, the electric bowler, is a bricklayer, while several occupy responsible positions in the Civil Service. No ojie in Australia, any wore than in New Zealand, asks what a man ia but what he can do when it comes to picking a champion team." The English tour, as we hare all heard, passed off in a most satisfactory manner, and much of its success was duo to au entire absence of unpVeasaht bickerings and jealousies amongst the> members. This was largely attributable to the admirable captaincy shown throughout by Trott, of whose qualifications for the jttst his men think very highly, and to the of Mr Musgrove, who discharged his functions to the entire satisfaction of the team. With regard to the batting Batting abilities of the team, Mr and Smith said that in the case of Bowling, eight or nine of the members it was far beyond the New Zealand standard. "Wo have, ,, he said, " no one who can approach the beat of them, either in defence or ia rapidity of scoring When they get going. But we have better tw Vmen here than three or four of them— *fc least I think so, and I look to the teat match next week to prove it. Darling is of course the most taking bat with the crowd. At times he will hit as bard and as often as Bonnor. He will then relapse for a quarter of an hour and play with the utmost steadiness until seized by another aggressive paroxysm. In one match ftt Philadelphia he landed two balls on the roof of the pavilion, to the huge delight of the crowd. Next day, to commemorate the feat, two large balls were painted on the exaot spots where the balls hit, with Darling's name subscribed. Thie episode h*e subjected him to much innocent chaff from his comrades. Six times in Wellington dM Harling lift the ball- clean out of the field of play, to the enthusiastic delight of the people, who were very fair. With regard to bowling, Mr Smith said he »d eeen Sammy Jones and Spoftbrth bowl their very fastest in the past, and there was ao question that the present Jones was much tatter than either of them. Mr Smith thought his delivery, which was at first qnestioned in England, was fair, and the team said there was no doubii about it. '" It i« his great pace alone which suggests the charge of throwing. He takes a very long *nd very fast run, and seems to throw hie . whole soul into every ball. In England the *cam say that many of the batsmen were •imply afraid of him, and flinched from the Wicket in trying to play him. He has three toon at short slip, about 10 yards or so from the -wicket, close enough to join bands together, 'thud man , far out, and a cover dip close to the boundary, and only one man On the on side. No batsman in Wellington Or Auckland attempted to drive him, and •hnoet the only runs scored were snicks to Wig and through the slips. He cornea back ft little from the off, but he relies on hie pace to get the wickets. Undoubtedly Trumble, Trott and Giffen, are better bowlers on firet-clsws wickets, but on a rough, fiery wicket, few batsmen can stand op for long against Jones." Mr Smith has a great opinion of Trumble's fowling. He apparently pitches the ball Joet where he likes, and every delivery stems to have an intelligent purpose. The Indian Prince was not far wrong in proeOßncing him the best bowler of the day. He runs up to the wicket in a remarkable tyle. The ball comes from a great height •nd gete up very quickly, and he breaks either way without giving a clue as to which way he ia coning. On a sticky or K>ugh wicket McKibbin can do more with we ball than anyone else, his break being terrific aud his variety immense. On a decent wicket in genial weather Giffen proves that ho has not fallen off in the least, •nd in Mr Smith's opinion he is probably still entitled to be placed as the best all round •"•a in Australia or perhaps in the world." Chatting about other The matters connected with Hew Zealand the tour, Mr Smith said Match. that the Australians were not at their best in Auck•"*d« They had juat finished a three weeks' during which come suffered severely ™" eoa sickness, and one or two had a *™*P«e after landing. The conversation . J** 04 * 1 on the sacrifice made by Canterbury j, to giving up the match with the visitors,

and Mr Smith remarked that if those who honestly objected to changing the match from one between Canterbury aud Australia toono between New Zealand and Australia had seen as much of the play as he had done, they would have be«n joat as eager as he wan to try and extend the Australians to the utmost by the beet talent in the colony. It was a farce for the provinces, even with eighteen men, to attempt to make a good game of it. Playing the combined team, the Australians would be seen doing their very be3t. "It would never do for them by any combination of mischances to get licked, and whatever our men may do, I anticipate a splendid display from Hie visitor*. Iα the North Island matches the local eighteens never had a show. The batsmen who did best were those who played a bold, aggressive game, but the Australian bowling is so good that our batemen must bcs prepared to score from bowJiug of a class that they would usually be content to play. Of course, the visitors have an iufmite fund of resource when any batsman show.* signs of besoming troublesome. They will tempt him with every variety of pace until he mikes a mistake, and very few chances are allowed to be unfruitful when they are in the field." The probabilities are, then, that spectators of next week's match will see some fine play, at any rate they will 3ee the pick of Australia playing against the pick of New Zealand, and we can be sure that if the latter are beaten they will not be disgraced. CxprAix Jones, the CornAustralian niander of the Yamashico Trade with Maru, the pioneer of the Japan. new line of steamers from Japan to Australia, has been giving a Sydney interviewer some interesting information about • the possibilities of Australian trade with Japan. The Japanese, he remarked, are yearly becoming move dependent upon foreign countries for a large proportion of their food supplies. They are much troubled, because, as a race, they are so mach smaller than Europeans, and having come to the conclusion that it is caueed by their almost oxcltistvely fish and vegetable diet, they have begun to eat meat. The movement is said to be a national, almost a patriotic, one. " The heads of families make a point of giving their children meat once a day if they cau afford to do so, and when they are drilling or working hard, Japaue.se men have meat twice a day. The older generation do not take meat vary readily. The taste for it has to be acquired; but when a Japanese does acquire a taste for European food, he cannot do without it." The result is that the price of meat in Japan. is steadily advancing, and whereas beef for roasting could be bought some eight years ago for about 4d per lb, the price is now 14d. There should, therefore, be a good opening in the country for colonial frozen meat, as the Japs number forty millions, and as a people are decidedly prosperous. Then they are abandoning- cotton clothing in favour of woollen materials, and have already one or two large woollen mills in full swing, so that a demand for Australian wool may be expected. Tallow and leather are also required, especially the latter, of which great quantities will now be wanted for the army, for saddles, accoutrements and shoes. The Japanese cavalry, sonio 20,000 strong, also need remounts, Japanese horses being email and useless for military purposes. What are wanted are light, medium-sized, somewhat weedy animals, with plenty of endurance, the sort which the Indian Government will not take, and of which there are any number; in Australia. These are the leading lines for which Captain Jones believes there will be a good market in Japan. It must be remembered that, from his position, he is , probably inclined to take rather a rosy view of trade prospects, but other people have said much the same thing, and there is no doubt Japan is a growing nation. The English, said Captain Jones, are now very popular in Japan. This was not the case during the war, when the Japanese thought the British were their enemies, but when England refused to help the other Powers to coerce Japan into relinquishing territory she had won, their feelings underwent a complete change. At present their bogey is Russia, of whom there is an undefined, but probably, justifiable, dread throughout vhe country. Captain Jones does not think there is any likelihood of an influx of Japanese into Australia, they have Formosa, and the surplus population will be encouraged to go there.

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Bibliographic details

TOPICS OF THE DAY., Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9580, 21 November 1896

Word Count
1,900

TOPICS OF THE DAY. Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9580, 21 November 1896

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