ALL BLACKS THE CALIFORNIAN TOUR INCIDENTS ON THE JOURNEY DETAILS OF THE FIRST MATCHES
(From Our Speoial Correspondent.) SAN FRANCISCO, 13th October. Our arrival at Tahiti was eagerly looked forward to by the various members of the team, and judging by What we had been told concerning the island, everyone anticipated spending a very pleasant time there : nor were we in any way disappointed. The island was sighted about 10 a.m. on Friday, 19th September, and by 3 p.m. we were moored at Papeete wharf. And what a spectacle it was ! The whole populace seemed to have assembled to meet the steamer and the gaudily-coloured dresses and sunshades of the natives, mingled with the more sober white of the French inhabitants, made a brilliant if not very artistic picture. AN EXHIBITION GAME. Contrary to the somewhat chilly reception accorded us by the Raratonga Health Officer no difficulty was here experienced, and in a very short time we were exploring the maiiy and various beauties of ' Papeete, fijoon after our arrival our manager, Mr. Mason, was met by a French gentleman, Mr. Bies, a keen Rugby enthusiast, who some years ago was a French representative ''player. This gentleman was desirous that we should give an exhibition game, arid as most of us were only too keen on having a, practice ashore this matter was easily arranged. The news that a game was to be played soon spread, and by 5.30 p.m. — the time' decided on for beginning the mateh — some seven Or eight hundred ■people had assembled on the ground. Teams of eleven aside were chosen, and E. Roberts, who is now almost recovered from . the 1 somewhat severe kick he received in a match played shortly before his departure, was the only one who did not take part. Mr. Mason, who had charge of the whistle, made a very efficient referee. Two spells of fifteen minutes . each were played, and despite tho heat and the rough .nature of the ground, the game was. a particularly fast and.. open one. Our hakas, given both before and after the match, especially pleased the natives, who in a short time were imitating us in no mean fashion. At the end of the game the .Governor of ■Tahiti expressed his delight at having had the opportunity of witnessing such a fine game. The whole team, on the invitation of Mr. Bies, then adjourned to the Papeete Club, where we drank that gentleman's 1 health, and thanked him very heartily for his kindness towards us. A swim in, the harbour followed, and it was with the greatest difficulty that we tore ourselves away from the tepid water in order to reach the Willocnra in timo for dinner. That evening a dance, given by Madame Levine in honour of our presence, was held in theTaiere Hotel, but owing to the great heat very little dancing was indulged .in by any of the team, most of us preferring to sit outside and witness 'a troup of native girls dancing the hulahula to the music of an accordion. Later vi the evening the town band rendered a very fine programme on the band rotunda, and afterwards marched through the streets followed by hundreds of laughing, shouting, dancing, jostling natives, who were worked up' to the nighest pitch of excitement by the music. At 5 a.m. next morning, expecting to obtain plentiful supplies of fruit, we turned out to visit the market, but owing ( to the fact that this is' the off season wo perforce had to return empty handed. During the morning motor trips wore indulged in by most of us", and words can scarcely describe the beauties of the country through which we passed. Towering coconut trees interspersed with tho graceful banana palms line both sides of the road, ajid as one is whirled along ono cannot, but noticie that, every street and road is really a magnificent avenue. DEPARTURE FROM PAPEETE. We sailed from Papeete at 3 p.m. that afternoon, and on our dep'arturo we unanimously declared that never before had wo spent such a pleasant and such a profitable twonty-four hours. Next day being ' Sunday tTairiing- operations were suspended, but on Monday morning practice was ' again in full swing, the course of physical exercises being gone through at 7 a.m., with general training at 10.30. Haka practices are also held during_ the day, and three or four very fino cries aTe now thoroughly known by most of us. That evening a euchre tournament was arranged among the various members of the team, and some ' very fine contests were witnessed. The ultimato result was that Mr. Mason and i Toby .Murray were declared winners, with H. Taylor and J. Douglas runherswp. On Tuesday afternoon a meeting of (the ,Ist and 2nd clats passengers' was called in order to elect a sports committee, and Mr. Mason, who was asked to occupy tho chair for tho occasion, was unanimously elected both as a member and also as chairman, of the committee. A programme of events was there and then drawn up, and, although the entries for the various events were very numerous, thanks to the - unflagging energy of our manager^ ably assisted by the purser, Mr. Downe, a beginning was made early on Thursday morning. The •bporls, which extended over a. period of three days, proved a great success, and many of the running events, were hotly contested. Ido not propose- to describe each evont, but in passing I snould like •to remark on the fine form .shown by those of the team who took part in the races. The following is a, list of the events won by the All Blacks with the winners' names :— Deck billiards, H. Atkinson (with Mr. Kearns) ; quoits, D. Gray; whistling race, J. Graham; obstacle race, CuthiU 1, Wylie 2, Dewar 3 j potato race, R. Roberts ; sack race, Taylor; wheelbarrow raop, Taylor and Cuthill ; ■ thread-the-needfe race, J. M'Kenaie (with Mibs. Gooding) ; Marathon race (about V z milet) Mitchinson 1, Cuthill 2, Dowar 3. On Saturday evening a fancy drees ball was held on th© promenade deck, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion with flags and electric lights. In spite of the fact that material for fancy dresses is somewhat difficult to obtain on shipboard, the result was far beyond our greatest expect atiom*. The prize- for the most original costume among the. gentlemen was awarded to our genial skipper^ Alec M'Donald, who, with his swag, billy, and bottle, most realistically represented the part of an old sundowner. , Others well worthy of mention wore Wylie (dressed as a Maori), Douglas as (Jack Johnson). Taylor ns a (nurse), M'Gregor and Loveridge as. (ladies of fashion), and last, but not least, our worthy manager as a ship's officer. Thus a very happy evening Was spent, and it was with TegreLwhen we heard Mr. Mason announce that it was 12 o'clock and that dancing would havo ±o cease. • On the following Wednesday a concert was held in the social hall, and, since this seemed to be a good opportunity for presenting tho prizes won at the sports, arrangements were made for this purpose. Captain Neville, who very kindly consented to present the prizes, sauced a great deal of amusement aud
laughter by his humorous remarks about the winners and their prizes. GLIMPSE OF SAN FRANCISCO. Early on tho morning of 2nd October every passenger was on deck in order to catch a first glimpse of the beauties of the world-famed entrance to San Francisco Harbour, ,but owing to the early hour of arrival the rays of the morning sun had not then dispersed a light mist that was hanging about, and so wo doubtless missed a good deal of striking scenery. _ Nevertheless, what we did see of it quite convinced us that the name " Golden Gate " had been most appropriately bestowed, and that the most flattering remarks that have ever been made about it are certainly justifiable. By 8 a.m. we had anchored in midharbour, there to await the coming of the doctor, the Customs authorities, and the immigration authorities. No diffi- • culties were , experienced, and by 11.30 we were on our way to the U.S.S. Co.'s wharf. , , ' Great as was the enthusiastic welcome we had been led to anticipate, our reception far exceeded our greatest expectations. The wharf was lined with crowds of people, and as the ship approached her berth the University of California's Cadet Band burst out with one of its favourite tunes, " Boola, Boola," which the Stanford University musicians immediately followed by "I Love You, California." We then responded by giving them one or two of our Maori war-cries, which were apparently much appreciated by the waiting throng. Several of the leading Californian Rugby enthusiasts Came on board, and words. of welcome were addressed to us by Mr. S. J. M'Atee (representing Mayor Ralph), Mr. D. W. Burbank (of the Reception Committee of the Californian Rugby Union), and by Mr. H. Stevenson Smith (United States Resident -for New Zealand). Tha whole party then landed, and a parade in automobiles ensued, "the Olympic Club being our destination. During our progress through the streets one could noi but admire the imposing solidity of tha buildings, and wonder how it were possible to have removed so quickly all traces of such a mighty disaster as the fire aud earthquake of 1906. On our arrival at the club a hearty welcome was again extended to us by Mr. W. Humphrey (president of the Olympic Club), by Mr. W. J. French (representing Governor Hiram Johnson), and by Mr. Carnegie Ross (Consul-General of Great Britain and Ireland). Mr. Mason, in replying on behalf of the team, thanked those gentlemen for their kind welcome. That afternoon and on the following morning were held our first practices, and the only member of the team who did not paiiicipate was " Teddy " Roberts, who as yet has not fully recovered. THE FIRST MATCH. On Saturday afternoon, two days after our arrival, we met and defeated the Olympic Club by 19 points to nil; The team was as follows: — Forwards — Williams, Sellars, Atkinson, Wylie, Downing, Dewar, Graham, and M'Donald j backs — Taylor, Gray, Lynch, Roberts, Mitchinson, M'Gregor, and Cuthill. The game, which was composed principally of loose forward rushes, was a disappointing exhibition, and it was only on very rare occasions that the backs broke away on one of those lightning passing rushes by which the All Blacks of 1905 electrified the Rugby followers in the British Isles. Doubtless the poor showing of the backs may be accounted for by the fact that the ground on which we played was merely a harrowed field, called in California a dirt field, and that very often the rear division of the team lost sight of the ball altogether in the clouds of dust that arose at every scrimmage. The one star incident in the game was a magnificent run by Dick Roberts, who, receiving the ball nearly 40yds from the line, ran through the whole of the Olympic back division, and scored between the posts. ■ Of the backs, Roberts and Lynch were easily the best performers, while Cuthill, though somewhat weak in tho first spell, showed up in his true form after the interval. Owing to having struck his knee on a stone, Mitchinson, who up to half-time had been playing well up to form, was compelled to vacate his position, which was ably filled by M'Kenzie. Of the forwards one might mention Downing, Wylie, and Williams as showing out a little more than the others, but they were. all good and gaVe an excellent exhibition of forward play. BASEBALL. Qn the following day we received from Mr. Baum, President of the Pacific Coast Baseball League, an invitation to attend a game between two of their best' t teams, San Francisco and Sacramento, and, although most of us had not seen the game played before, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and left the ground determined to Bee the game again at the earliest opportunity. After tho match Mr. Baum informed us that while we were in California we were free tit attend any baseball game we wished to sese. Mr. Mason, in reply, thanked^ hiln for this kind offer. t^ Next morning we left San Francisco for Berkeley, where we were extended a right royal welcome by the students ot the University of California. That afternoon and on tho following morning we held our usual practices, but owing to the great heat and tho fact that tho ground is' a "dirt field," not much benefit was derived as regards combined movements.. It was here that Teddy Roberts, on the advice of the University trainer, had his leg put under the X-ray, when it was found that his ahin bono had been splintered, but was gradually mending. The doctor considered that he would be able to play in a short tune. MATCH AGAINST THE UNIVERSITY TEAM. On Wednesday, Bth October, we played the University team, ond defeated them by the large margin of 31 points to nil. Tho following was the team :-— Cain, Dewar, Wylie, Bruce, Downing, M'Donald, Sellars, Murray, Trfylor, Gray, M'Kenzie, Lynch, Roberts, "Cuthill, Stohr. Tries were- scored hv M'Kenzie (2), Cuthill (2), Lynch (lj, Downing (1), Dewar (1), and M'Donald (1). Stohr kicked a fine penalty goal, while Cuthill converted two of the tries. The game itself was a magnificent exhibition on the part of the All Blacks. One would imagine from the ecore that it was a runaway match, but such was not the case. Every yard was fiercely contested, and it was only by our su--perior knowledge in the finer points or the game that we were able to comts out so victorious. The Californians are certainly fine line-kickers and sure tacklero, but they lack cohesion in the forwards and combination in the backs. Their ono great weakness is that thttj hay« not yet realised that attack is the best defence. Their passing is not of a very high order, and as their backs line almost straight across tho field nothing results from their passing rushes. Still, despite these defects, they are progressing rapidly, and judging by tho stand put up by the University players one might safely predict that in a few years that spirit of winning which is characteristic of American people will make them worthy opponents of the best team that can "be brought against them. On the day's play Sellars was easily the pick 6f the forwards, while the least that can be said of the baekb is that every one played right up to form, and gave the spectatois a very good idea of how the game at its best is played in New Zealand. I here quote Referee L. S. Reading^ opinion on the team :—: — "The New Zealanders are 50 per cent, better than the 'Waratahs." They are tho best team I ever saw, with the exjieptiyn of t-hc All Blacks of 1905.- Jt be-
lieve they will equal that famous fifteen when they have played a few times together." ' Practice was indulged in on the following two days, mm on Friday after* noon wo returned ' to San Francisco. Next day, on the same ground as our first match, we met the Barbarian team, and again won easily by 20 points to nil. The team on this occasion was : Cain, Dewar, Atkinson, Downing, Graham, Douglas, M'Donald, Murray, Taylor, M'Kenzie, Gray, Loveridge, Cuthiil, Lynch, Stohr. Scoring was as follows : —Lynch (2), Cuthill (2), Graham (1), Downing (6), Taylor (1), Gray (1). Loveridge, Cuthill, and Stohr each converted one. The game on tho whole was rather a disappointing one, duo partly to tho state of the grqjind and partly to file listlessness of the players occasioned by the extreme heat. The ball moved sluggishly from the scrum, and by the time it reached Gray both he and Cuthill were hemmed in by the opposing backs. In this way the wings were given fewer opportunities than usual ; but apart from this the play was satiefactory. Cain, Dewar, and Graham shone among the forwards, while Stohr as full-back sained great applause by his excellent line-kicking.
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ALL BLACKS THE CALIFORNIAN TOUR INCIDENTS ON THE JOURNEY DETAILS OF THE FIRST MATCHES, Evening Post, Volume LXXXVI, Issue 111, 6 November 1913
ALL BLACKS THE CALIFORNIAN TOUR INCIDENTS ON THE JOURNEY DETAILS OF THE FIRST MATCHES Evening Post, Volume LXXXVI, Issue 111, 6 November 1913
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