By ' VanguardV.M.C.A. LEAD
IN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
THE ONLY UNBEATEN TEAM.
Senior "A. ,# Points. Ch. P. W. L. D. F. A. Pts V.M.C.A 3 3 0 0 17 3 6 Brooklyn 3 2 10 6 9 4 Institute 3 2 10 6 3 4 Hospital 3 2 10 9 8 4 Marist 3 1117 8 3 Waterside 8 12 0 8 7 2 Thistle 3 0 2 12 9 1 Diamonds 3 0 3 0 3 9 0 Senior "B." Points. Ch. P. W. L. D. P. A. Pts Johnsonville 1 1 0 0 8 12 Thistle 110 0 3 2 2 Petooe 110 0 3 2 2 Seatoun -110 0 8 12 V.M.C.A 1 0 1. 0 1 8 0 Hutt 10 10 2 3 0 Swifts 10 10 2 3 0 S. Wellington ... I 0 1 0. 1 3 0 Welgasco 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
As a result of matches played last Saturday, V.M.C.A. are now leading in the league championship, being the only team that has not so far suffered defeat. There were many who thought that last year's champions would have to fight hard in order to avert defeat by Brooklyn, but after a fairly even first spell, in which the honours but not the goals were evenly divided, T.M.C.A. ran right away from their opponents and carried the score from 2 to 1 to 7 to 1. Brooklyn played fair football in the first spell, but they failed in one direction. In front of the goal they were lamentably weak, and S. Anton, in particular, threw many chances to tno winds. V.M.C.A. played just that type of football that brings success, and in the second spell they were absolutely invincible. Just at present it appears as if V.M.C.A. will have no great difficulty in placing another league championship to their credit, although there is yet ample time for some of those surprise victories which so often upset calculations. It was pleasing to see the improved form shown by Thistle last Saturday, and the draw with Marist should put fresh heart into tho Scots, who. at one time were one of the hardest teams in the league to defeat. Thistle made one or two changes in their team, and the results were gratifying. Kirkland, who did so well between the uprights for Scottish Wan-1 dercrs last seasonj turned out for the first time this season, and he gave such a good account of himself that it would not be surprising to find him replacing Murray, who, to say the least of it, has been uncertain. M'Vean, who did yeoman service as goalkeeper for Thistle last season and earned a place in the representatives, has transferred to Petone, a senior B team. This will not disqualify him as far as representative honours are concerned, but it has been shown in the past that relegation to a lower grade does not help to improve players. In one notable case, it had tho opposite effect, and the player in question has now returned to the top grade. Already his play has improved. Marist fought hard to" gain the upper hand over Thistle, but they found the defence too solid for them. Diamonds put up a surprisingly good fight against Institute, and had it not been for the fact that Hearne, one ol the full-backs, had to retire at a critical stage on account of an injury, the All Blacks would no doubt have made a draw of it. Hospital did not have too much to spare in their match with Waterside, the scores being level almost to the end of the game, when M'Kee scored from a' corner kick. Waterside have improved very considerably this season, and with luck they should avoid wooden spoon honours. Brooklyn Fade Away. If , Brooklyn had maintained all through the form they displayed in the first spell of their match with V.M.C.A., last season's champions would have had to fight hard in order to avert defeat, but they faded away completely, and V.M.C.A. were permitted to score as many goals as they liked. A. Anton made his reappearance in Brooklyn's forward line, but his play was very disappointing. In the first spell he threw away many excellent chances of scoring, and not at any part of the game did he appear to fit in with the other members of the forward line. W. Anton worked hard all through the game, but the support he received was disheartening, to say the least of it. As a centre forward Anton is one of the best players in Wellington at the present time, but unless he is properly supported b/ other members of the team he cannot be expected to make his presence felt to the full extent. With a little more support last Saturday, Anton, no doubt, would have added to Brooklyn's tally of goals, as he is quick to seize any opportunities that come his way. Griffiths, at right wing, ,did not play his usual dashing game, and he failed to field his centres as he should have done. Griffiths also throw away one or two scoring chances by indiscriminate kicking. Of the Brooklyn halves, Bowyer, at centre, was again an outstanding figure, and if he maintains the form shown so far this season he should give the selectors something to think about. He is quick to avail himself of scoring opportunities, and is a man to be watched when twenty-five yards or so from the opposing goal. A dropping shot by this player last Saturday almost had Ewing beaten. Browning played a good game at full-back, but Dodds was not as sure in goal as a senior A custodian should be. This player appears to lack experience.
Of the V.M.C.A. players, an outstanding figure was Charlie Ballard, who made his first appearance this season, and marked the occasion by scoring three goals. In one he was rather fortunate, as the ball deflected off . a Brooklyn back and went into the goal, but that piece of luck did not detract in any way from the merit of Ballard '.a display. He seemed to infuse new life into the V.M.C.A. forward line. Orr was not a great success at centre, and Worth did nothing of any note. Nicolle and Stark, the two wingers, were both prominent throughout the game, the former showing a glimpse of the form which won a place for him in the representative team last season. M'Girr played a solid, if not brilliant, game at centre half, and Trott worked hard all tho afternoon.' Y.M.C.A.'s real strength lay in the full-backs, Roberts and Prince, both of whom played great defensive football. Prince's kicking, strong and accurate, was a feature of the day. Ewing was as safe as ever in goal, and appears to have regained all his old skill in the art of keeping. Too Much Wandering. On paper the Thistle Scottish Wanderers' combination should be good enough for any local team, but paper calculations are very apt to fall short unless they aro qualified by an "if" [ and a "but" here and there. The new
Thistle eleven certainly did not play up to expectations against Marist at Kelburn Park last Saturday, almost solely because several members of the team had a particularly acute attack of wanderlust, and galloped about the whole ground or most of it, at any rate, as the spirit moved them.' Logan and Galbraith, on the left wing, played consistently in position, but Lothian, at inside right (and now and again others as well) was very causual about place play. During the second spell Lennox went to the inside position, and Lothian to centre, and evidently were then more comfortably placed, and as a result the play of the whole front line improved considerably. Even so, there were frequent occasions on which the attacking line comprised three men, and the supporting halves were temporarily brought up to the strength of five.
Marist generally kept a much more likely front line, but failed at goal half a dozen times at least through lack of finish, and also, at times, through insufficient support for the player leading the attack.
I have written several yards of notes at various times about this ideal of place play, but actually no emphasis and re-emphasis should be necessary, for surely it is obvious that only by place play and the understanding that comes with it can a team conserve its energy, and so be just about as fit as the second spell wears on as when the ball was kicked off. There can be no team understanding if two or three men, or even one, will cruise about the field in a general and casual fashion, even though the wanderer, or wanderers, goes about the cruising with an unlimited supply of energy, and as a matter of fact, the wanderer generally has any amount of energy, otherwise he would not "go for it," left, right, and forward. What About the Spectator? Would the game be better or worse from the point of view of the spectator if two teams coached to place play met in fast and willing playt There cannot be much argument about that, for the thrill that is' given when the attack moves off together is real enough ' to be heard. Unfortunately it is not heard often enough. Is the spectator worth considering J Probably yes. Certainly yes, in fact. Apart altogether from the financial side of the game— and the association can do with all the finance that comes its way—there is the undoubted fact that spectators make the game. The same teams playing to a crowd play a different game inside four plain fences. The idea of booting the ball about is first-rate, but it does not. get the crowd. Fine Back Play. On either side fine half and. back play was sjiown, Thomas "and A. Rudolph showing up right through in Marists' half play, and Arbuthnot (late Wanderers) in Thistle's. H. Rudolph and E. Fitzgerald made a solid back line for the Greens, and Jack was a hard man for Marists' right wing to pass. Both goalkeepers, G-. Fitzgerald for Marist, and Kirkland for Thistle, gave fine showings, Kirkland being the busier man of the two, particularly towards the close of the game, when Marist made a series of bunched attacks. Even though his work was good Marist ■ should have added a point or two had their shooting been up to the mark. A Hard Game. ' Last Saturday's match at Association Park between Institute and Diamonds was productive of good football in parts, but generally play was.not of a high order. Both teams play much the same style of football, and that is one reason perhaps why the spectators found interest lagging at times.' Institute won by 2 goals to nil, but their victory cannot be solely put down to their better play. In fact, Diamonds held them till half-way through the second spell, when Hearne unfortunately had to retire with an injured knee. His team immediately miasod his services, and it was not long before Institute broke through the Dia-mond-defence. Prior to retiring, Hearne had been putting in groat work in the back line. He demonstrated on Saturday, as he has demonstrated before, that he is a safe back, and quite a great deal of credit must be given to him'for keeping Institute in check. He is reliable, and time and again he saved his side from anxious moments with his long kicks.
Of the remaining members of the Diamond team, mention must be, made of B6lt, M'Leod, Stocks, and Dealy. Bolt played a good game in the half line, and, though small in stature, battled gamely, and not always unsuccessfully. M'Leod, Stocks, and Dcaly were the pick of the forward line, and all showed that they must be taken seriously by opponents. M'Leod was particularly unlucky once or twice on Saturday in losing the ball just when opportunities presented themselves for scoring. He can centre admirably, and some of his passes gave Tarrant quite a lot of trouble. Stocks is a battler, and he is a player who keeps moving with the ball. Dealy is another who worried Institute considerably. He was always in the van, and rarely missed opportunities. Generally, Institute forwards gave a good account oi themselves, and towards the end cf the game developed good combination. Like their opponents, their shooting was bad, and they missed some bright opportunities.
Jeffery, at centre-half, was not playing his best game. His passing particularly was bad, and many times he sent tho ball out to Smith, on the wing, in a very erratic manner. He usually gave wild passes, and Smith could not reach the ball before it went out of bounds. This happened several times, and Institute lost' an opportunity every time it occurred. Smith himself was up to form, but he never got"the chances he should have ' received. If Jeffery feeds the winger better it must surely have good results. The Institute backs played well up the field, which had a result in throwing the Diamond forwards off-side more than is usually the case. Musgrove, who was always on the ball, was frequently pulled up for off-side play.
For the early part of the game neither side had much of an, advantage, and play ranged from end to end of the field throughout the. first spell and for a great part of the second half. It was only 'towards the close that Institute got the upper hand, and then Diamonds almost broke through on two occasions. Both goalies—Tarrant and Cutler—played spectacular games, and brought off many fine saves. Tarrant used great anticipation and was successful in keeping his goal intact. Cutler, although not so fortunate as Tarrant, played a good game, and his performance was quite creditable. With anything like a usual run of luck Diamonds should give a good account of themselves later. Hospital Just Win. Hospital had to go hard all the way to collect two points in their match with Waterside last Saturday. They certainly had the best of the game, but it was not until close on time that they managed to get tho extra goal required to win the match. Hospital, as in all their previous matches this season, again handicapped themselves by allowing the other side to gain a substantial lead before they could properly get iato their stride. Waterside
scored their first goal, after withstanding a short period of defending. Hastings and Wellwood broke away, and Soutar came out of goal to stay their progress, and thereby left' an' empty goal, as he did not reach the ball. The chance to score was missed, and the ball coming back to Hare, he smartly crossed it again, where Wellwood made amends by scoring a good goal close in. The home team were continually bothered by -their fast and nippy opponents, who were playing a really fine game. The Hospital attack at times was all that could be desired, except for the shooting, which was very erratic, but this improved greatly as the game wore on. The second goal came from a splendid breakaway by Waterside forwards, which again drew Soutar out of goal. This time he quite failed to reach the ball, and a clever pass from M'Lennan to M'Kay ended in the latter scoring an easy goal. Hospital, with two goals to nil against them, now had a serious problem to face; one that was considerably harder than was anticipated at the start of the game. Hospital had to get three goals to win, and also had to stop the other fellows from again scoring. The lasit possibility was always present, as the speedy breakaways were always dangerous. Hospital set out in grim earnest to get those goals, and would have succeeded earlier only for splendid goalkeeping by Cox. Bolton and Irvine were also kicking in faultless style at back, but the persistency of the home team was at last rewarded. Cox had punched out a good shot, and the ball going to Lambert, he passed smartly across to M'Bride, who reduced the lead. In the second half Hospital played superior football to the visitors, but found a great difficulty in penetrating a most stubborn defence. Waterside went their hardest to maintain the lead, and when this was taken away, and the scores were level, made great efforts to at least share the points. But were the tactics adopted the best to gain this end! The best defence is generally regarded as attack, and if possible, more attack. This was almost disregarded in the desire to keep their opponents out. The backs fell back towards goal, and were reinforced by the halves, with the result that the Hospital forwards and halves were allowed to operate that much nearer the desired goal. The trouble was that Hospital had to play against time, and they also had to check an occasional dangerous rush- —a rush that sometimes looked as if they were going to have their moral victory turned into defeat. Waterside gallantly held the fort until just on time, when M'Kee put the issue beyond doubt witha good shot from a well-placed corner kick by Lambert. It was a good match, well fought, and played in a good spirit. It was always full of interest, and the gradual creeping up of the home team excited the crowd. Cox played a splendid game in goal for the losers, always cool and resourceful, and at all times showing good judgment. . Bolton and Irvine had a busy afternoon, and with the three halves made a fine solid defence. The forwards were speedy, at times too much bo, as they frequently offended by getting off-side, but this was due to their keenness. They are an oven lot, full of football, and with more experience and steadiness in front of goal will greatly improve their game. Soutar 'saved several good shots, but was lacking in judgment when he left his citadel for Waterside to score their second goal. Gibb and Thompson were rarely, if ever, Teally beaten for the ball, and gave a good exhibition of back play. The halves were a strong trio, and in Simon, M'Kee, and Brown Hospital possess three experienced and clever half-backs. Mullins reappeared in the team and played a very good game with his partner, Lambert. Newman, in the centre, was not well, and did not take" such a prominent part as usual. He, however, fed his wings well, but was closely watched when it came to shooting. Anderson and M'Bride, on the right wing, did much good work, the former, in particular, always being a source of trouble to the opposition. The forwards, however, in fact, the team as a whole, need to put a bit more "pep" into their play in the earlier stages of the 'game, and not wait until they are really up against it before they get going. Game in Fiji. * "* Endeavours 'are being made by the Auckland Football Association to secure a visit to New Zealand this season of a team of Fijians, and the matter will, no doubt, come before the,an-: nual meeting of the N.Z.F.A. on Monday. It is possible that, whether approved by the New Zealancl body or not, the proposal will be pursued by the Auckland Association. "A representative native team from Fiji would give any team in New Zealand a rattling good go," said Mr. James Miller, a. New Zealander, who returned to Auckland last month from Fiji, where he took an active part in the management of the game in the Islands. "The wonderful progress the Fijian has made can be gauged from the fact that last year was tho second, vseason that the game has been established, and last year the natives won every match against visiting naval t'ams, and these have included some first-class men. The natives are magnificent physical specimens, and, at. far as their sporting spirit is concerned, there is nothing to touch them. They are as hard as nails, aud play ih ( their bare feet. I'll guarantee they will kick a hall further than the average European player wearing boots. That is ho exaggeration. They are very fast on their feet, and so lithe in their movements that they have been a surprise packet to the men-o'-warsmeh, who find themselves baffled by'the natives' exceptional turn of speed. This is their greatest asset, although, mind you, they ai i splendid shots when they get within striking distance of the goal.
"Levuka is tho stronghold of Soccer in the Islands. In Suva the nativ.s play Rugby, and no Soccer at all is played there, but in Levuka it is just the opposite. It is all Soccer in Levuka, which is the old' capital of the Islands. Last year we got the game on a firm footing there, added impetus being given by the donation in the previous season of a seventy-guinea cup by Messrs. Brotherton Bros. We set up a committeo to run the competition for this trophy, for which six teams competed. Whereas in the previous season this cup has been competed for i-ily by teams in Levuka, it was made open last season to the whole of the Island. Some of the had to make the journey by native canoe, and one team was becalmed for a couple of days en route. However, a' little matter like that docs not easily upset the equanimity of the Fijian, one of whose favourite expressions is "malua,' which means much the same as the Maori expression, 'taihoa,' or. 'wait a while.' I rcfereed.all the matches for the cup, with the exception of one, .- d the improvement in play during «io season was an eye-opener. Th • donation of this cup, I am satisfied, put.up tho standard of play by 100' per cent. Tho final match was played before the biggest crowd ever seen on the Levuka recreation ground. The match was won by the representatives from the Island of Bau, which is the old stronghold of tho last of the cannibal kings of Fiji, King Cakobau. Bau is now ruled by a grandspn of the old king, Ratu Pope, who is the leading chief in Fiji -Ij-day."
The scoring was large in the matches last Saturday, particularly amongst tho junior teams. There were victories of 10-0, 11-0, and 13-0 in some of the grades. It Is evident that some of the boys are taking full advantage of the new rule, and thereby setting an example to some of the senior players.
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Evening Post, Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 109, 8 May 1926
SOCCER Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 109, 8 May 1926
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