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Three Matches A Week

Strenuous Days Of The Native Team

George Williams On The Incomparable Keogh

Another of the old brigade, M r. George Williams, of Wellington, also. apeak* his piece. The writer was a member of the first New Zealand team to visit England— -the native team of ISKand "captained the combination after W. Wtrbriok broke a leg early m the tour. This was indeed a strenuous (with a capital S) tour, as disclosed below. Heraara the old war- horse's observations on the past, present, and future:

When the team was assembled after the visit of Stoddart's team m 188S arrangements were made. to go into training for a month at Hastings, and a great football supporter m Herere Tomoana gave the team the use of two cottages and a ground for the purpose. Arrangements were made for the team to tour New Zealand and play m all the centres. After playing two or three matches it was noticeable that the team was not strong enough m the backs to guarantee success on such a big undertaking. The selectors then decided to include several star players of New Zealand birth, to wit Madigan, McCausland, Elliott, and the famous Pat Keogh. This raised the team from 22 to 26 players, and it was decided to alter the name from the "Maori team to tho "Native team." I wish to stress this point; that it was a native-born team, not a Maori team, as a lot of enthusiasts are under a misapprehension We then played Wellington, Canterbury, South Canterbury, and The team then left for England via Melbourne, playing two matches there and winning both. Arriving In England on September 27, 1888, headquarters were made at tho Greyhound Hotel. Richmond. The first match was nlayed five days later against Surroy, the team giving a good impression to the English critics, and the first three matches were won straight out Wo played on tour 10S matches, 74 m Great Britain, the balance m Australia and New Zealand. While going wo averted three matches a week, which told on tho vitality of tho team. Nothing but iron men could havo stood.it With our best team m tho flelS wo averaged I3at 31b— a pretty fair fighting weight. Owing to injuries and the strenuous trip we had on many occasions to toko Uie Hold with less than our required fifteen. Another thing we Had to contend with was the travelling, BOmoUmoH going as far as 100 miles to ploy and back to our hoadquarters tho same day. , , Tho best teams w« mot on tho tour were the Welsh and Yorkshire teams, which gave us our greatest fights, except, perhaps, Lord Sheffield's team. This. I might mention, was a privately arranged match, and the team was composed of players from tho four International teams (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). Among tho players were McLaglan (Scotch International), Goold (Welsh), Lockwood. (English), end Stevenson (Irish)— all considered stars of their period. Such a match wo considered a great honor, as a fixture of that kind had not been held before, and has not happened slnco. Ono thing that perhaps helped us to loso this match was tho ' over-abundance of grapoM and champagne nt half-time, and tho chompagho dinner before starting, and poachcß at three for £1 Is. It was said that this match co«t his Lordehlp £750, But ho was a renl sport. Tho attendance tit the mntch was by invitation only. Tho attendance did not exceed 400, and, m far an I recollect, included no Indies, as I-ord Shefttdd wan a confirmed bacholoc

Individual players who stood out on the tour most prominently were Pat Keogh (half), W. Warbrlck (fullback), D. Gage (anywhere), T. Ellison (forward), Madlgan (three-quarter)* Elliott (flve-.elghths), and Tabby Wynyard (three-quarter). At the 'conclusion of the tour the critics gave ua credit for having two champions of the world In placing the best five. They credited them as follows:— »W, 'Warbrick (New Zealand), full-back; Stoddart (England), three-quarter; Lockwood (England), flve-elghths; Pat Keogh (New Zealand), half) ; H&ncock (England), forward. For my own part, I think Tom Ellison was tho best forward I have ever seen.

In speaking of Pat Koogh, I consider he was unbeatable, and there has not been his equal yet sees, although I have viewed all football sinco 1 cam* back.*

One Incident I might mention la that the crowd at Widnes, In our second last match m Great Britain, took charge of Pat and carried him shoulder high to headquarters, although we had beaton the local town by ono goal and three tries to a try.

Tho team became a great combination after playing so much together, nnd picked up many valuable points m Rugby which wero Imparted to Now Zealand players on our return. Tho natives were the first body of athletes to visit Great Britain from New Zoaland, and as this country was little known then they put New Zealand on the sporting map. •

On© of tho conditions of solectlon of tho native team was that all members were.to be total abstainers from liquor and tobacco, which was Btrlctiy adhered to, with the exception of one or two, and so helped to assist tho good record of tho team. Tbo .membora wore always In harmony, their only grievance being a financial one. If it had not been for, a much -moneyed Playor (the lato Dave Stewart, of Thames) they would havo had a hard row .ltd hoe;

1 am sorry to have to mention that out of tho 26 members 18 have gono west. Those still living aro Alf Wnrbrick, the chfef Government guide at Rotorua; W. Wynyard, Agricultural Department, Wellington; E. McCaustend, bank manager. New South Wales; W. Elliott, Railway Department, Araraoho; 13. Ihimalra (Smllcr), farmor, Hastings; W. Nohuo, th« w«Hknown chief m (ho Hay of Wands, now 21 stono; R. Tal.aro.t. farmer, Culverden; G. Wynyard^ Sydney; and myself.

Bcforo concluding I. would Hko to sny m referonco to tho texm about to leave, that if t had been nuked when tho tour won first spoken of I would have rldJatfod tho idea of our getting a body of men together to equal tho famous All Blacks of 1905, but after seeing tho players of this season J am perfectly convinced that tho 1924 tonm will bo equal to any previous combination, more especially m the forwards, and that O»o m*nA««n«U:li >* |M cUuw lisndA I hftv« no,d(MtU AM tittf; wllLta««ra unbeaten.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19240531.2.56

Bibliographic details

Three Matches A Week, NZ Truth, Issue 966, 31 May 1924

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1,074

Three Matches A Week NZ Truth, Issue 966, 31 May 1924

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