NOTES BY FORWARD.
The Canterbury Referees' Association has written to the Otago Association pointing out that the latter's decision that the referee should put the ball into the scrummage is contrary to the English Rugby Union's decision.
P. Ward and C. Purdue from Invercarqill, and R. Matheson (late of the Pirates club, Dunedin) have this season thrown in their lot with the Marrickville club, in Sydney, which has this year been promoted to the senior grade. In discussing the possibilities of the season the Daily Telegraph thus refers to the three New Zealanders : " Purdue is a forward of the merry, dashing, scoring type, fast and clever in the open ; and he is, moreover, an admirable place-kicker. Ward is a five-eighths, strong both in attack and in defence; whilst Matheson, in his one appearance up to date, has given the impression of being a player oi the dilettante, lady-like. sort. But he brings with him the reputation of being a fine threequarter, and, no doubt, he will give us a taste of his quality before long. 5 ' The annual match under Rugby rules between Ireland and Wales was played at Cardiff on March 18, in the presence of a. record gathering, vastly more than the ground was capable of holding. Wales were unfortunate in the first 20 minutes in losing the services of their famous captain and full back, W. J. Bancroft, who, when. Wales were attacking hotly, was tripped up, quite accidentally, by a spectator, and, falling heavily, broke a rib under his heart, and twisted two others. He had to be assisted off the ground, while Price, who is a fine kick, was brought out of the pack to take his place. From here to the close the Welsh combination consisted of 14 men. Ireland won by a try to nothing;. There is food for reflection in Otago, where we are far too prone to sacrifice sound forward work for the sake of showy back play, in the comments of the Athletic News upon the recent match between England and Scotland. _ The Scottish fifteen, we are told, " still rely upon their forwards, and not on the machinations of the back division." And the News goes on to say: It has been patent in every fixture so far this season that the forwards have been the main factor in each victory. Splendid as backs are, and irresistible as they may seem on paper, they lose all their splendour and become anything but dangerous when the front rank is beaten. This has been demonstrated over and o-ver again, and it was demonstrated in unmistakable fashion on Saturday. The style in which the "big burly men of Scotland met and broke through the English ranks was exhilarating and depressing, just according to the light in which the spectator looked at it. That Englishmen could push, and push hard when it came to a solid shove, there wa< no doubt, but they were not clever enough in the loose to overcome their opponents. They could not dribble with the .same deadly facility, and they did not follow lip with the same fatal freedom. They tackled well at all times, and in some measure redeemed their charcter for hard work, but it was not finished enough to be of great service. That's the whole secret of the game. .Scotch energy in front and smartness behind did the trick.
From the Sydney paj>ers it appears that the English team to visit Australia was to be chosen, from the following: J. F. Byrne and C. Boyd, full backs ; E. F. Fookes, Timoins (? Timms), E. G. Nichols, H. V. Huzzey, L. Bulger, R. Forest, three-quarters ; Dr Howlands, M. Mullineux, K. O. Schwarz, M. Elliot, G. Cookton, halves -, anil H. W. Dudgeon, J. S. Francourt, W. Needs, J. H. Kipling, J. H. Franks, G. V. Evers, Marston, Gilsoii, J. W. Jarman, F. M. Stout, forwards. This list includes several players who are in the first flight of British footballers. J. F. Byrne, of the Moseley club, has frequently played full back for England in the international matches, and though he was supplanted by Gamlin in England's last two engagements, in the past season he played against Ireland. E. F. Fookes (of Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire}, H. W. Dudgeon (of the Richmond club, with a birth qualification for Northumberland, so that he was actually picked for both teams in the first vnatch, North v. South, in the past season), F. M. Stout (Gloucester), and L. 0. Schwarz (Richmond), also played for England in the past season. M. Elliott, oi^the Hawick club, played for Scotland against England in 1898, but not in the_past season. E. G. Nicholsr and H. Huzzcy, both of the Cardiff club, are "Welsh representative players. With them in the team it is much to be regretted than New Zealand is to be passed over by the visitors, for we should, I am sure, be given a good exhibition of the Welsh four threequarter-back game. L. Bulger has played for Ireland. Nine international players in all seem likely to be in the team, which also includes thres or four of the second grade — men who have played for their counties. Francourt (who is an old Oxonian weight putter) and Cookson are both members of the Manchester club, and both played for Lancashire in the season that is just past. Boyd and Franks are members of the Dublin University team ; A. B. Timms (if this should, as Dr "Jack" Thomson suggested in these columns several week? ago, turn oul to be the real name of "Timoins") is an Australasian student at Edinburgh (and hi? running second to a policeman in a sprint at some sports led to the comment in a Scottish paper that a student chasing a policeman was a reversal of the ordinary sight) : Forest is a member of the Wellington club, and plays for Somersetshire ; Dr Rowlands and Mullineux belong to the Mo?eley club, which also claims Mareton ; Kipling comes from the South of England, and Need? and Jarman from Gloucester. There are so many Gilsons playing in England that the identity of the particular one in Mullineux's team is uncertain. The players are expected to arrive at Adelaide on the lOth, and at Sydney on the 14th June.
Our Auckland correspondent wires : — The fcotball season here opens next Saturday with the Cup competitions, and as far as can be gathered from the practice matches to date. Newton (last year's winners) and Graflon are the most likely of our seven senior district clubs to fight out the season's honours. Since writing you a couple of weeks back concerning: our representative strength, Phil Jacobs, the speedy Taranaki three-quarter back, has gone tc Sydney, and Sampson and Shaw, both of whom represented the province last season, left for the New South Wale 3 capital to-day, attracted, evidently by the prospect of inclusion in the international against the Englishmen.
So deep were the pools of water in some places on the Southern Club's ground labfc Saturday that it ie alleged as a fact that when the players went there in the afternoon ducks were swimming about in the middle of the playing area. <-, The death is announced at Napier of Mr T. S. Marshall, who was one of the founders pf the Linwood Football Club, and acted as ittf secretary for many years. He was also secretary of the Canterbury Busby Union, in
1892. In 1893 he retired from the secretaryship and served as a member of the committee.
Al Christchurch on Saturday in the senior football matches Merivale (15) beat Kaiapoi (7), Lin wood (24) beat Sydenham (4), Christchurch (6) and Albion (6) played a drawn game.
A Wellington telegram states that in senior matches Athletics beat Oriental by 18 to nil, Wellington defeated Poneke by 8 to nil, while Melrose (last year's champions) went, down before Petone by 9 to nil. Strange to say. none of the losing teams scored a point.
The weekly meeting of the committee of the Otago Rugby Football Union, held on Monday, vra? attended by Messrs Gallaway (president), Morris, Campbell. Duncan, Harris, M'Laren, Payne, Strong, "Young, and Hutchison. A draft of rules for the control of flag matches in North Otago, South Otago, and Central Otago, for clubs affiliated to the 0.R.F.U., was submitted by a sub-committee. It was agreed to submit the proposed rales to clubs for suggestions. Mr A. Spence, referee in the match last Saturday between the Southern and Union Clubs, wrote stating that until the Southern Club fenced off the playing area with some sort of barrier, such as a wire or cliain. and also made some provision for keeping the crowd behind that barrier, it was unfair to require any club to play there. A letter was read from the Alhambra Club reqi.esting the Flag Committee to inspect the Southern Club's ground, and decide whether it was fit for play, and, if so, whether proper arrangements were made to keep spectators from encroaching on the field of play. It was decided to inform the Southern Club that a member of the Flag Committee would be present at its ground next Saturday and would report to the O.R.F.U. as to the ground and as to encroachments by the spectators thereon. Mr Spenco reported that during the progress of the match between the Union and Southern Clubs he had ordered H. Allen (Southern) ana H. Bennett (Union) off the ground for alleged misconduct. A letter was read from the Union Club on the same subject. It was decided to request the referee and the players mentioned to attend the next meeting of the committee.
A writer in a Wellington paper applauds the action of the Otago Rugby Union in compelling last season's junior pla3'ers to join the senior clubs. He says : " There was a howl, of course ; such is bound to come when an important innovation is made, but subsequent events proved the wisdom of the southern body's action. It deserves the congratulations and thanks of footballers for having ventured on such a step, which must prove beneficial, not only to the players themselves but to the province and football in general. It has, apparently, proved that in these young players Otago can safely rely upon her honour being as well maintained as it has been by such giants even as Duncan, Armit, and others."
I have_to acknowledge receipt of a copy of the Wellington Rugby Union Annual for 1899. Indeed I am favoured in having received from different sources three copies. It is a compendious volume of 236 pages, and contains a photograph, not only of the Wellington representative team of last year, but also photographs of the winning teams of the various competitions in Wellington- An interesting review of the past season, in which iw failure is ascribed to ineffectual back play, is a capital feature of it. The writer concludes that the abolition of the present system of wing play should go a long way towards j the improvement of Wellington's back play. I In case these sentiments do not meet the views of the reader, he has only to turn a few pages further on -to an article by W. (" Oif-side ") M'Kenzie on '"How the game should be played," in which he will b6 told that a Aving man can paralyse the whole of the opposing backs. On that showing, Wellington, with < her wing players, should have no fear of opposing back teams, however good they may be. The reader of the annual can take his choice of the two styles of play. I have no doubt as to the one which Olago readers would prefer, Another article is on Ihe proposed alterations to the rules of football, and the writer sounds a warning note that this may bo the prelude to a, movement for severance i from the English Union. I hope the warning I will not pass unobserved. For its insertion I J thank the editor of the Annual (Mr W. C. I Marter), who is to be thoroughly congratu- | lated on the production he has turned out. I
The rules which Ihe O.R.F.U. Committee are submitting to the country clubs for the control of Flag matches in country districts provide for the«e contests being held in North Otago, South Otago, and Central Otago, for clubs affiliated to the O.R.F.U. In North Otago it is proposed that all Flag matches shall be under the control of a local committee of three members, appointed by the Committee of Management. The local Flag Committee shall arrange and conduct the Flag matches for the season. Each competing club shall play two matches agfinst eacK of the other clubs. A victory shall count two points and a draw one point, and the club training the highest percentage of points shall hold the banner for a period of 12 months, aud then Land the same back to the representative of the O.R.F.Q. The -rule? for the conduct of FLig matches in. South Olago bhall, it is proposed, be substantially the same as those for the conduct of matches in North Olacco, but it is to be an instruction to the local Flag Committee that, in the case of clubs whose meeting is rendered difficult by reason of the travelling that would be involved, they shall arrange for matches being played on neutral ground, situated, as far as possible, equi-distant from the location of each such club. It i& proposed that Central Otago shall, for the purpose of the Flag matches, be divided into three groups — viz. : Maniototo (comprising the clubs in the Maniototo County), Vincent (comprising the clubs in the Vincent County), and Tnapeka (comprising the clubs in the Tnapeka County). As to the control of the matches the idea is that a local Flag Committee ot three members shall be appointed for each group, and each of these committees shall nominate one of their number to act on the Central Otago Flag Committee. The clubp in each group shall play two matches with each other, and the club in each group gaining the highest percentage of points shall be deemed to be the champion in such group. The clubs which are the champions in their respective groups shall then compete for the Central Otago fiag-. The club which is the champion of the Vincent group — that being the middle group— shall be drawn to play against the champion club of one of the other groups, the choice being decided by lot by the Central Otagc Flag Committee, and the winner hall play against the club which is the champion of the remaining group. The winner of this latter match shall hold the flag for a period of 12 months, and then hand the same back to the representative of the O.R.F.U. It is proposed that it shall be an instruction to the Central Otago Flag Committee to arrange that where, owing to the distance by which they are separated, clubs have a difficulty in meeting, the matches between such clubs shall be played on neutral ground situated at, as near as possible, an equal distance from the location, of each, olut.
The match between the Zingari-Richmond and the Kaikorai teams was not a very inter1 esting one. The Zingari forwards all played well, especially in the second spell. What chances they did have of scoring were, however, all lost by over-anxiousness on the part of the backs. Fordyce did good work at full back, while Turnbull at three-quarters and the two Smiths at half also rendered valuable service to their Bide. The pick of the Kaikorai forwards were R. Murphy, Cross, Adamson, aud Porteous. Armit played a fine game all through, and his passing was of a high order. Jackson at full back kicked well, and Wood played a safe game at centre threequarters. Mason has appeared to much better advantage in the football field than he did at the start of the game, but he improved considerably as the day wore on. The play of Duncan was, as usual, sound, while Sinclair, the scrum half back, though greatly hampered by the attention paid him by the opposing wing forwards, passed with precision, and was good in defence. Taken all through, the match between the Alhambra and Dunedin a fairly even contest. The latternad distinctly the. best of the game in the first spell, when they had a strong wind in their favour; while the Alhambra showed to more advantage than their opponents in the second half of the game, but were without the assistance of the wind, which had died away to almost nothing. The game was open and consequently fast, the forwards on both sides playing a hard and filing game, following up and tackling well. Still "the AlJiambra forwards were said to have not showed to such advantage as on the previous. Saturday. Bond, Hobson, M'Kewen, and Watson were very prominent. The Dunedin forwards, on the other hand, did better work than previously and got the ball in the scrum almost as often as their opponents. "M'Kewen, Rogerson, and Macdonald were very conspicuous for good play.
No fault could be found with the passing of the Alhambra backs, King, Johnston, Elder, and Bennet all handling the ball well, and being very smart on their feet. Elder cut off several passes. Cunningham was not co fast as he has been, while King made some good runs and was probably the best back on his side. Of the backs of the Dnnedin side, Mason, Ward, and Stalker are all on the light side, but each kicks well. Their weakest point was the passing, which wad not too sure. Mackenzie, on the wing, played the best game on the ground, the ball being always safe in his hands. He saved his side time after time, ■ticking and running and tackling well. .Stephenson also played a, useful game, while Maekay, at full back, managed to got in a lot of work.
The state of the Southern ground was totally against a good display of football. On the tide next Cargill road there were & great many pools of water, and the ball, when it got into these, remained there and it vms difficult sometimes for the players xo dislor'y;e lit Good passing was of course out ot (lie question, and the play was chiefly confined to the forwards. In the scrums the Union had the best of it, but in the loose Ibeir lighter opponents showed superiority. Indeed, the ~ Southern forwards at times quite excelled i themselves in this respect. Olson played remarkably well and Allen and Neil were prominent throughout. Burgess, though not so conspicuous as on the .previous Saturday, showed great defensive ability. Duncan also played cleverly, while the collaring of Lawr'y aud Chambers was again the feature of their play. Parris did not lake the ball too well, ami Simpson was deficient in this respect also.
Of the Union forwards, Gilchrisb was certainly tho best, and Munro and Stewart were conspicuous. Armstrong played very cleverly at half and Munro gained ground on several 'occasions by his good kicking. Walker played safely at centre and Doig made the most of Ms chances. Bennett seldom had possession. Undoubtedly the best back game played on the ground was that of Adams, the Union's full. His fielding of the greasy ball was splenuid, and he seldom failed to gain ground with his kicks into touch. Mr Spence acted as referee, and, towards the end of the game, ordered two of the players from opposing sides off the field for wrestling with each other.
Carisbrook was in a very bad state for playing on Saturday. The game between the Pirates and 'Varsity had not progressed far when both teams were pretty well beslobbered with mud, and the greasy state of the ball spoilt chances for both sides. Macdonald got the 'Varsity try very cunningly early in the game. In the second spell the Blues were very hard pushed, but they managed to prevent the Pirates from crossing the Jine. When the state of the ball is considered, the passing of the 'Varsity must bo said to have been remarkably good. The Pirates did not make any pretence at combined back play, but their forwards did a lot of good work, their loose rushes being in particular very effective. The 'Varsity's back play was best from the serum out to the centre, but the wings were a bit weak. The pick of the backs was M'Ara. Macdonald played a tip-top game behind the scrum' White played a very sound game in the centre, running and tackling well, but the -full back was not up to the standard, displaying on occasional inclination towards passing and speculating. Armstrong, at five-eighths, played a good game. All the forwards betrayed a lack of condition, but Shand and Fisher were the most prominent. Among the Pirate backs M. Priest, Bragg, Thomson, and Buchanan were the best, and Burt, M'Leod, Priest, and Salmorid were the most prominent in the forward division.