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DEATH OF TOM ELLISON.

A Wellington telegram announces the death of Mr T. "R. Ellison, the well-known ex-footballer. Deceased won his representative cap playing for Wellington in 1885. Hewas a member of the New Zealand Native team which toured England in 1888-89, and captained the New Zealand team of 1896 which toured New South Wales in that year. In 1891 and 1892 Ellison was captain of the Wellington representative team. A splendid player himself, he .it was who introduced the wing-forward game into New" Z-ealand.

I shall never forget my first game at football— {says T. R. Ellison, in his' book, "The Art of Rugby Football"). It took place at .the Kaik, Otago Heads, about the year 1881. I had heard a little about the game, owing to cousin Jack Taiaroa, the famous and unsurpassed Otago back? being a reputed champion at it, but I had not seen the game played or the rules of the game when a brother of Jack's brought down the first football that was ever Been at the Kaik. As soon as we set eyes on it we were all "there for a game, and immediately started on that poor, Unprotected ball (which, by tha way, consisted of the bladder' only). What our main object was I cannot say, but mine was to see more of that ball, and to know more about football, and, before th© game was over, which did not last long, I did 1 see more of the bail, as I ripped it in the first scrum; btit my. other object remained uneatisfied.

My real . introduction, however, to the game took plaoe about a year afterwards, at Te Aut-e College, where I learnt nearly all I ever knew of forward play, and where a large number of both brilliant and sound players have been turned out — notably: Wallace, a dashing half back (who, however, eouild not play at all with boots on) ; oui: lamented skipper, Thomas G. Pou, a fine drop kick; David R. Gage, whose equal in defensive play the world has not seen — a most scientific kick and a perfect brick wall to pass; James, the most dangerous left wing three-quarter that ever played and a perfect demon at bumping; Taaku, a. fin© full back ; Hiroa, one of New Zealand's representatives of 1893; and Friday, who, notwithstanding a deformed foot, was a dangeroxis as well as a safe half back. The College team was so strong during my last two 3 r eard there that we easily won th» senior championship for the province (seasons of 1883 and 1884).

My next scene of action was in Wellington, where, in 1885, I joined the Poneke Club, then juniors. The record of the club for that season was 11 wins out of ll matches, winning- the Junior Cup and all foreign matches against senior teams. la the following year the club went in for the senior championship, and won the cup, and for several seasons went on successfully.

I got a chance for representative honours early in the season of 1885, but owing to the epistolatory efforts of a "friend 1 ," who wanted 1 to know who Ellison was, I was shunted out of the first twenty. Nevertheless, I won my cap before the year was out, thanks to some one being unable to obtain leave to play, and from that time my place was assured until I retired.

It would, perhaps, be rather tedious to mention all the fine players I met at this period of my career, but I must mention the names of Messrs D. G. A. Cooper, a grand' type of a forward, and my first representative captain ; that old flying machine, J. M. King ; Harry Eoberts, Sammy Cockroft, J. Smith, Harry M'lntyre, D. Gage. R. C. Sim, A. D. Thompson, of Wellington; Whiteside, J. and W. Warbrick, of Auckland ; Downes, Keogh, Thomson, of Otago ;, and Francis, of Canterbury. The most delightful part of my football career was now at hand — the Native team was formed to tour Great Britain and Australia, and I had been invited to be a member. I shall never forget the trip, notwithstanding the extremely heavy programme of fixtures we had to go through. Perhaps the most delightful part of our experiences was tasted not so much on the field of play as off it : on the voyage, landing- at foreign ports, sight seping, and as guests of private people, football unions and clubs (though not many of them), of large manufactory proprietors, and la*st, but not least, of theatrical managers. In this connection I cannot Qmit to record my thank-

fulness to that genial and great patron of British sport, Lord Sheffield, who, by kindly inviting us to lunch at his charming seat at Sketching, gave us a most instructive and charming glimpse of the grand "magnificence and splendour of tha home of the true pakeha rangatira and all that pertains thereto. Fancy, the best of champagne and Shot-house grapes it half-time ! _^. I was nofleeply impressed -with the- play of the Britishers, for -with all the players they had available I saw no one to compare with Jack Taiaroa, J. Warbriek, Whiteside, Keogh and Co., except Lockwood, Stoddart, Valentine, Bonsor, and a very few others.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW19041005.2.109

Bibliographic details

DEATH OF TOM ELLISON., Otago Witness, Issue 2638, 5 October 1904

Word Count
874

DEATH OF TOM ELLISON. Otago Witness, Issue 2638, 5 October 1904

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