Out Door Sports
By « Hakrier.'
The Auckland football season of '94 is now practically over, and has fittingly concluded with the long-looked for visit of the New South Wales and Wellington teams. It is a thousand pities that the weather should have been so extremely bad on the occassion of the Wellington match, as public interest was very keen, and a close and exciting contest was confidently expected. Such was "not to be the case, however, as the Wellington players appeared much more at home in the mud than the local men and won very comfortably at the finish. Throughout the game the home team's forwards proved superior in the packs, but inferior in line and in the open. The Auckland backs were a long way behind their rivals in handling or kicking the wet ball, and to this fact their defeat is mainly attributable.
The New South Wales— North Island match was not nearly so interesting as the Auckland — New South Wales contest on the previous Saturday, partly because of the strong lead taken by the North Island team in the early part of the game, which rendered the ultimate result a foregone conclusion, and partly because the display of allround football was not so good as in the latter match. The North Island forwards were individually a splendid lot, but necessarily lacking in combination, and were consequently in the packs, and what is more surprising, in theline play, also, by their antagonists, who, profiting by past experience, played seven scrum forwards instead of six.
The New South Wales backs made very poor use of the many chances afforded by their forward division, and did not contrast at all well with the rear guard of the North Island, who had to make nearly all of their own openings. Long high passing was again a source of weakness to the visitors, and is a defect which will require to be remedied before they can hope for much success in New Zealand.
Swindley -was very prominent on the line. Jim Poland was in his element, and got through plenty of hard graft. Gage played the most dashing three-quarter game on Saturday. Donald's fine relieving dribble was highly appreciated by the onlookers. Davidson is a clever full-back on a wet day. and was incomparably better than oui idol. Rhodes as a three-quarter would do Auckland more honour than some who have been tried. . Oliphant on Saturday was responsible for a lot of' clever fast work, and in addition made several clever runs. Bailey's action in allowing Riley to take Dibbs' place in the N.S.W. backs was sportsmanlike and deserving of commendation. Cobb (N.S.W.), at full back was a great improvement upon McMahon in that position, his kicking being especially good. Caradus was out of place at fiveeights in "Wednesday's match, and struck me as being the weak spot in the North Island backs. Gallaway (N.S.W.) at half, played a game second to none on the field, his smart work repe&tedly eliciting rounds of applause from the spectators. Considering the state of the ball Braund performed excellently. His passes were usually clean, and he made several good openings by means of nice dodgy runs. Elliott made several strong dashes and narrowly escaped scoring on one or two occasions, but again displayed a reluctance to pass, which spoilt several fine openings. Caradus, of Napier, refereed in the Wellington-Auckland match. Having said that, Ido not think I am justified in saying more. . "Wellington ought to have been satisfied. '
O'Murphy's forward, play is degenerating. . McKenzie's (W.) opinion of Rhodes is a very respectful one. Donald, against Wellington, went all oat, and was always in the van. Both Rhodes' particular friends, Henlen and Wyburd, were left out of the team against Nortn Island. Fitchett was none too successful, though a good 'result attended his effort, the time he met with his unfortunate bump. Elliot's play was spoilt by the greasy state of the ball. Nevertheless, he collared well, but missed his kicks at the rolling ball. In the North Island match Masefield .although at times playing brilliantly, made occasional blunders, which considerably discounted an otherwise excellent game.'--W. McKenzie was a great help to his side on Saturday, but played a terrible lot in front of the ball. His title of ' Off-side McKenzie ' has evidently been well earned. Barry (N.S.W.) lost numerous opportunities by hanging to the ball instead of passing to a comrade ; he was chiefly responsible for the poor display of the Cornstalks' backs. Wynyard captained his team splendidly, and was instrumental in scoring for Wellington. His try was the best of the day and was well applaudc d as a bit of excellent play. Wellington's first score was the outcome of a mistake of the referee who blew his whistle for a mark when the ball was not caught. From the ensuing scrum came the first try. Masefield was very much off-colour on Saturday, his game contrasted very unfavourably with that of the Wellington full back Davidson, who did all that was asked of him in splendid style. Murphy fully upheld his reputation as a goal-kicker on Wednesday; he was somewhat favoured by the wind in his two big kicks from half way, but both were nevertheless splendid efforts. Surman commenced to play well in Wednesday's game, but he got rather a severe shaking when tackling Alf. Bayley about half-way through the first spell, after which his play appeared wanting in dash. Riley took the place of Dibbs -when j the latter retired, and showed to much i betteradvantage than when playing against Auckland. His accurate kicking and sure tackling repeatedly saved his side when hard pressed. Edmonds handled the greasy ball with more certainty than the other Auckland three-quarters, and his tackling and screw-punting were both good. He, however, like his fellows, frequently erred in kicking at a rolling ball, and during the second turn in getting out of his proper position in the field.
Saturday was too rough for banners. The ex-Aucklanders, Dacre and Hales, were left out of Wellington's fifteen. The Wellington boys say the weather was even worse tnan they were used to. Quite a flutter amongst the emergencies when Fitchett got laid oat on Saturday. The man who shouted ' Fifteen points, Wellington !' only missed the score by a yard or so. Thames boys are smiling at Auckland's downfall, when Wellington could only beat them by two. The new line flag so kindly presented by Mrs Gallagher is a work of art, and her thoughtfulness is very much appreciated by the footballers. There is a tendency in the football field just now to make things as rough as possible ; the wrestling matches between Bailey and Lane on Wednesday, and McKenzie and Bhodeß on Saturday, were anything but scientific football. Members of the North Shore Amateur Athletic and 'Cycle Club must be highly gratified at the balance-sheet put forward at the general meeting on the 30th Aug., as out of a total receipt 0f. £141, £83 2s 6d was given away as prize money. This does not include the trophies for the bicycle road race recently competed for, although the slight loss sustained through, that event appears on the balance-sheet: Mr B. Wynyard was again elected Hon. Sec, and Mr B. Logan, jnn., takes Mr Boyd's place «.s Hon. Treasurer. The committee are as follows :— B. Inglis, 0. Waters, B. McCallum, A. Martin, W. Walker, H. Boyd, J. Coleman, F. Burgess, A. G. Harvey. The hon. officers remain as last year and are a formidable array of names.
All the North Island forwards grafted well. individually, but were beaten on the line, and quite equalled New South Wales' forwards in heeling out. The Wellington boj T s say that had they been amphibious animals they would have put up a record against Thames. Taranaki beat New South Wales by 21 to 6. Lambie, for Taranaki, scored three tries. Lane scored for New South Wales. The Thames' reps, seem to be an extremely strong ' bad weather ' team. Their matches with Tauranga, Hawkes' Bay, and Wellington were all played under unfavourable weather conditions and in each case they performed more than oreditably." I am informed that in the Wellington match the handling and kicking of the greasy ball by the Thames backs was remarkably clean and smart. I have long held the opinion that wing players are a doubtful benefit to their side, and after the display on Saturday and Wednesday last I am more than ever convinced that the best interests of the game" would be served if they were entirely done away with, even if the number of players had to be reduced in consequence. Some experts hold that seven good scrum forwards are equally as effective as nine would be, and therefore favour the employment of the two extra men on the wing, but however this may be, it is certain that the occasional exhibitions of ill-temper on the part of opposing wing-forwards are a disgrace to our national pastime, and this reason alone is sufficient to warrant their disuse. The feeling of the English football authorities is clearly shown by the recent enactments expressly directed against wing players, and I am satisfied that if these laws were strictly enforced by referees, wing forwards would soon be a thing of the past.
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Out Door Sports, Observer, Volume XV, Issue 819, 8 September 1894
Out Door Sports Observer, Volume XV, Issue 819, 8 September 1894
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