THE WELLINGTON MATCH,
THE GAME CRITICISED.
WHAT ARE THE VISITOR? CHANCES NOW? [Fbom Otjk Correspondent.] WELLINGTON, May 28. "" " The best side won, I think anyon* wouM bo safe in. saying." That wa< the opinion of that sterling player Wak lace, as the teams walked off the field. " But I would not like to say wher« Wellington, was superior ; the game waa, too fast and confused to give an opinion on that." The ex-All-Black was right*: for to detect exactly how it came that England was beaten, not heavily, eery tainly, but decisively, requires some! skill in investigation. Among the tangled incidents of a confused, swiftf and very willing game there comes the dominant impression that England had! no call on the luck whatever. The gifts the Goddess of Good Fortune had ttf give were given to Wellington. In th«( > nrst place there was the old hoary; and venerable trouble about replacing an injured player. The English ruling} now is that an injured player may bat replaced by consent of the opposing .captain, but the members of the pro* sent visiting team state that this rul* ing is eckloai carried out in practice at! Home. Anyhow, the luck of the ais rangement went all against them yes* terday. Twenty-seven minutes afteflf the game began, Jackett, the full-back^ left the field bleeding profusely from a cut behind the ear. He came on again a minute or two later, but was evident* ly more than half stunned, an 4 speedily retired once more. At half« time a medical man was busy putting stitches in the wound, and the plucky, Cornishman at last made a third appearance, but not till close on the call of time. The Englishmen, therefore, had to fight out the battle with onto fourteen players, .this being in accord^ ance with the arrangement made be-' tween the captains, Roberts and! M'Evedy, before the match began. Thi« uufortunate occurrence left a distinct mark on the play of the visitors. • Dyke had to be moved back to the vacant position of goal guardian, leaving only six forwards to do battle in the scrum., Any attacking play, such as the superb^ English three-quarter line showed afc Masterton, was therefore blanketed, be-! cause the occasions on which they goth the ball were few and far between. Thar second element of bad 1 luck which over-*! took the visitors was. losing the toss*,. A very fair breeze was blowing from thai" northern end, and Wellington made n« error about taking advantage of this., Then occurred that which frequently! happens to a team which has hadj to do battle against the wind , in the first half; The effort took too much out of them, and they could not quite last. At three minutes from the oalL of time the score stood— Wellington 16^ England 13. It was an exciting moment, and, responding to the call of it* 18,000 supporters, Wellington, swept ita opponents away in the last great rush of the day, and put all chance of * victory for the visitors out of the quesv tion by scoring another try. It was »; characteristic New Zealand rush, full of. devil, pace, and somewhat reckless to* boot, a\nd the response which the yisi-' tors made to it was not adequate. Toomuch had evidently been taken out ofr them in the first spell, this nofcwith-, standing the fact that they had every incentive to play up, for at that stage it was still anybody's match. Now U* come to the various phases of a brilliant match. When Harding and hi*; "merrie men" achieved their opening] victory over Wairarapa they had also] established a reputation as effective: scrummagers. In yesterday' 6 struggles this reputation was not sustained. Oufti of the twenty-three scrums which:, pc-j curred no fewer than ten were lnde^l cisive. Wellington captured the lea-t ther eight times, while only on, a paltry?! five occasions did the English hooker* succeed. Of course, their backs prac-, tically did a perish. It should be stat-j ed in this connection that the Wellington team was evidently determined to make it warm for its opponents m thas direction, and the biff and dash, wrtlr which the forwards put their heads, down, for the first scrum of the game made it appear that they fully reaUsed the importance of getting the first push, on. On the day's play tne Wellington, combination gave a/powerful impression of its proficiency in' this most important department of the game. If Captain. Harding had been with his team ha Avould probably have made some diversion to counteract the Wellington superiority in the organised pack, but, aA it happened, the English skipper was on the touch-line suffering from a strained tendon of the foot, and will not be able to take an active part i« the proceedings of the tour until Saturday week at the earliest. There is really only one strategic move to play on the present visiting combination, and that is to attack it with horse! foot and guns in loose forward play. About this the energetic wearers of tha black jersey made no mistake. Whatever chance, occurred, even if it lasted only for a microscopic fraction of a second, and that is all that most chances in football do last, they were on it to a man. Their following up and their wild — almost too dangerous — boot play were mighty features in the proceedings. " Feet ! Feet 1 Use your feet, England !" yelled a disengaged Englishman from the touch-line, and he was right. If the English feet .had been as proficient and as valiantly careless as xthe local feet the result of the game might have been another story altogether. The truth appears to be that the average vjkiting forward does not have the quick sighting of the average New Zealander, and he occasionally stops to calculate whether in lashing uut at the ball he might or might not hurt an opponent. As to the Wellington forward, he never stops to think about an opponent at all. He makes for the ball regardless of all consequences. Whether this is the spirit in which football should be played is another question, and susceptible of much argument. It will become, indeed it is fast becoming, a burning question in newspaper comment and Rugby Union proceedings. There is a sense of consideration for consequences about the visitors which it is impossible not to admire, while on the New Zealand side of the discussion the dash, vim ana vigour as shown yesterday is not without its element of sterling worth. Into all this also the question of condition enters largely. It is less than a fortnight since the Englishmen landed on the Athenic, and it would be stupid to suppose that they are ..really fit so soon. The programme returned the average weight of the Wellington forwards as averaging a shade under 13st. The visitors' weight was not scheduled, but comparing them with the slim, cleancut Wellingtonians they, looked a shade . on the beefy side. Probably then traiuer, Mr Leslie, may be depended on to accomplish what he says he will do — bring the visiting combination up in good heart and condition for the first test match in Dunedin. Coming to individuals, it is difficult to particularise who bore the heat and burden of a truly homeric struggle, but Rush, Dewar, Harding and Cracroft Wilson (Wellington), and J. F. Williams, Oldbam, Kyrke and Ritson cannot be very wide of the mark". Hardham's showing at wing forward is the best he has given for a long time, ifhere were moments when he was magnificent. Amoug tn» backs it is hardly possible to contemplate the neat and effective Wellington rearguard and the long line of visiting fliers without some feeling of enthusiasm. The question of the speed of the English three-quarter line must forcibly suggest itself to the minds of those who have witnessed the matches of the tour played to date, but there are timea when one cannot resist the conclusion that the visitmg backs lose way by faulty manipulation. The neat underhand pass of the Wellington bad*
stands out in sharp distinction _to the high, unaggressive "lob" v/hicn frequently disfigures or ruins the visitors Massing rushes. All the same, each mosnent of the match when the visiting tacks were let loose was a moment ol thrilling interest, and though the vast fcrowd which looked on was not at all Unsportsmanlike a painful hush tell over them whenever Gibbs or I onty Jones and Co. were observed to be fairly under way. Also, as an interesting tost of speed both Ponty Jones and Gibbs on two separate occasions overhauled the speedy Thomson, though not with a great deal to spare. As a setDff against this Thomson left the whole Bold standing in the second spell when he got the ball about the quarter distance, and outstripping all-comers raced over near the corner flag, and then achieved a touch-down behind the posts. Of individuals on the Wellington side Green, the scrum half, was undoubtedly the hero. He was here, there and everywhere, and the first score against England, just a few minutes after the came began, was due to his insight m spotting what was wanted and sailing Straight into the middle of things. He •*as suddenly and surely upended by Jackett, but by that time the ball had sped on to Roberts, and the English defence had been surely pierced. ¥Bon was a failure, while to Mitchinson and Wallace not too much work came, though both played in pretty style. .Wallace, of course, has played many better games. Spencer, at full-back, jtras only so-so, and his claim to mclufeion in the team was a very warm subject hotly discussed by numerous gos*ipy groups along liambton Quay on Wednesday evening. Summing up in its critique of the Masterton match the "New Zealand Times" r^rnnedU&rding and Co. a* better stuff than BedellBivwrieht's team. This conclusion was jiot nullified by yesterday's proceedings. If any of the provincial teams elect to hold them cheap they will be speedily undeceived, but it seems fairly evident that the visitors cannot stand up to a representative New Zealand combination. Whatever happens they are sure to make friends everywhere, tor a cleaner, whiter lot of sports could Scarcely be conceived.
The Anglo- Welsh team arrived from 'Wellington by the Maori this morning, tend were met by the president of the Rn^by Union, Mr A. E. G. Rhodes, the vice-president, Mr G. H. Mason- and the honorary secretary. Mr W. Cx. i*arxard. The team journeyed up to Christchurch. and left by the first express for Dunedin. Mr G. Thompson, 6 member of the Dunedin Management Committee, took charge of the team, fend will return with it to Christchurch fen June 10. The British team are expected to arfrive in Timaru on the afternoon of Monday, June 8, and the South Canterbury Rugby Union has arranged to fllive them to Pareora East and show them over the Canterbury Meat Co. s •works there. A basket social will be given as a welcome to the team on Tuesday evening, and the match with £outh Canterbury will be played next Jday. It will be preceded by the annual match between the primary schools of South Canterbury and North Otago, land will commence at 2.45 p.m., two spells of forty-five minutes to be played. As the Canterbury Union cannot send '» representative team to Timaru on Jane 4, the southern Union's selectors Jiave been instructed to pick a second ►team to meet their first selection. ( Those who view the Anglo-Welsh footballers at close quarters to-day, Bays the " Dominion," will notice that their features and limbs have a highlyjpolished appearance. This is not due to any Deauty preparation, but is pimply the result of liberal coatings of .vaseline, which the visitors use as a preventive to any possible inflamma.tion ot suppuration of wounds, which Otherwise would b© exposed to the cold Precautions of this nature are much more necessary in the cold climate «xf Britain than in New Zealand. Several Wairarapa lady enthusiasts who 'twere much disappointed in the defeat ;»f the countrymen last Saturday at iMasterton stated that the visitors took an unfair advantage by smearing themselves with vaseline so that they could ,Jnot be collared. Preparations of some ifcort or other are very popular amongst many football teams. For instance, fjru, the well-known Canterbury giant, 'price introduced bird-lime amongst back blayers, so that the ball could ©tick to jtheir hands on a wet day. This stuff proved too sticky <m numberless occasions, when a three-quarter was observed streaking for the line, and with te, look of horror on his face because he teould not get rid of the leather, which Was hanging to his digits as if mag■inetised! Resin also was 'at one tinu sverv commonly U6ed for rubbing on the liands when the ball was slippery. Ellison, who was a genius in many ways, jipinned his faith on these occasions to white kid doves, which were never found to slip against a wet surface. Another practice amongst footballers is tehewing some sort of substance, chewing gum or gutta-percha, in order to (keep the mouth closed as much as possible. This device has been proved ttf ft»e successful in many ways. Then (again there are players who believe m '.creasing the soles of their boots so that the mud will not stick to them on a jmuddy ground.
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FOOTBALL., Star, Issue 9247, 28 May 1908
FOOTBALL. Star, Issue 9247, 28 May 1908
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