September 8 1886

CANTERBURY WIN IN THE WIND

The 1886 New South Wales team was finding the going tough in New Zealand, and their fifth match, against Canterbury on a windy Lancaster Park, was no different.

George Helmore, Canterbury captain
.

On Wednesday, 8 September, the visitors lined up against Canterbury on Lancaster Park in unpleasant, windy conditions Despite recent rain, the ground. was in fairly good order, though one corner remained muddy. The tourists won the toss and Caird decided to take advantage of the strong easterly in the first half. A good attendance of 3000 braved the blustery weather to see Bean kick off.

The visitors made poor use of the wind advantage and it was soon.apparent that the Canterbury forwards were going to be far too strong. In the early stages of the match play was confined mostly to the two packs, and from a scrum near the New South Welshmen’s posts Bean secured a try. He then took the kick at goal but the strong wind prevented the ball going anywhere near the posts.

Shortly afterwards, another determined Canterbury forward rush carried the ball to the visitors’ line, where Homer secured the touchdown. Bean’s kick took the ball further away from the posts than his first one had.

Henry Wilson, Canterbury fullback.

For the balance of the spell the visitors played with greater resolve, but to no avail, and halftime arrived with them still trailing 0-4.

Canterbury pressed even harder in the second half, but succeeded in adding only one further try. This came after Weaver and Colquhoun ran the ball back towards their own line, where they were collared. Fookes burst through the resulting scrum to score an unconverted try: Harden then went close to scoring, and Francis squandered an opportunity to land a dropped goal when his kick failed to rise. In the final minutes of the match the New South Wales team earned applause for some fine periods of play. On one  occasion Walker ran the ball from his own goal-line to the Canterbury 25. Unfortunately his pass went to an opponent and a great chance was lost.

Near the end Webb, the l7-year-old Canterbury wing, was shifted back to fullback and attempted a dropkick at goal which went close. The wind had spoiled the match as a spectacle with most play confined to the forwards. Whenever the visitors had tried to run the ball their passing went astray.

“The Visitors” R H Chester & N A C McMillan, Moa Publications, pub. 1990 p.24.