November 18 1926

Maori play well, in parts.

New Zealand Maori drew 6 all with East Midlands in an entertaining game at Northampton. But with better finishing they could have scored four more tries and come away with a decisive win.

 

Albert Falwasser - good runs.

“A Draw With East Midlands Tries Thrown Away

The Maoris drew with East Midland Counties — a match which they should have won comfortably. As in previous games over-eagerness played a big part in robbing them of victory, but on four occasions certain tries were thrown away by badly timed passes at the final moment.

On one occasion Haupapa scored what appeared from the Press Box to be quite a good try. but the referee ruled that the pass which he gathered from Falwasser was forward. Actually each team scored two tries, none of which were converted. The New Zealanders today played one of their best games to date as a combination, the backs especially working wonderfully well together, but they so often show bad judgment at the critical point. One moment their play is brilliant and the next they are playing like beginners. The game, which was very fast throughout, was always interesting, both sides throwing the ball about freely. The Northampton County Ground was in surprisingly good condition in view of the fact that there had been four days’ rain prior to the match. The attendance was about 7,000.

Form of the Players
Phillips re-appeared in the position which he filled during the French tour, that of full-back. He was today a combination of brilliance and uncertainty. In the early stages he badly judged a ball which went through his legs, and almost gave East Midlands a score, while his fielding was at times faulty. As the game progressed he improved greatly, some of his fielding, kicking and running being brilliant. Pelham again appeared as a centre threequarter, and showed best several times in extricating his side from dangerous situations. He worked hard all through, but lost his side three tries by badly timing his passes when Falwasser would have had a clear run in. This is hard to understand, and is probably due to anxiety to make sure of the try. Falwasser had more chances today, and made a number of good runs, but he plays blindly when cornered. Since his magnificent try against Somerset he has developed a penchant for going into the crowd. Lockwood is not up to the standard of the other threequarters, but plays a keen game, and showed good judgment when he initiated the movement which gave the Maoris their second try. Bell played a solid, unselfish game, and opened up to his threequarters many times. Kingi also played an unselfish game and varied his play occasionally with a well-directed short punt and follow up. Love, like Lockwood, is always keen, and was smarter today in getting the ball away. He is a solid player on the heavy grounds also, but will never make a first-class half-back, It is hardly fair to sort out any of the forwards for special mention as they all worked hard. The East Midlands team was fairly strong all round, the forwards especially being a fine lot. The leaders of the vanguard were Webb and Coley. In the back division the full-back and scrum half played well. The referee was Mr J. Hughes of London. Some of his rulings were hard to follow, and he also showed inconsistency in his decisions.

The teams were as follows:
Maoris: Full-back, H. Phillips; threequarters, A. Falwasser, D. Pelham, W. Lockwood; five-eighths, H. Kingi, R. J. Bell (captain); half, E.T. W. Love; wing-forward, P. Haupapa; forwards, 0. Olsen, T. Dennis, W. Rika, S. Gemmell, D. Tatana, W. Wilson, and J. Manihera.

East Midland Counties: Full-back, R. Vaughan (Northampton); threequarters, L. A. R. Fensome (Bedford), L. Mayes (Northampton), F. Birch (Northampton), E. E. Haselmere (Northampton); halves, R. Jones (Northampton), J. Millward (Northampton); forwards, A.E. Luck (Northampton) (captain), T. Harris (Northampton), R. Webb (Northampton), E. Fidgett (Northampton), J. B. Merry (Northampton), E. Coley (Northampton), N. B. Larby (Bedford), J. C. Binyon (Bedford).
R. Webb has represented England, while R. Jones has played for Wales.

The Maoris did not give their war-cry today, and a good line kick soon put East Midlands on attack. Coley led the forwards to the line, but Bell gathered and punted, but his kick lacked power, Vaughan returning to touch in the corner. A good passing movement by the home backs beat the Maori defence. Fensome missed his pass and lost the try. Bell then made a good run, but Pelham knocked on, and ragged play in favour of the New Zealanders followed. Soon after, however, a passing movement reached Birch who short punted. The ball went through Phillips’s legs, enabling Birch to kick ahead over the line. Pelham and Falwasser outpaced him, however, the former forcing. Soon after Phillips was forced to mark almost on his line, and then Pelham saved a dangerous situation by picking up and finding touch well up. A free kick put the Maoris in an attacking position, and passing by Kingi, Bell and Pelham enabled the latter to make a great run. He beat four men and passed to Haupapa, who was smothered close to the line. A good run by Bell followed, and he passed to Pelham, to Lockwood, for the wing to score the first try. Pelham missed the kick, and the Maoris had a lead of three points. A period of fast, scrappy play in the Maori twenty-five followed, but a great kick by Phillips relieved. Bell than sent Falwasser away, the “star” making one of his swerving runs, but this pass to Love was forward. Almost immediately a Maori attack broke down, and in a moment East Midlands were away with the ball at toe. Fensome dribbled half the length of the field and beat Lockwood and Pelham for the touch down. It was a great try. Maoris 3, East Midlands 3.

Three frees against the Maoris put the home team in a dangerous position, but Pelham again saved an ugly situation. Phillips forced, and then the ball passed through Jones and Mayes to Birch. This player cut in brilliantly behind the Maori defence, and scored a great try, to the great delight of the crowd. Vaughan’s kick was a good one, but the spontaneous “hurrah” from the spectators was changed into “Oh” as the ball hit the post and bounced back. Soon after Phillips had a shot from a penalty, and half-time sounded with the score. East Midlands 6, Maoris 3.

On resumption an exchange of kicks favoured the Maoris, and Kingi got through for Haupapa to touch down, but the referee ruled that the pass was forward. A free to the Maoris followed close to the line, and an attempt to exploit the short kick which had been seen in the Oxford University v. Newport game, was messed up through two players wanting the ball. East Midlands made an excursion into Maori territory, but the black forwards forced them back. A great run by Pelham, Haupapa and Falwasser was spoilt by a forward pass, and then East Midlands were obliged to force. A passing bout all along the line reached Falwasser, and Pelham came round but was tackled near the line. Phillips followed with a 50-yards’ run from full-back, but the counties’ forwards took play right back by short passing and dribbling, but the ball was kicked into touch-in-goal. The Maoris took a hand in passing again, but Pelham badly timed his pass to Falwasser when a try looked certain, while mistakes spoilt further chances. Love forced his way through a scrum, but a long punt by East Midlands went well behind Phillips. Falwasser ran back however, and saved to touch, and then another passing bout resulted in Pelham being forced out. Then the ball was shot across at express speed to Falwasser but he went into the crowd. The Maoris continued to have the upper hand, but two certain tries were lost in as many minutes by badly-timed passes. However shortly before time East Midlands again punted well behind Phillips, but Lockwood ran back to his twenty-five and picked up the ball, and, running across field, sent his backs away. It was too dark to distinguish the players, but, after covering threequarters the length of the field, the Maoris added to their score, Falwasser touching down for a great try. Peiham again failed with the kick, and the final whistle sounded with the Maoris attacking, and the score Maoris 6, East Midlands 6. over the line. Pelham and Falwasser outpaced him, however, the former forcing. Soon after Phillips was forced to mark almost on his line, and then Pelham saved a dangerous situation by picking up and finding touch well up. A free kick put the Maoris in an attacking position, and passing by Kingi, Bell and Pelham enabled the latter to make a great run. He beat four men and passed to Haupapa, who was smothered close to the line. A good run by Bell followed, and he passed to Pelham, to Lockwood, for the wing to score the first try. Pelham missed the kick, and the Maoris had a lead of three points. A period of fast, scrappy play in the Maori twenty-five followed, but a great kick by Phillips relieved. Bell than sent Falwasser away, the “star” making one of his swerving runs, but this pass to Love was forward. Almost immediately a Maori attack broke down, and in a moment East Midlands were away with the ball at toe. Fensome dribbled half the length of the field and beat Lockwood and Pelham for the touch down. It was a great try. Maoris 3, East Midlands 3.

Three frees against the Maoris put the home team in a dangerous position, but Pelham again saved an ugly situation. Phillips forced, and then the ball passed through Jones and Mayes to Birch. This player cut in brilliantly behind the Maori defence, and scored a great try, to the great delight of the crowd. Vaughan’s kick was a good one, but the spontaneous “hurrah” from the spectators was changed into “Oh” as the ball hit the post and bounced back. Soon after Phillips had a shot from a penalty, and half-time sounded with the score. East Midlands 6, Maoris 3.

On resumption an exchange of kicks favoured the Maoris, and Kingi got through for Haupapa to touch down, but the referee ruled that the pass was forward. A free to the Maoris followed close to the line, and an attempt to exploit the short kick which had been seen in the Oxford University v. Newport game, was messed up through two players wanting the ball. East Midlands made an excursion into Maori territory, but the black forwards forced them back. A great run by Pelham, Haupapa and Falwasser was spoilt by a forward pass, and then East Midlands were obliged to force. A passing bout all along the line reached Falwasser, and Pelham came round but was tackled near the line. Phillips followed with a 50-yards’ run from full-back, but the counties’ forwards took play right back by short passing and dribbling, but the ball was kicked into touch-in-goal. The Maoris took a hand in passing again, but Pelham badly timed his pass to Falwasser when a try looked certain, while mistakes spoilt further chances. Love forced his way through a scrum, but a long punt by East Midlands went well behind Phillips. Falwasser ran back however, and saved to touch, and then another passing bout resulted in Pelham being forced out. Then the ball was shot across at express speed to Falwasser but he went into the crowd. The Maoris continued to have the upper hand, but two certain tries were lost in as many minutes by badly-timed passes. However shortly before time East Midlands again punted well behind Phillips, but Lockwood ran back to his twenty-five and picked up the ball, and, running across field, sent his backs away. It was too dark to distinguish the players, but, after covering threequarters the length of the field, the Maoris added to their score, Falwasser touching down for a great try. Peiham again failed with the kick, and the final whistle sounded with the Maoris attacking, and the score Maoris 6, East Midlands 6.”

Wampy Bell - Maori captain.

From “Maori Rugby 1884-1979” by Arthur H Carman. Pub. 1980 by Sporting Publications. P. 209-211.