February 2 1946

Fullbacks score as “Kiwis” win in Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The NZEF “Kiwis” were relatively untroubled to beat Northern Counties 25 – 8 in the rain at Newcastle-on-Tyne. A feature of the match was that both fullbacks scored tries (try scoring fullbacks were a rarity in the 1940s) and that both were New Zealanders. Herb Cook did the honours for the “Kiwis” and Dr Brian “Tom” Ritchie, ex Timaru, for the Counties.

Herb Cook - Try scoring fullback

“20th Match
v. Northern Counties,—at the County Ground, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The Northern Counties team was comprised of players from Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland and Westmorland. At full-back for the Counties was Dr. Brian (“Tom”) Ritchie, late of Timaru. The County Ground, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, had been converted into a “dog-track” for greyhound racing, and the stands were a mass of girders and electric lights. The field bad been covered with straw, and as it rained throughout the match, things became a bit muddy.

Boggs had hard luck in not scoring after nine minutes, following another of his productive “kick and run hard, and kick agaln” efforts. From a line-out he had the experience of being brought back to his own twenty-five for a. line-out after the Referee had awarded him the try. This’ was a case of “the Referee’s dream;’’ for having awarded the try, the Referee’s attention was drawn to the touch-judge still having his flag up. But instead of the Referee going to the touch-judge and enquiring why he still had his flag raised, he ordered the players back for the line-out, and did not go near the touch-judge at all. Just a point worth remembering, in case any of you who take up refereeing should ever be in a like position!!

The Counties scored first, after 26 minutes of play, when, following a dropped pass by the Counties, the Navy player, Peel, dribbled over for a try, which Ritchie converted (0-5).

Cook opened the “Kiwi” scoring with a difficult penalty (3-5).

The New Zealand forwards were playing a very loose game, and Saxton was having a torrid time. He rallied them though, and then in two minutes came two tries. First, Simpson forced his way over following a line-out, and then Saxton sent Thornton over, following a ruck on the open side. Cook converted Thornton’s try, and the score was 11-5 at half-time.

Five minutes after the second half started, Young scored one of his great individual tries. He picked up the ball as it dribbled from a loose ruck, half-way between the Counties’ twenty-five and half-way. Running hard straight up the centre he fended off man after man and scored between the posts. It was a grand try, and Cook missed a ‘‘sitter” (14-5). Meates’ turn next; receiving in an orthodox back movement on the Counties’ 10-yard mark, he raced. through a gap and scored 15 yards from the corner. Cook’s kick missed (17-5).

The Counties next scored: a back movement seemed likely to break down, when Ritchie joined in on the wing and raced across in the corner. He missed the kick (17-8).

Meates beat his opposite number again to send Boggs away on a strong run; the winger scored in the corner. Cook kicked a lovely goal to make the score 22-8.

Right on time Cook surprised the opposition by joining in a back movement. He went through very fast and scored 15 yards from the corner, but could not kick the goal. The final score was 25-8, we having seen the unusual, sight of both full-backs scoring a try—in the rain!”

The teams.

From “Broadcasting with the Kiwis” by Winston McCarthy. Pub. By Sporting Publications 1947. P. 69-70.