First Intercolonial Footer Match To-day

Ken Hill
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Sabina Park Scene Of Historic Battle Between Jamaica And Trinidad
Result Discussed
Ken Hill Praises Visitors, But Predicts Jamaica Won't Be Beaten

THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF SPECULATION in football circles as to the ultimate outcome of the series of matches to be played between Trinidad and ourselves.

The first of these "test" matches comes off to-day at Sabina Park where on two successive afternoons the visitors have demonstrated beyond doubt that they are possessed of at least two telling qualities which contribute largely to the success in the field. Those qualities are pace and pluck. But may I venture to suggest that pace and pluck alone won't beat Jamaica?

From the moment the equalising goal was scored against the Sherwood Foresters, public opinion veered from the direction toward which it tended on Christmas day after the visitors' performace against the Schools.

Now, the Bets Are Even. Now, there are as many people in Kingston and St. Andrew likely to wager that Trinidad will carry home the bacon, as there are enthusiasts who feel sure that they will leave Sabina Park this afternoon happy in the knowledge that with all their pace and pluck and sportsmanship, among other things, Trinidad are not better than we are at the grand old winter game.

Those of us who were disposed on Wednesday evening to think lightly of the invaders' chances against a representative and even a leading club side were compelled to alter our views in the light of what took place the following night.

True enough, indeed, the wet, slippery ball and sodden turf, in the second half, militated against the Foresters' short-passing tactics, true enough their W-formation plan was disorganized because ball-control was rendered extremely difficult by the adverse weather conditions obtaining, but there can be little doubt that it was Trinidad's superior Speed And Endurance that saved them from what appeared to be certain defeat and gave them the equalising goal but a few short minutes before full-time came.

To see Trinidad play that afternoon was to recollect St. George's of 'die-hard' fame. And in local football circles that is undoubtedly one of the greatest compliments which it is possible to pay to any team.

I agree with the opinion expressed that in technique, the visitors resemble us most closely. Theirs is practically the same type of football as ours. They may be able to shoot better than we do, but we certainly can head a good deal better than they. In all other respects, speed and endurance not excepted, we are in the same street. As a team, however, they should show more combination than we, but Trinidad might as well know now that to-day their forwards will be opposed to a defence much stronger and by far more balanced than they have so far played in the series. We can never be justifiably confident of the performance of our forwards; they are more or less an unknown quantity. But there is a fund of individual effort and resource to be found invariably in Our Front Line, and when they are in good form, it will take a whole lot to beat them back. Each man by himself will be a source of danger and worry to the strongest defence, so that they can compensate for what they may lack in team work by individual skill and experience of high order.

I have nothing but admiration for our guests from Trinidad. I have the greatest respect for opinion to the contrary but it is my considered opinion that, if our boys play up to expectation, Trinidad will have to play very much better than they have yet played to defeat Jamaica.

It is a fact that they were without three of their best men against the soldiers. But who will reasonably deny that they should have lost the match? In whose favour was the balance of play up to about mid-way through the second half?

Jamaica looks to her boys to maintain her reputation today.

I wish both sides the best of luck.

I say: 'May the better side win!'

But may I also say: 'Let Trinidad look to her laurels'?