Spotlight On Sport

G. St. C. Scotter
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Looking Over The Tour.

The first thing that strikes one on looking back at the tour of the Trinidad side in Jamaica is what an exceptional success it has been from every point of view.

Financially I can say for certain that the J.F.A. has not lost any money over it—and that is decidedly satisfactory when one considers that the expenses were very formidable and that times in the Island to-day are pretty hard owing to recent hurricanes and also that most of the people's spare money has gone toward the big effort in aid of the Silver Jubilee Memorial Fund.

From a football point of view all the games have been excellent—out visitors have won, and deserved to win, in the Colony series, but all the matches have been closely fought and packed with thrills from beginning to end, and no footer fan can ask more than that.

From a point of view of sportsmanship the standard of our visitors is the highest ever seen from any team of any sort that has ever visited this Island; while the Jamaica sides themselves in the colony games played equally clean football.

From a social aspect too the visit had been an unqualified success, these cheery lads from the Isle of the Humming Bird having made firm friends here wherever they went.

So that there is nothing whatever to great over the tour—we can't even regret that Jamaica lost, for no side ever minds being beaten by better play in a clean game—and the Jamaica Football Association are to be heartily congratulated on having taken a big risk, and made a big success of it, no less that are the visiting side whose keenness, sportsmanship, and clever play, have been largely responsible for that success.

Summaries Of Play.

Here are the summaries of the matches played in Kingston (Montego Bay is not to hand as I write this).

Vs. Combined Schools: Trinidad won 5—0, Alkins 2, Sutherland 3.
Vs. Sherwood Foresters, Draw 2 all: Al Henderson 2, Stevenson 2.
Vs. All Jamaica 1st match. Trinidad won 3—2: Payne 2, L. Henderson 1, Parke, DaCosta.
Vs. Kingston Club. Kingston won 1 nil. Sasso.
Vs. All Jamaica 2nd match. Trinidad won 1 nil. Alkins.
Vs. St. George's Old Boys, St. George won 2 nil. DeLeon, Byfield.
Vs. All Jamaica 3rd match. Trinidad won 2—1. Sutherland 2, Sasso.

So that out of seven matches played Trinidad won 4, lost 2, and drew 1, winning all three Colony matches.

Goal scorers in the series were as follows: Trinidad. Sutherland 5, Alkins 3, L. Henderson 3, Payne 2.
Jamaica and Clubs. Sasso 2, Stevenson 2, DeLeon, Byfield, Parke, DaCosta one each.

A curious feature of the play in Kingston has been that, while Trinidad side won (and won fairly decisively, in spite of ther being only a one goal margin each time) in each of the inter-colony matches, they could not win a single Club match (I do not count the Schools' as a Club game) drawing with the Foresters, and losing to both Kingston and St. George's. This was partly due to the fact that Club teams, especially in Jamaica, always combine together better than any All Jamaica side; but even more to the fact that Trinidad in all the Club games did not put out their best side, rightly reserving it for the Colony matches.

They did not play Maynard and Tench against either Kingston or St. George's, and these two are a big force in the defence; Ambard also stood down against the Soldiers, L. Henderson against Kingston, and Merry against St. George's—all these were good men, whose loss made a considerable difference to the side.

The Trinidad Team.

Of all the matches in the series the visitors showed their best form in the last match against Jamaica—in the others they were excellent, but in this one they were brilliant—a very find example of the sporting way they look at things for they might well have taken it somewhat easy in this game, having already won the series.

Perhaps their worst form was against St. George's—here they were without both Maynard and Merry, and while Jones and Galt substituted well, nevertheless the difference at full back was severely felt; while the forward line too for once failed to function with its usual pace and persistence.

This match provides a good example of my contention that, fine as Trinidad's defence is, the true strength of the side lies in the forward line. In this match, with the forward line not functioning well, Trinidad were comparatively innocuous; while in all the Jamaica games, with Trinidad's defence at its best, Jamaica had many more chances to score than did Trinidad, and it was only the pace, persistence, and accuracy of the attack that pulled the visitors through.

Of the forward line Sutherland is perhaps the best of a very good lot—no better than Alkins for ball control and speed, not as good a shot as L. Henderson for combination of all three qualities he is a shade ahead of the other two.

The two regular wingers, Burnett and Payne are both good workers and centre splendidly, these accurate, well placed centres being a big factor in the line's success. Almost equally good is Thompson, who alternated with Payne.

Of the half line Tench is outstanding, a really brilliant attacking centre half, though no quite so good when on the defensive—Wilkinson, the skipper was equally good in defence and attack, as was B. Henderson and both were first class workers.

Maynard Outstanding At Back.

Maynard was outstanding at full back, as was Tench at centre half—he had his best day, in the 3rd Colony match, but luckily for the [illegible] Merry's best day, and he carried the lion's share of the [illegible] in grand style.

Ambard was brilliant in goal in every match he played in, and may be said not to have made a mistake throughout the tour.

The team was [illegible] at all times by Wilkinson, a man both of tact and [illegible] thoroughly [illegible]ing the popularity and confidence he [illegible].

And What of Jamaica.

From time to time I have criticised the Selection Committee in this column; now that the series is over let me say how thoroughly I appreciate the futility of the task before them.

The defence was [illegible] difficult problem, with the exception of the centre half position, which was eventually solved satisfactorily by putting Scott of Monro there, even though he did blow up badly in the second half. But it was the forward line which was the continual problem. At the present time Jamaica possesses half a dozen forwards all fine individualists, as they showed abundantly by the number of opportunities they got; but all totally different in style, and hardly likely ever to make a real combination however often you play them together.

A further problem was the fact that, in common with the majority of Jamaica forwards for several seasons now, they lacked consistent shooting power.

Under these circumstances what was it best to do? Try for combination at the expense of individual ability? or pack your line with shooting power, (such as was available) and individualism, and hope for the best? The latter course was the better, and so the selectors eventually decided in the last game. Even in this they were unlucky in not being able to get McKenzie, whose presence might just have turned the scale.

If they could have picked this last line right from the start, and stuck to it, we might have won—but I agree it would have been an extremely difficult and hazardous experiment.

Groves proves a triumphant success in goal, a worthy successor to Clarence Passailaigue; Hadden remains our best full back, and the great "discovery" of the tour was Wylie Lopez. I regret that Ron Sturdy was not give a chance, either for the Kingston Club or All-Jamaica—a forward of his outstanding ability should certainly have been tried.

Why We Lost.

To sum of briefly why Jamaica lost in the series:—

(1) Superior pace and condition of the Trinidad forwards, which in every match outran the Jamaica side.
(2) Better ball control and more consistent shooting power of the Trinidad forwards.
(3) Inability to take advantage of their opportunities on the part of the Jamaica line.
(4) Difficulties of selection which prevented the Jamaica side ever really shaking down together.