Captain Of Touring Trinidad Football Team Says Au Revoir

Ken Hill
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Praises Hospitality Of Jamaicans & Sporting Spirit Of Their Opponents.
Hopes Jamaica Will Be Invited Soon To Trinidad To Try Conclusions.

THIS IS WHAT the Captain of the Trinidad Football Team, Mr. A. Wilkinson, had to say to me about the tour just ended. The interview speaks for itself so it will be sufficient for me merely to preface it with the sincere wish that somewhere and some other time Jamaica will again have the pleasure of meeting Trinidad on the field and that Mr. Wilkinson will again lead his merry men.

Many moons ago," he said, "the J.F.A. cast its bread upon the waters in the form of an invitation to the T.A.F.A. to send a football team to tour Jamaica. Now that the tour is 'fait accompli,' it is to be hoped that they have at any rate derived some crumbs of comfort from it. Speaking from the point of view of goals for and against, that might not be so obvious, but when one takes the broader point of view there can be no doubt to my mind but that the tour has been a success.

"The benefit derived from a game is not to be measured in figures, whether they represent goals or gate receipts; it is the spirit of the game, sportsmanship and team spirit which count most of all and these factors, as revealed in this tournament will, I think, still live when the goals and gate receipts have become mere statistics.

"As regards the Trinidad team, the esprit de corps which has been so essential a feature of their life both on and off the field has been most gratifying. As some of us hardly knew each other before leaving Trinidad this has been especially noticeable. It is as impossible to play fifteen men in a team of eleven as it is to get a quart into a pint bottle—so that four of our players have had to stand down in every match; in some cases, this rest was acceptable in view of injuries, but in others it meant, inevitably, have to stand down from an important game.


"I am glad to say that at all times those who have perforce been left in the pavilion have been more elated at the good fortune and more dejected at the reverses of the team than even those on the field. That spirit of camaraderie has been exceptionally helpful especially in the latter half of several game: a losing side often has one to two individuals who are outstanding and there is a tendancy for such players to indulge in individual dashes which often prove abortive.

"It was the manner in which the Trinidad forwards passed from one to another in rapid succession which, in my opinion, over ran the Jamaica defence in the second half of the last Colony match. By that, I do not mean that Trinidad was necessarily in better condition that Jamaica. A team urged on by success can perform prodigies; witness the brilliant performance by St. George's particularly after their first goal in the club match; but at the same time there is nothing more exhausting than abortive dashes at a forward who immediately passes the ball to his comrade and runs to a position for a return pass.

"No man objects to running 40 yards for a ball and if he gets there in time to rob his opponent, the wine of success is sufficient to imbue him with further energy; but when that effort is unavailing, it is sufficient to daunt even the most courageous. I do feel that the Trinidad players had a big advantage in the understanding of each other, and most attribute a good deal of their success to that. Whilst dealing with that point, I must add my quota of appreciation of them to the congratulations already showered upon them unstintingly, and frequently by Jamaica sportsmen.

"For some years now, I have had the pleasure and privilege of captaining Trinidad at home and abroad, and of meeting other Intercolonial teams and I have no hesitation in saying that no captain even had a happier team under him. The spirit of willingness, and co-operation and self-sacrifice in the interests of the team has been such that my own task has been a comparatively simple one, rendered all the more simple by the splendid encouragement given to our efforts by the Jamaica crowd whenever we were in dire straits.


"It would be unfair to me to mention the performance of individuals on the Jamaica sides—if only because there were several changes both in positions and in personnel. Two incidents do stand out however; nobody could forget Passailaigue's shot which won the Kingston match, or Groves' brilliant save from L. Henderson in the third colony match. There were evidently so many people to choose from that the Selection Committee had no easy task.

"The refereeing has, I think, been very good indeed. We only had the opportunity of seeing two referees in action and Mr. Hanna took by far the larger part of the games. He did so readily and on one occasion at a very short notice. In spite of the amount of work he had to do, he always maintained a very high standard. The linesmen, too, who so seldom receive any recognition, have performed splendidly.

"Leaving the actual field of play for a moment, we must commend the spectators and the Jamaica public at large. Many people, at what must have been great inconvenience to themselves at times, have put themselves out to be exceptionally kind and hospitable. We have been made to feel at home and perfectly comfortable, wherever we have been. Our hosts could not do too much for us; the memory of them will remain with us forever.

"Mr. Palmer as President of the J.F.A. has one everything in his power to make things pleasant for all of us and he and his Committee were of considerable help to us in arranging our trip to Colombia. Mr. DaCosta and Mr. Mordecai have been forever at our beck and call, and woe betide us if we wanted anything and did not inform them! Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Walker have been consistently calling at the Y.M.C.A. to see what they could do for us. Mr. Nethersole also deserves mention, as among other things, he and Mr. H. G. DeLeon, besides being lavish in other matters, taught one or two of us something of Bridge and the vocabulary thereof as current in Jamaica!


"Mr. Sasso and Mr. Lacy have been constant and boon companions. Mr. Herbert Plant left his
home to drive to Montego Bay at 5 minutes' notice. We are also grateful, to Mr. O. Williams and Mr. J. Smedmore for their kind assistance. And last but by no means least, our hosts Mr. and Mrs. Hallett of the Y.M.C.A. have been splendid in their tolerance and understanding of an exuberant and often over-energetic band of fellows, who on occasions dined at hours which must have been severe to their gastronomic powers and to our hosts' patience.

"To all of these and the many others who have made our stay so pleasant—very many thanks. It is our sincere wish that some day the opportunity will occur for us to show our appreciation in a more tangible form. I am sure that when we tell the story of our tour to Trinidad, they will want to invite Jamaica over there as early as possible.

"Our thanks are duly and gratefully extended to the Press. The reports of the matches have been generous and frank and must have done a lot to create interest in the games. Will they grant me a last favour—that of summing up the number of matches played by a few members of the team? In the case of B. Henderson and Alkins, 8 games out of 8; Merry, L. Henderson, Sutherland and Burnett, 7 out of 8. They have stood the brunt of the burden willingly and unflinchingly. We leave here for Colombia and if our stay there is half as agreeable and the games half as enjoyable as those here we shall have no cause for regret.

"We are not dissatisfied with the results of the tour. It would have been nice, of course, if we could have won the Club games but it was not worthwhile if it meant sacrificing the Colony matches. At the same time we do not mind the defeats in that the team ought to be able to lose as well as win without being unduly elated by victory or grudging in defeat. We would like to give a full measure of praise to the teams that beat us in the Club matches, and I am sure all the members of my team relish the opportunity of returning to Jamaica at some future date, either to play football or on holiday.

"We can appreciate the difficulty of the Jamaica Selection Committee in that there appeared to be so many players with claims to be included in the sides. We can quite believe that if Jamaica had been able to get together the players and if all the men had produced the best form at the same, they would have undoubtedly been a very strong combination."