Trinidad Football Team Now In Island

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Strong Combination From Sister Colony Reached Kingston Yesterday Morning After 11 Day Voyage From Port-of-Spain.
Visitors Full Of Confidence.
Determined to Force Jamaica to the Limit to Win.
Given Warm Welcome at Wharf and At Luncheon.
Practice in Afternoon.
First Match To-morrow.

Leaders Of The Trinidad Football InvasionLeaders Of The Trinidad Football Invasion: (Left) Mr. B. Tench (Vice-Cpat.), Mr. A. Alkinson (Capt.)

IF THE CHEERY AND SPORTING spirit of youth is any indication of success—and it generally is in most games, Captain Wilkinson and his merry lads from Trinidad are going to give Jamaica a hot time on the football field. They are a young, fit, and confident looking side; carrying the best defence Trinidad has ever had perhaps; while their attack is very fast and clever, its only disadvantage being that they have not had much chance yet of settling down together. In this respect the first couple of matches of the tour, against the Schools to-morrow, and the Sherwood Foresters on Thursday, will be invaluable experience for them. The team are all looking forward immensely to playing in Jamaica, and they have made considerable sacrifices, financial and otherwise in the most cheerful spirit in order to get here, including having to travel third class on the steamer.

Arrived Yesterday Morning.

The team arrived on the s.s. Colombia yesterday morning. They were met at Port Royal at 6 a.m. by Mr. W. J. Palmer, President of the J. F. A., Messrs. Campbell, Walker, Hadden, Leslie Mordecai and members of the Gleaner staff—but the party had to wait over two hours at Port Royal before they could get on board the ship owing to the Doctor not having cleared her—a delay which, in the case of a big tourist ship, one finds it difficult to understand.

The team experienced a certain amount of rough weather on the way out—but were in the highest of spirits. They played a match in Curacao on the way out, but the ground was in a very rough state and the side had to play very carefully as they did not wish to get any members injured, and consequently could not find much form.

What The Captain Says.

In an interview with the Gleaner on board yesterday morning Mr. Wilkinson, captain of the Trinidad side, who is Games Manager at Queens College, says:—

"Strong as the reputation of Jamaica football is, I can promise you we have brought over a side that will give a first class account of itself. One or two men were not able to make the trip, [illegible] for instance, but we have been able to get really good men in their places; and I have no hesitation in saying it is as strong a side as has ever left Trinidad. The defence in particular is perhaps the strongest the colony has ever had. We have a really first class half line—Tench will I expect be playing at centre half, but it shows the strength of the line that, should he not be in form any one of the other halves can occupy the centre position. The backs are also very good, and Ambard in goal is a creditable substitute for Grant. In the forward line we are relying essentially on youth and pace, some of our boys are still at College, others have only just left—and once this line gets well shaken down they will be in real scoring force.

In Trinidad.

We have not had quite as busy a season as usual at home owing to the inter-Colonial tournament having had to be temporarily abandoned as it was not a financial success last season with the admission of Barbados into it, who were not up to the standard of Demerara and Trinidad and consequently were no financial draw. We are now in process of revising the tournament so as to put it on its legs financially. We had international matches against Demerara and Venezuela, and were in each case successful in the series.

Venezuela played very fast and clever football of the professional type, but were a very excitable lot and difficult to deal with.

We have at present an invitation from Colombia for early next year, but I doubt whether we shall be able to accept it owing to the difficulty of men getting leave so soon after the Jamaica visit."

The team now in Jamaica it is interesting to note, could also put a very strong cricket side in the field, Wilkinson the Captain is the fastest bowler in Trinidad at present, and he has another fast bowler from one of the schools—Maynard, who made 200 against the M. C. C., and Merry the Trinidad and West Indian player, besides several others who are very good.

The members of the Trinidad team are: Messrs. A. Wilkinson (captain), B. Tench (vice-captain), J. Merry, H. J. Burnett, B. Jones, W. Payne, O. Wilkes, L. Henderson, A. Maynard, B. Thompson, B. Henderson, J. Alkins, D. Galt, F. Ambard and C. Sutherland.

B. Tench's Compliments.

Reference has already been made to the Vice Captain, B. Tench, of whom a good deal will be seen on the local grounds. They were all very glad to be in Jamaica, he said—after a more or less very pleasant voyage excepting the last day out, Sunday, which was very rough. As a matter of fact most of the fellows had had nothing to eat that day owing to the rolling and tossing of the ship. The effect of the rough seas as told to the pressman was not a bit surprising to him when he was informed that nine members of the team had never travelled before.

They embarked at Trinidad on the 12th inst. and had a pleasant run to La Guayra, and next to Porto Cabello. At neither of these places were they allowed to land, and it was a bit confining, considering that a day and a half was spent at the former, though, with no regrets about it, only a night at Porto Cabello. Next port of call was Curacao, which they found to be a very nice place, and thoroughly enjoyed their stay of about two days. Whilst there they played a representative team a football match, and were defeated 3-1. The ground was much different to what they were accustomed to—It was all gravel, nevertheless they enjoyed the game very much.

Puerto Colombia was the next port of call, and they made the best of their short stay. There was not enough time to arrange a game, but they hoped to pass that way again, and there was no telling what might be. The visit to Barranquilla also, was much enjoyed. Mr. Tench thinks the football ground there the best he has ever seen in the West Indian and Central American waters. Cartagena was this next port of call, and here again the time spent ashore was interesting. They had not time to arrange a match but it is almost certain that on the homeward trip they will be engaged there.

Next port of call was Cristobal, and two days were spent on the Isthmus. Nothing in the way of a game could be arranged in this area, and so they nosed off for Jamaica, where they are now loing forward to some very closely contested games.

And What Of The Team.

Which brought Mr. Tench to an expression of opinion on the team. The defence on the whole was very, very strong, he said—the forward line being about the weakest part of the side. They were hoping to pull through however, and if they did not actually win, he was sure they would not be beaten badly. They had much confidence in the goalkeeper, and would do their best to give him as little concern as possible.

The pressman regarded this as 'a silent toast' to the other ten players, of whom Mr. Tench himself will be a prominent figure. The impression gathered was that with all the degree of modesty Mr. Tench determined to display there could be no getting away from the fact that he felt the team, of which he was a unit, would be able to take care of itself. Which is just the sort of thing Jamaica footer fans will welcome. "The boys were all feeling fit," Mr. Tench said, as fit as when they embarked on their way to invade Jamaica's sporting hearts.

Naturally he enquired of the condition of our grounds here, and the method of play of our boys. The team were prepared for short sharp passing or long passing, according to the will of those who engaged them. In Curacao in particular it was noticeable that they did not rely on the speed of the players so much as the effect of short passing. Referring to some past achievements of the majority of the team now here, he said playing as a Club team in Trinidad they beat Curacao last year by 3 goals to nil. That game was played on grass, in Trinidad. The conditions here being similar, they were looking forward to closely contested games. A team made up for the most part of those now with us had also beaten Venezuela twice, in Trinidad, and also defeated Demerara last year. For the last seven years they Had Not Lost a representative game in Trinidad—and they did not intend to do so for a good time to come. As he had said before the forward line was about their only weakness now, but they were playing as a team, and not in sections, so that it would be a case of ''united we stand'' to give Jamaica a good treat.

The Landing

An appropriate gathering of footballers awaited the landing of the visiting players, and soon after the ship drew alongside the pier all went aboard and the Trinidadians were given tn enthusiastic welcome.

Each of the visiting players was in turn introduced to the local club representative present, and the final landing was a truly fraternal one.

The team appeared quite a happy and lively set of men, and from what the players had to say they all cherish the hope of spending a happy and pleasant time in Jamaica; and most of all, to do their very best for their island home in the series of matches which starts to-morrow afternoon.

An amusing feature of the landing of the Trinidadians was the humming of a song by several members of the team, the lines of which run thus:—

"Trinidad footballers Jamaicans tame,
If they want to learn the game,
Better come to Port-of-Spain"

Undoubtedly, they are most confident in themselves—of their ability to hold their own against Jamaica's strongest—and what they hope to do, as expressed by individual personnel of the line-up, will be seen from to-morrow's game against the Schools Combined.

The representatives of the various local clubs down at the pier to meet the visiting team were:— Messrs. A. McKenzie, J. Groves, Vin Sasso and Ken Hill (St. George's Old Boys), Frank McIntosh (Wembley), Milton Mclntosh, Huntley DaCosta and Alty Sasso (Kingston).

Other members of the Jamaica Football Association, apart from those who went down to meet the ship, at Port Royal, who met the visitors at the pier were: Rev. Fr. Leo Butler, S.J., Mr. G. M. DaCosta and Mr. Herbert McDonald. Others present were:—Mr. F. Barrow, Mr. Hiam Barrow, Mr. Joe Issa, Mr. H. V. Alexander, Mr. G. C. Foster, Mr. S. Ivan Logan and Mr. Landy deMontbrun.

What The Men Had To Say

As could very well have been expected, not having a glimpse of Kingston proper, or of the field—Sabina Park on which they will play all the matches of the tournament, the men had very little to say; and what they did say was said with much reserve.

The first man who was interviewed by a "Gleaner" reporter shortly after the landing of the team was Mr. Bertie Thompson of the one time famous Everton Club of Trinidad, but who now plays for the Prison Club of that Colony. Thompson is short and well built—every inch an athlete. He said: "I am happy to have made the team to Jamaica, and can assure you that I shall do my very best for my team. I had a fairly good trip out, and am feeling pretty fine even though travelling for so many days. I am looking forward to spending a happy time in Jamaica and with the people of whom I have heard so much about as a sporting lot."

Thompson, one of the younger members of the team, plays at inside left, but fits in well in any position on the forward line. He is at present Trinidad's middle distance running champion and has represented that Colony on many occasions in both track athletics and football.

FRANK AMBARD in the place of Grant who, unavoidably could not make the tour, will play between the "sticks" is from the Shamrock club. He has represented All-Trinidad against Curacao and Demerara playing in the capacity as goalie with credit and success. He said:—

"We had a jolly and happy time together coming to Jamaica, and being an old sailor at travelling, I enjoyed the trip immensely. We had, however a rough time travelling from Colon on to Jamaica, but otherwise the weather and sailing were calm. I need not say that the boys and myself are all happy to be in Jamaica, of which We have heard so much and we are confident, if not beating Jamaica, then at least drawing with her stars.

O. WILKES who is from the Queens Royal College team, and who also plays at left half, is perhaps one of the finest all-rounders of the team. Apart from his knowledge of Trinidad and inter-Colonial football, he has also the experience of seeing the game as it is played in England, having visited the mother country on two occasions. Besides representing Trinidad on several occasions in big games, inter-Colonial and otherwise, he has the distinction of being the old old skipper for both cricket and football of Queens Royal College in 1933, during which year the College's team, under his captaincy made the record and history in the school's sporting annals by winning the trophies for both games. He is also the winner of the "Krowlys" championship cup for athletics at College in 1933. He is, in addition, a fine middle distance runner, one who is considered, at present, in the front line of quarter milers of Trinidad.

"I am pleased to be in Jamaica," he said, "and trust that we shall be successful in our venture. I am also looking forward of having a happy and enjoyable stay here, and my sincerest hope is that we 'lick' Jamaica."

T. JONES the "baby of the team," is 18 years of age, and is still a Queens Royal College boy. He is the present skipper of the football team of Queens Royal College and is capable of playing at any position on the team.

JOHN ATKINS is the centre forward of the team, but he, like one or two others can play at any inside forward position. He played for the first time for All Trinidad combined when that Colony won the inter-Colonial cup for football tournament playing against Barbados and Demerara. He is a member of the "Sporting Club" of Trinidad of which unit he is acclaimed the "goal getter;" and which Club is the present season runners-up in football. He has played in all the big important All Trinidad matches since his first entry in 1933. He said "I feel confident that I shall spend a happy time in Jamaica and shall do my best for the success of my team. Jamaica, I have no doubt will be represented by its very best and ablest players in the matches, but in spite of this I have every confident of the ability and success of my side."

Practice Yesterday

The Trinidad team had an extended practice at Sabina Park yesterday from 4 o'clock onwards, and were watched by a keenly interested crowd. They showed a lot of pace, ball control and individual ability; and, although one could not judge much of the combined strength of the side from this kick about nevertheless it was sufficiently apparent that they are a side of real class, and Jamaica will be seeing some great football in the coming series.

Speaking to a Gleaner reporter at intervals during the practice yesterday the men—at least the greater number—declared that they liked the facilities offered at Sabina Park very much, and in this respect, Maynard said: "I am very much impressed with the grounds. As a matter of fact the field is better than I had anticipated; and a paradise compared with that of Curacao on which we last played; and it is by no means as hard as that of Barbados, I noticed, however, that it is a bit, "tricky," and requires thorough understanding—especially a defensive player. The ball will come over to you well, but because of the texture of the field's surface, it will break or "bump" away suddenly. I like it however, and should be quite familiar with its intricacies by the time we play the first inter-colonial match."

Bertie Thompson, one of the forwards, said: "I like the grounds all right. Being strange to me, I must necessarily get used to it. Once accustomed to it, one should have no difficulty in controlling the ball satisfactorily. It is really one of the finest football fields I have yet seen and I feel we shall do pretty well playing on it."

Burnett, another of the forwards also gave his approval and satisfaction of the fine appearance of Sabina Park.

Band To Play At The Match

The Band of the Sherwood Foresters from Up-Park Camp will play at Sabina Park on the evening of 26th instant, Boxing Day, when a football match will be played between the Soldiers and the visiting team from Trinidad.