They Looked Better Than The Team Of '36

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

Our W Plan Was Blunted Weapon

From the point of view of attendance the recent tour of the Trinidad Football team was the most successful sporting visit ever held in this country, which may indicate that the Jamaica public is becoming even more football-minded than cricket-minded, though with by no means the same expert knowledge of the fine points of the game.

Naturally, these immense crowds provided a difficult problem in handling for the Football Association, and it is open to question how much gate-crashing went on. On this matter it is obvious that the only solution is to institute the turn-style system which provides an absolute check on the number of people and the amount of money taken; I am pretty sure so versatile a firm as the Kingston Industrial Works would be able to construct and install such a system at Sabina.

The two questions I have been most often asked are "Do you think the Trinidad team is better than ours?" and "Do you think they are better than they were in 1936?"

The first of these two questions was decisively answered in the last match, though in some doubt up till then, our side sadly lacks the scoring force of such forwards as Galt, Lynch and Gomez, nor have we defenders except McKen of the class of Dopson, Prior Jones, Seales and
McLean; if one wishes for further confirmation of this view one has only to consider what would be likely to happen to Jamaica's present team if they had to play in Trinidad on the slower and larger grounds they would find there.

On their form in the last match they looked better than the team of 1936 did, but there is not much to choose between the two sides.

Prior Jones was the best of a very strong half line, but was little ahead of Seale, and I should like to have seen the "Big Chief" in the middle more often.

Ken Galt was unquestionably the outstanding forward of both sides, but Lynch also performed with consistent brilliance in every match of the tour. If I recollect alright he was never out of the line-up, which made a pretty strenuous programme for the speedy, hard shooting little winger.

Dopson was the best back on the field at any time, and is indeed one of the best Jamaica has seen on any team.

The W Plan

Coming to the Jamaica side the much touted W formation proved to be a blunted weapon, once the Trinidad defence got on to do it, and it is very open to question whether it would not have been better in the later matches to have relied more on the long passing fast running game that has worked so well for Jamaica's teams in the past.

Actually to work W correctly needs long experience and really intelligent anticipation; it should not be just a W for the forward line, but a series of triangles throughout the team from the goalie upwards.

But W or no W, it was all to evident throughout the series that Jamaica's attack is sadly lacking in scoring force. McMorris being the only consistently dangerous forward. Dudley Smith played steady constructive football even though out of his regular position.

The half back line showed up better than had been expected: Keith McKen played fine football throughout, was in fact Jamaica's outstanding player, and both Ricketts and Walters gave him excellent support.

The full backs were, as we had all allowed for, the weakest part of the team, and I still think it was a mistake not to have given Hamilton of Jamaica College a chance to see what he could do.

Question Of Selection

Which brings me to some much discussed matters of selection; our selectors on the whole did their work thoroughly and conscientiously, but I think they could with advantage have experimented more and taken more risks.

In the second match of the inter-Colony five, when Jamaica was one up with three still to come it might have paid off to try the experiment of leaving George Allen out of the line up and bringing in LaBeach to gain more scoring power; I am behind nobody in my admiration of Allen's capabilities as a coach and a leader of the team on the field, but it was beginning to be obvious at this stage that Trinidad had him so boxed in as to render him almost ineffective; and even had this experiment failed they were still three matches to come when the old line up could have been put back.

It would have been far too dangerous to take radical risks in the last match of the series; but I think the selectors were definitely wrong in not bringing in LaBeach earlier on, as witness the fine game he played for his Club Melbourne.

Wrong also, as I daresay they themselves sadly admit now, in bringing back Dujon in goal after his error had cost us the fourth match.