Spotlights On Sport

Old Colour
Date Published: 
Trinidad Guardian

IF THE CASUALS TEAM is not ashamed of itself, nothing further can be said on the subject of their defeat by Shamrock in the return match of the League on Saturday.

BUT AS I FEEL sure that they are still trying to account for being so utterly outplayed, I must try and hel to throw a little light on the matter.

WHEN YOU HAVE A PAIR of full backs, one of which can do nothing right, and many things wrong, and the other trying to do two men's work, it naturally falls on the shoulders of the half-back line to drop back in constant defence. With the result that the forward line must be left in the air, without support or feeding.

THAT IS THE THING in a few words. Merry played a game the badness of which I did no think him capable. He had no power to his kicks, was constantly out of place, and could not hold a single tackle. Shamrock's second goal should be entered on their archives as being scored by Merry. He met a good centre from the left opposing wing by coming in and smothering Laughlin's view of the ball, and then in attempting to head clear, sent the ball on to the cross bar of his own goal. From the rebound Schjolseth had no difficulty in putting it out of Laughlin's sight and reach.

IT WAS NOT ONLY as a player that Merry failed. He did not do his duty as a captain. When a player, who is prone to get out of place, like Eric Almandoz, is wandering about the field, it is a captain's bounden duty to order him to keep position and see that he does it.

LEWIS AT FULL BACK did all he could to stem the fast Shamrock invasion. His brother, Noel, kept coming back also, but was not playing up to form and conceded many unnecessary corners. Neither Croucher nor Jackson were able to help the forwards as they were in their own danger zone most of the time.

OF THE FORWARDS, Grell had left his shooting boots at home. He had three excellent openings with Ambard alone in defence. The first was ballooned, the second directed into the goalkeeper's safe hands, and the third wide.

RODRIQUEZ AND MITCHELL worked terribly hard and made the most of the opportunities that came their way, but these were few and far between. Mitchell in particular showed great dash, and the solitary goal scored for his side was a good one. Sales had sent down a long forward pass between the opposing backs. Mitchell went after it at full pelt, and despite the fact that the backs were closing in and harrassing him, he got the ball well past Ambard, into the far corner.

SALES WAS DISAPPOINTING. He seemed to have one of his lazy fits, and was overshadowed by Schjolseth. I had been looking forward to a duel between these two good exponents of footwork, but on only one occasion did Sales show fight. He was making Schjolseth all right but did not get right into the ball. At any rate the Shamrock crack player was at his best and when that is the case other players seem childlike. But as I have said, I was disappointed.

SHAMROCK ARE EVIDENTLY rich in half-backs. Despite the fact that Campbell had broken his shin in two places during a practice match, that Agostini and Hadden were down South, the mid-line gave a great display. With Acosta working splendidly both in attack and defence, Charlie Mathieu demonstrating that he can play, and play well, in any position, and a second team man, Mendes, proving that he is good enough to be promoted, the Casuals forwards found that the way to the opponent's danger zone was not easy of access.

RIGNAULT WAS THE BETTER of the Shamrock backs on the day, though Frank Mathieu was not slicing so badly as he has been of late. Ambard in goal was his excellent self. More and more am I becoming convinced that he will prove the Island goalkeeper. It is really surprising how few mistakes he makes. Just a wee bit more judgement in running out and he will have no rival when the next representative team comes to be chosen.

OF THOR SCHJOLSETH I have already spoken. Of the rest, Brown was the fast opportunist that he generally is. He nearly brought off one of his typical goals. Schjolseth had passed forward, Brown, as was to be expected, was after the ball and on to it speedily. It was a brilliant piece of robbery by R. Lewis that prevented a score.

BOTH BROWN AND SCHJOLSETH had two real flashes of brilliancy. One was when the latter ahd left three Casuals guessing by his brilliant footwork and passed high to Brown. That one took a glorious drop kick at the ball and sent it hard crashing against the top bar. It deserved a better fate.

FEW BUT the Shamrock centre could have scored the first item. With his back almost facing the goal Schjolseth screwed round a drop kick that completely deceived Laughlin. It was so totally unexpected that any goalkeeper could be excused for letting it pass.

ALL THE MATHIEU family seem to have football in their system. Yet another one appeared on Saturday and played a valuable game at right wing.

SHAMROCK AND CASUALS now tie with ten points each for first place in the League.

MR. REFEREE, Prideaux, had a pleasant Saturday afternoon. It was a very clean and exceptionally fast game. Apart from the healthy exercise engendered by running up and down keeping place with the trend of the game, Prideaux had but little to do. There was one exception, and that was in the last minute's play. Merry committed the crowning fault to his day's work of charging an opponent in the back. As a rule he is one of the cleanest exponents of the game, and his lapse came as a severe shock to me.

APROPOS OF REFEREES watching players a bit too scrupulously, I had a good one given me the other day. The umpire had gone up to a player who was usually inclined to be tricky if not unclean, and remarked to him: "I've been watching you for the last half-hour." "Indeed" said the player, "why don't you watch the game?" Of course this could not have happened in Trinidad.