Trinidad Agog Over Sending Football Team To Jamaica

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Hopes That Invading Side Will Be Here In January

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Sept. 25 (From our Correspondent). — Main topic among sport fans here at the moment is the proposed visit of a Trinidad football side to Jamaica some time in January of next year. Trinidad football authorities and public are very keen on such a tour, all and sundry are hoping that official announcement of the visit will be made public in the not too distant future. By all rights, however, it is Jamaica's turn to come over to Trinidad, seeing that the "Isle of Springs" was host to a team from these shores back in 1935-36. For a multiplicity of reasons, Jamaica, during that passage of ten years which has rolled on since Arthur Wilkinson's Trinidad contingent visited that colony, has found it impracticable to return the visit. Speaking for the sporting public here, I am quite sure that they will display the same enthusiasm shown to visiting Venezuelan, Barbadian and British Guianese soccer sides in the past, if a Jamaica team were to come to Trinidad.


Should the Trinidad tour to Jamaica materialise, the Jamaica sporting public will find a considerable amount of changes in the team of 1935-36. In fact of the fifteen good-will ambassadors who went over then, only three players are in line for selection again.

Arthur Wilkinson, dogged left half and captain of that famous team that won all three of the test matches returned to England, his homeland, for keeps several years ago.

Remember Botha Tench, lanky, imperturbable centre half, described as a "Rock of Gibralter" by a prominent sports columnist in Jamaica? Well Botha has long since hung up his togs.

His grand deeds at Sabina Park will no doubt long remain on the memories of those who were privileged to see this greatest of all Trinidad half backs in action during that historic tournament.

Arthur Maynard, great Trinidad full back of that tour, Jack Merry, who played beside him, and Otto Wilkes, another stolid defence player of the team, have all yielded to the inevitable hand of Father Time.

The two brothers, Lester and Buster Henderson, who were also over in Jamaica, have quit the game, and the same thing applies to that fine goalkeeper, Frank Ambard. D'Arcy Galt, the reserve custodian of that tour, has given up soccer for hockey, while Harold Burnett, the team's right winger, devotes all his spare time to cricket. Burnett, it will be remembered, was the manager-player on the Trinidad cricket side that toured Jamaica recently.

John (Bull) Sutherland, who spearheaded the Trinidad attack, took an active part in soccer played in South Trinidad up to last year, but he has apparently called it a day, for he has not appeared on the field this season.

This process of elimination leaves us with only Johnny Alkins, Bertie Thompson and Pryor Jones, left of the line-up to Jamaica of a decade ago.


If an intercolonial cricket tournament does not clash with the Jamaica series, Pryor Jones, the colony's best centre half, is almost certain of being asked to lead the Trinidad soccer aggregation to Jamaica next January. In his late twenties, Jones to-day is at the pinnacle of his sport career. Early this year Pryor led a representative football side against British Guiana, in the Magnificent Province.

Jones' club team is Maple, of which he is the leader.

The passage of ten years has robbed Johnny Alkins, wily goal-scoring centre forward of the 1936 team, of a lot of his wizardry, but this correspondent is not alone in the opinion that Alkins still possesses what it take to make a Trinidad touring side. Jamaica may yet see him just once more.

The evergreen Bertie Thompson, inner-right of the team then, appears today to be the same old Bertie the fans knew in the days—the early thirties—when the Everton Club ruled the soccer roost of Trinidad football.

Thompson, who incidentally is over forty, played for that greatest of all Trinidad football sides, and the fact that he is the only member of that famous side still playing the game in Trinidad, reflects no mean tribute to his powers of endurance.

His great experience acquired over a period of twenty years in the game, may once again be required on the touring Trinidad team.

Trinidad came off with flying colours on the 1935-36 tour to Jamaica, winning all three of the test matches, lost two matches with club sides, drew two and won two other matches on that tour.

Honour of beating the Trinidadians was shared by the Kingston Club (The Tigers), who provoked the following elegant comment from a "Gleaner" columnist: "Trinidad received a pat from the Tiger's paw at Sabina Park in the first game the visitors lost since they came to the island."

The tourists opened the tournament by whipping Schools Combined 5—0 on Christmas Day.

Trinidad drew the second engagement two goals all with Sherwood Forresters. The visitors then went on to win the first test 3—2, the second test one-nil, and took the deciding classic 2—1, at the famed Sabina Park.

St. George's Old Boys turned in a stunning surprise, when, in their engagement with the tourists, they emerged at the stronger end of a two-nil decision.

Since the Trinidad visit, many followers of the sport feel that the standard of play has been steadily on the upgrade.

Schoolboys have been given better facilities for playing outdoor sport, soccer clubs have sprung up all over the island, causing competitive soccer to grow by leaps and bounds.

Great zeal is being shown by players in the leading football series in the island—the Trinidad Amateur Football Association, the Northern Amateur Football League, the Southern Amateur Football Football Association, the Southern Amateur Football League, and the East St. George Football League—who have at the back of their minds the impending soccer tour to Jamaica.