What's The Score

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

The Team In Trinidad

I was much amused to see the Gleaner's correspondent in Trinidad refer to our football team as "the much vaunted football side." I would like to ask this writer who has been doing any "vaunting" of this side? Certainly not any competent Jamaican, sports critic, who are all quite certain we were in for a very poor time down there, owing to the low standard of the game here at present.

I must say, however, I did not expect quite the debacle that the side met in its first match against the Malvern Club—3-nil, with two more goals scored, but disallowed as off-side, not a single goal for Jamaica, and that against a Club side, made us shudder to think what would happen when we play the Intercolonial matches.

It should be noted that all five of Malvern's goals were scored by one forward, Blake, who apparently is not even considered good enough to be chosen for Trinidad.

As we all expected, the main fault was in the full backs, and in that peculiar type of game Lester Parke plays at centre half now-a-days, nevertheless, I must say I expected the forward line to be able to register at least once.

Can They Improve

Writing before the result of Thursday's match against B.G. I find myself wondering can anything be done to improve the composition of the side for the Inter-Colonial games?

The most necessary and obvious change to my mind would be to get Parke out of the centre half position, and put Malcolm McLean there, using either Parke or Walters to fill McLean's wing position.

Huntley DaCosta will probably come in for Willis at full-back, and the presence of Dickie Kinkead in the side will be a big help to the forward line; but I am afraid these changes are not likely to make very much difference against the overwhelming strength both Trinidad and B. G. can put in the field.

To our great relief, the side did very much better in their first Intercolonial engagement against British Guiana on Thursday, losing by the close margin of 2-nil, of which one was a penalty given away by Parke.

As I anticipated, Huntley DaCosta came in at full back, and obviously must have performed well. I still think it would be better to let McLean take over for Parke at centre half.

The result of this match gives us much more hope for the first game against Trinidad to-day—but don't expect too much!

Why Are We So Poor?

Naturally, these defeats sharply point up the fact that football critics have been bemoaning over the past few seasons—why is Jamaica football so poor to-day?

As regards the present team, we must allow for the fact that November is a particularly bad month for us to send away a football side, since it does not allow us to use any schoolboy players.

Thus, Hamilton of J.C. and Cooper, of Munro, would have been a better pair of backs than the two we have down there, whilst Alexander of Wolmer's would also have been a useful addition to the line.

Again, some of Jamaica's best footballers of to-day are not in the Island, such as Delapenha and Heron, the Chicago "Black Hawk"; but even allowing for all these individual cases, it has to be admitted the general standard is the poorest it has been in our football history.

Looking at general causes, we note that fewer schoolboys come out of school football into Senior football than used to in the old days; a fact that must be attributed to a large extent to the sharp separation today between school and senior play, and the somewhat hysterical enthusiasm among the public for school football as such.

Were we to have a couple of the school sides playing with their Masters regularly in the Senior competition, as we used to in the days of the Martini's Cup, it would go a long way towards improving the standard.

This also brings up another significant point—in the Manning Cup schools of to-day we have not a single Master capable of representing any Senior Club, much less a Jamaica side; as compared to such giants of the old days as Sam Brown, J. M. Hall, Hugo Chambers etc.

We do not get out to Jamaica today the number of your Englishmen in banks, businesses, etc., who could play a good standard of football (or cricket for that matter) that we used to get formerly.

Jamaica Senior football during the war suffered badly in not having the regular competition against good British Regimental sides that they were accustomed to have—this is probably the biggest single factor responsible for to-day's poor standard.

A Point Of Technique

Technically, I think we have made a mistake in the last couple of seasons in experimenting with bastard W and V formations, which are essentially unsuitable to Jamaica ground conditions, and to the special abilities of Jamaica players; as well as being very difficult to teach to any amateur Club side.

Those seem to me to be the main reasons for our present "winter of discontent"—the course of time will remedy some of them, some of them the football authorities can remedy if they so decide, and some of them there is no visible remedy for.