Club History Timeline
Introduction - by Wilf Haskell
The Victoria University of Wellington Hockey Club has a long and proud history. Formed in 1901 it is the oldest sports club at Victoria University. From a small beginning the club has grown in numbers and stature to become a major force in Wellington and New Zealand University hockey. With nearly 200 active members the club has claimed a host of grade championship titles in both men's and women's hockey during the past century.
Victoria has produced many outstanding players, coaches and administrators. These have included national hockey captains, Norm Jacobsen, Eddie McLeod and Hec Lawry; Olympic and Commonwealth Games representatives: Jan Borren, Suzanne Pearce, Peter Byers, Bruce Judge, Thur Borren, Umesh Parag and Rachel Sutherland. Eddie McLeod (Hockey and Cricket) and Lesley Monk (Hockey and Softball) have been the club's double internationals.
Many former club members have gone on to achieve distinction on many fields such as politics, law, medicine, education and in academic fields. Prominent names are Hon. H.G.Mason, a former Attorney General and Minister of Education, Sir David Smith, a former Chancellor of the University of New Zealand, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. M.Oran and Member of Parliament, W.Sheat.
- Wilf Haskell
1900's - In the Beginning
During the winter months of 1899 and 1900, in the early years of Victoria College's existence, students played for local hockey and football clubs. A lack of sporting and team spirit was quite evident on campus but with the formation of the Victoria University College Men's Hockey Club in April, 1901, the sporting climate soon changed.
It was the action of a timid student, G. F. Dixon, who pinned an unsigned notice to the college noticeboard in April that year with the question, "Is anyone interested in the formation of a hockey club?" that sparked the catalyst. Two days later, another student R. St. J. Beere, who was a talented hockey player, offered his support and soon afterwards these two were joined by P. Furby and F. Foley. On May 18th 1901, the new club played its first match against Karori Juniors at Karori. The team had only ten members but a spectator, F. de la Mare, was recruited as the eleventh player at the last minute. Most of these sporting pioneers cycled or walked over the hills to reach Karori. This foundation team comprised H. Anderson, R. St. J. Beere, G. Dixon, P. Foley, F. Furby, F. Martin, F. de la Mare, T. Mitchell, A. Quartley, H. Richmond, H. Sladden.
The foundation team
H. Sladden, P Jones, G Bogle, P Foley
H. Richmond, F. de la Mare, R. St. J. Beere, I Batham, G Dixon
H. Anderson, T. Mitchell, A. Quartley
absent: A Bogle
Before the match a meeting was held to elect the first officers of the club. Rawden St. J. Beere was elected club captain, a position he held for eight years. Other foundation officers included H Richmond, vice captain, George Dixon, secretary-treasurer, and Hon. Sir Robert Stout, president.
"Spike," the college magazine, reported in 1902 that "enthusiasm and camaraderie" had developed among club members. Glowing tributes were paid to women members for their efforts to support the new club and to foster club spirit. Dances were held at the Sydney Street schoolrooms as well as various "ping pong" tournaments, often combined with the college's tennis and football clubs. Players practised regularly on a frost-hardened area in Thomdon Quay during winter.
In its first year Victoria managed to gain fifth place in the Wellington Hockey Association's junior competition. By 1902 a senior team and a junior team entered the local championships. Both teams had some success though the latter team suffered from defections by some players on Saturdays. A number seemed to make a habit of "missing trains" much to the annoyance of club officials. The club's first representatives were selected that season. They were D. Matheson of the senior team, I. Batham and B. C. Smith from the junior side.
By 1903 Victoria was able to field three teams. "Spike" reported that "... those who prophesised that the hockey club would die a lingering death on the formation of the football club need prophesy no more." Amicable relations soon developed between these two major sports clubs. Although some hockey players did leave to join the football club, by 1904 Victoria was able to field three teams as membership rose. Leading players included R. Beere, G. Prouse, 0. Prouse, G. Walters, G. Dixon, G. Bogle, G. Robertson and B. Smith. The club was buzzing with players fighting for places; its reserve strength was no longer regarded as a "nebulous hypothesis".
In an atmosphere of growing enthusiasm for hockey at Victoria and with encouragement from many male players, a move was made to form a ladies' club at the college. The inaugural meeting however, on March 30 1904, was a confused and noisy affair, according to "Spike," during which the chairman at times "experienced much difficulty in keeping order." Prominent foundation members included Misses F. Smith, F. Roberts, A. Griffiths, A. Hales, G. Cooke, M. Cox, L. MacKellar, M. Seagar, L. and J. Tavendale. Two teams played competitive hockey for the new club in its first season with the senior team gaining two wins and two draws from eight matches. "Measured in successes our score has been small," went the club's report, "measured in sheer, rollicking, cobweb-scattering gymnastics it has been gigantic."
By 1906 there were 40 active members in the young club. Coupled with this growth came a reputation for clean sportsmanship. The senior team finished as runner-up in-the top grade that year and this was followed by some golden seasons. The seniors won the championship without losing a match in 1908 and this victory was followed by further successes in 1909, 1910 and 1911. With four tides in successive years the women's club completed the most successful period in its history. In 1909 both the junior A team and the senior B team gained second place in their respective grades.
In its fifth year the men's club also experienced a big increase in playing strength with four teams taking the field in competition each weekend. The now familiar green jerseys incorporating the college coat of arms were worn for the first time. The 3A team was the most successful that season. Prominent senior players included D Matheson, captain, Beere, Prouse, Oram, Ryburn and Skelley. For the first time three senior players: Beere, Rybum and Skelley were selected as North Island representatives in the annual inter-island fixture.
The club's fortunes slumped in 1906. The senior team lost all its matches though Beere, Ryburn and D Watson played for Wellington in provincial matches. A damning club report berated the seniors for a "...want of pace, resourcefulness, agility, training ... lack of practice, combination, vim, self-confidence, staying power ... superfluity of talk ... general sloth and occasional intemperance..." The low point was a 0-7 loss to Karori. In a poem "Ballade of Hockey," a club~ member lamented
"Where are the men who won us fame?
On former fields when the world was gay.
Before our woes with Wellington came
And United drove our dreams away.
Teams of the old years where are they?
Good fellows all of goodly cheer ..."
A club report a year later had a sharp edge "... the theoretical knowledge of the first eleven is very good: in fact they pride themselves on the way they use their heads; but if only they could learn to use their hands and feet..."
However, the 3A team, captained by H. G. Mason, later to become Attorney General and Minister of Education, broke the drought in 1907 by becoming the first men's club team to win a grade championship. The first eleven also had a good season winning most of its matches with a 16-0 win over Thomdon as a climax at the end.
The closing years of the first decade ended on a high plateau for both the men's and women's clubs. With five men's teams and three women's teams Victoria had become a major force in Wellington hockey. Five members of the senior men's team represented Wellington in provincial hockey. They were: H. Monaghan, D. Smith, B. Kibblewhite, A. Bogle and R. Beere. The women's club fielded three teams and dominated the senior grade in both 1909 and 19 10. In these two seasons the top team finished with 12 wins and one draw, scoring 82 goals with 9 scored against it.
The senior men's team won 7 and drew 2 of the 14 matches it played in 1908 but its star was rising. In 19 10, after winning nearly all its matches the seniors clinched the club's first senior title, a fitting climax to a decade of growth. Led by the brilliant G. S. and C. H. Strack brothers this team also included the consistent D. S. Smith and B. Kibblewhite. It had gained the distinction of becoming the first Victoria College team in any sport to win a senior men's championship. To celebrate the victory a sumptuous dinner was held at the Grand hotel at which many of the foundation members were present.
The 1908 First Eleven
The lustre of this triumph was reflected in the continuing success of the senior men's team over the next few years. Good wins were scored over opposing teams such as Wellington, United, Wesley, Greggs, Hutt, St. Marks, Karori and Metropolitan. After finishing a close second for two consecutive years the senior side again took the title in 1913. In that season the club's four strong teams performed well in each grade. The Strack brothers, P. Burbridge and Griffiths represented Wellington in provincial matches. From 1907 onwards when Victoria had played and won the first inter-college match against Otago University College, other similar fixtures were arranged with both Auckland and later, Canterbury Colleges. Eventually these special contests evolved into the annual universities' winter tournament. By 1913 confidence was high and the men's club committee took the novel step Of arranging to purchase a shipment of distinctive hockey sticks adorned with green and gold bindings for members to purchase. This proved a popular move.
"It is not dead, it only sleeps; t'will wake tomorrow," wrote the editor of "Spike." referring to the women's hockey club which had lapsed in 1912. However, a year later, signs of life reappeared when a I team, captained by Miss Neumann, was entered in senior competition. Players took the field in new full green uniforms with narrow gold ties. This team won some of its games against opposing sides such as Sirens, Greggs, Ramblers, Girls College and College Old Girls.
The opening of the 1914 season was a festive occasion for the club heralding the changed status of Victoria from a university college to a full university. During a colourful opening day at Karori Park on April 8th , watched by college professors and their wives, a men's team, resplendent in hobble skirts and tango colours, did battle with a women's team.
1914 - 1918
The years of the First World War inevitably diminished the club's playing strength. The loss of players required for military training at Trentham resulted in only three teams being fielded in 1915, with the men's senior team finishing second in the championship. The women's club however, were able to enter two teams in grade competition.
With only one competitive men's team in 1916 it was decided to suspend club activities in October. Because of the general unsettled atmosphere of the time and the demands of military service this appeared to be an inevitable outcome. The situation facing all men's clubs was made worse at that time by a restrictive ruling from the Wellington Hockey Association that only players under the age of 20 could play in grade competitions during the war years. Older players were only allowed to play "practice" games, so some unofficial matches were arranged against teams from Trentham military camp.
Following the end of hostilities the men's club was resurrected in 1919 with a new committee comprising B.W. Hunt, W.A. Sheat (later to become an MP), A. Croker, L. Britton and A. Cousins. By 1920 there were three teams competing each weekend and the annual fixture against Auckland University was also revived. Older players such as R. St. J. Beere, D. Smith and C. Strack rejoined the club providing a link with pre-war times. The senior team, led by G. Seddon, finished the season with the wooden spoon winning only three of eleven matches.
Through the tireless efforts of A. Cousins in particular, in the early 1920s, the men's club grew in numbers with four teams competing in 1921. Seddon presented the Seddon Stick which became a prized trophy awarded annually to the winning team at the New Zealand universities winter tourney. At this time Professor J. Adamson, a much loved mentor, become the club's patron and he took a keen interest in club activities. He was a popular speaker at many social functions.
Between the Wars
In the early 1920s the women's club suffered a decline in numbers to fourteen players. This was partly due to the fact that a separate Teachers Training Club had been formed which attracted some university players. Despite this development the senior team performed well to come second to Ramblers A in the championship. Misses Myers, Rickard and Lithgow were chosen to represent Wellington at the top level. In general, the early years of the 1920s were not notable ones for both clubs. In 1926, when the men's club celebrated its Silver Jubilee, the first N.Z.U. winter tournament was held during June in Wellington. Victoria reached the final but saw Otago win narrowly to take home the Seddon Stick. During the closing years of the 1920s the star of the men's club began to rise with the arrival of some talented players such as Eddie McLeod, New Zealand captain and former Auckland representative, H. Bollard, B. Massey and F. Paul.
During the 1927 season the senior team finished third in the top grade and a strong team from Victoria lost narrowly to Auckland in the final at winter tournament. McLeod captained the New Zealand team which defeated the Indian Army team in the second test in Auckland. Massey, Paul, and J. McDonald represented N.Z.U. in the same year.
The following year, 1928, was a golden year for the club. Five strong teams took the field which included senior A and senior B teams. Both senior teams won their respective grades while the junior team, led by the brilliant "Charlie" Bollard finished second in its competition. Victoria reached the final again at winter tournament only to lose once again to Otago. Massey, Fraser and G. Simpson won N.Z.U. Blues while McLeod, Paul and Sykes represented Wellington in provincial matches. Victoria also won the club championship for the first time.
During the 1920s the women's club was weak both in numbers and performance. With only one or two teams taking the field each season the top team made little headway in the senior grade. Kelburn Park was used for practice but because of lectures in the afternoon few players were able to attend the practices between 4 pm and 5 pm. After several lean years the club was able to enter a senior and a junior team in local competition in 1929. Attractive green berets were worn for the first time but these did not unfortunately enhance the quality of play at both levels.
With a growing membership the men's club recorded some good performances in the years between 1929 and 1935 though no senior titles were captured. In 1929 Eddie McLeod led New Zealand to a 2-0 victory over Australia in the second test while P. Wilson, G. Simpson and B. Massey represented Wellington.
A club report at that time urged players to improve their goal shooting in their backyards by enlisting the help of a small brother or sister who would roll the ball hard towards the player so he could practise stopping and shooting. One member who tried this reported "... the amount of success can be gauged by the fact that the summer house has several slates broken or cracked off the back ..."
By 1930 the men's club had experienced a large influx of members. With seven teams it was the largest hockey club in New Zealand. While the top team had a poor season, the second team won the senior B championship. The trend continued as membership continued to rise so that by 1932 the club had grown to be the largest in Australasia with eight teams and a dozen reserves. In both 1930 and 1931 Victoria finished second at winter tournament and the club celebrated when "Charlie" Bollard become Victoria's first graduate to win a New Zealand cap. This was a welldeserved honour for a dedicated player and enthusiastic club supporter. He, along with K. Struthers and L. Davis, also won N.Z.U. selection. With eight teams in 1934 the men's club was a busy and active one. A number of dances, ping-pong tournaments, bazaars and sales of work proved to be both enjoyable and successful while regular early morning practices were well attended. With the death of Mr C. Hain, club patron, in 1933 a well-respected founder member, Mr George Dixon, become the new patron. He had already been honoured as a life member in 1907. The colourful Kingi Tahiwi became the club secretary in 1934.
Apart from Bollard, other players to shine in the early 1930s were F. Newcombe, H. Williamson, V. Stanley, L. Danby, F. Stewart K. Struthers and McEwen. Four players from Victoria were included in the New Zealand Universities team to tour Fiji in 1935. They were: McEwen, Danby, Stewart and Newcombe. In the same year Victoria gained the services of former New Zealand captain, Norm Jacobsen, who had previously represented Auckland. Almost immediately he made a big impact on the club both as a player and a coach. Under his leadership Victoria was at last able to win the Seddon Stick at tournament.
In the latter years of the 1930s the playing strength of the men's club levelled off at six teams with a number of new players coming to the fore. These included A. Dixon, son of George Dixon, W. Johnston, S. Braithwaite, D. Beresford, N. Buchanan, G. Shaw and C. Sharp, a former N.Z.U. Blue and Rhodes Scholar. Club spirit in this period was fostered with social activities such as smoke concerts and dances as well as a number of "friendly" games.
In 1936 the men's club achieved some notable successes. The tournament team won the Seddon Stick by beating Canterbury in the tournament final while the senior team, for the first time since 1928, took the senior championship. Leading players included Norm Jacobsen, H. Abraham, P. Grant, W. Johnston, F. Newcombe and S. Braithwaite. The latter three players were members of the New Zealand Universities team which lost narrowly 1-2 to the Prince of Manavador's Indian team which toured New Zealand in 1938.
Club practices were now being held in the university gymnasium and on the football -club's floodlit field. A new system of training encompassed stick work, basketball and physical training but the performances of the senior team at the end of the 1930s were quite mediocre. In fact, the team received a set-back when it was relegated to the senior B grade in 1939. However, after winning all its matches in that grade, the senior side was reinstated to the top grade in 1940. In that year Weir House entered a team in competition for the first time in third grade. G. Witham and S. Braithwaite won N.Z.U. Blues while Witham and H. Scott represented Wellington. Other promising players included B. Hands, K. Kiddle and G. Marwick.
In the early 1930s the women's club fielded two teams but these did not gain much success on the field. It was not until 1934 that the senior team, led by Misses A. Harding and N. Webber finished near the top of the championship and Victoria reached the final at tournament. Misses Harding, N. Nellingen, F. Grainger, J. Bacon and N. Bayfield gained selection for New Zealand Universities teams. Weekly practices and coaching were shared with the men's club. A good spirit existed among this small group who enjoyed social events together such as film evenings, dances and dinners.
World War Two
The demands of war after 1939 had serious effects on club sport in Wellington. Along with other clubs Victoria suffered a reduction in the number of teams which competed each weekend. With the departure of George Shaw, club captain, in 1942 along with other stalwarts, a new and energetic committee comprising B Hands, A. Ives, K. Kiddle, P. O'Donnell, E. Raine and G. Stacey took over the administration of the club's three teams. The system of coeducational training which first started in 1904 was revived and the senior team performed well under the skilful leadership of "Charlie" Bollard at centre-half. Sadly, the club suffered a major blow with his death in 1944.
Led by Ken Kiddle the senior team won the grade championship in 1943, sharing the title with Fort Dorset. A strong line-up included Ivor Ting, G. Speight, M. Gunn, G. Jones and A. Ives. Kiddle won an N.Z.U. Blue and gained Wellington selection.
The success of the 1943 Men's team (pictured below) helped revive morale in the club. By 1945, with a rising membership, the club was able to field six teams. The arrival of the brilliant Winiata Smiler from Auckland assisted the senior team to gain second place in the grade championship. He was ably supported by Kiddle, Gunn and J. Nicholls. A "social" team of older players won the second B grade championship.
The Victoria Men's tournament team completes a rousing Haka at Winter Tournament in 1943
An influx of returning members from active service overseas enabled the club to field seven teams in 1946. Talented players such as Smiler, Eddie Latham and Hec Lawry, who arrived from Massey, soon made an impact. Lawry proved to be a tower of strength and quickly won representative honours for both Wellington and the North Island. Another promising player was Norm Towns who gained an N.Z.U. Blue at winter tournament. The fortunes of the women's club also improved in the early 1940s. A drive for new players in 1941 enabled the club to enter two teams in local competition for the first time in three years.
In 1942 the senior women's team finished second in the competition with Wellington representative honours going to Misses Davidson, Pegler, Marwick Russell and Filmer. A year later, with three teams playing regularly, the top team regained senior A status. Leading the charge were Shona Bell, Betty Boyes, Pat Gardiner and Marie Simpson. The upward trend continued so that by 1945 there were 50 players wearing the green and gold. Coached by Ralph Kean the senior A and senior B teams finished well up the championship ladder. The club also hosted teams from Canterbury University and the senior team paid a visit to Massey University, losing 0-1 after a hard-fought match.
During the closing years of the 1940s both clubs were in good heart. The women's club boasted five teams with two of these competing in the senior A grade. The top team had a good season culminating in an exciting 4-2 win over Massey in the-annual contest. Pat Young gained representative honours. Teams were coached by Miss Charles, Pat Ralph and that fine stalwart of former years, Norm Jacobsen. The men's club fielded six teams in 1947 and, although no titles were gained that season, Victoria hosted a successful winter tournament and won the annual match against Massey 4-2. Hec Lawry captained the Wellington team which won the New Zealand Challenge Shield from Canterbury with Victoria's 1. Laurenson scoring the winning goal in that match. Club spirit remained high with a number of well-attended social activities climaxed by a successful hockey club ball in 1948.
Because of a shortage of goalkeepers some teams at this time played with three fullbacks. Prominent players included H. Scott, J. Beard, 1. Ting, Lawry, R. Burney and G. Johnstone. Some good results were registered by lower grade teams. There was criticism of the performance of the top teams with a club report that called for improved training methods: "...It is to be hoped that last year's tendency to substitute talks on hockey theory for practice in stick work and physical education will not occur this season ...
The celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the men's club in 1951 was a memorable occasion marking a major milestone in the history of a special club. A host of past and present players attended the celebration dinner which was held in the English Speaking Rooms in Wellington on July 7th 195 1. There were many fine speeches and amusing anecdotes by the sporting heroes of the past. The presence of Mr George Dixon, CBE, founder member and patron, was a fitting honour for the club. The club had certainly come a long way since young George Dixon took the field in that first match at Karori in 1901. He embodied all the finest qualities and ethos of the university hockey at Victoria.
An excerpt from the college song written by Professor Rankine Brown echoed the healthy spirit pervading the two hockey clubs in the early years of the 1950s:
"Games we play with heart and soul
Keen to lodge the flying leather
In the adversaries' goal."
In 1950 the women's club comprised 63 members. With four teams and a good club coach, Mr Fleet, there were some fine performances though no championship titles were gained. The senior A team beat Massey in the annual fixture while in 1951 a strong team won the Pember Reeves Stick at winter tournament. This team beat Canterbury and Otago and drew with Auckland. Misses B. Young and L. Holland represented N.Z.U. with the former winning an N.Z.U. Blue. The senior A team finished third in the championship, performed well in the King's Birthday seven-a-side tournament and again beat Massey in the annual fixture. Over the succeeding three years however, there was a decline in the number of women's teams with only fair results being achieved. Club teams were coached by Mrs 1. Lamason and prominent players included Misses L. Holland, A. Wellwood, R. Baird and M. Bertrand. Although there were about 500 women attending Victoria at this time the sporting successes of all other women's clubs at university were quite mediocre. The women's hockey club was clearly the most successful during the 1950s.
In 1955 Harry Gajadhar took over the coaching role and club members were able to hold combined practices with players from the Technical Old Girls Club. During the two weeks before winter tournament an Australian Universities women's team toured New Zealand and played matches at the main centres. A full round of social activities may have taken its toll during its visit to the capital because the visitors lost both matches against Wellington and Wairarapa.
Fair results were achieved between 1955 and 1957 with the tournament team having little success at tournaments held in the South island during these years. Misses J. Hirschberg, M. Huntly, C. Pointon, M. Matthewson gained Wellington representative honours. By 1957 the women's club could only field two teams, senior A and senior B, each weekend.
During the early 1950s the men's club was in good heart having six teams in competition. The senior team finished third in the top grade both in 1954 and 1955. Earlier, Hec Lawry had captained a successful New Zealand team on an Australian tour in 1951. Laurie Gatfield, Nev Compton, Ray O'Connor and A. Cryer played for N.Z.U. against a visiting Australian team, losing narrowly 0-1.
In 1954 Victoria won winter tournament at which a visiting Australian Universities team took part. N.Z.U. representatives from the men's club at this time included Laurie Gatfield, George Oaks, R. Calkin, H. Taylor and Hambly. Victoria scored two successive wins over Massey though the Massey team proved too strong in the Crouch Shield drinking contest following the match in 1955. Before one of these encounters a flock of straying sheep had to be removed from the ground at Palmerston North before the game could start. Successful trips to five-a-side tourneys in Wanganui, Carterton and Fielding were undertaken in 1955 and Victoria won the Seddon Stick at tournament. R. Calkin and K. Beresford were selected for the N.Z.U. tournament team.
A year later Victoria again finished third in the senior grade and second to Otago at winter tournament. Wilf Haskell, Graeme Latimer and K. Taylor were chosen at NZU representatives while Mike O'Connor and Wilf Haskell represented Wellington in provincial matches. In 1957 a series of trial matches was held to select an N.Z.U. team to tour Australia later that year. The touring team, captained by Wilf Haskell, included Nev Compton (vice-captain), H. Hughes and Mike O'Connor. This strong team, managed by the irrepressible Tom Eggleton from Canterbury, completed a successful and enjoyable tour.
With five teams in competition in 1958 practices were held in the university gymnasium and on the university tennis courts under lights. Under the energetic direction of trainer, Bill Landreth, there were intense workouts each week. Occasionally the thumping weight on the old wooden floor proved too much and a floorboard would crack. A talented senior reserve team, led by Ron Green, easily won its grade after winning I I of its 14 matches. Victoria finished second at winter tournament to Otago with wins over Lincoln, Massey, Canterbury and a draw against Auckland. Mike O'Connor, Murray Lints, Tom Crossen and Wilf Haskell represented N.Z.U. while Mike O'Connor, Wilf Haskell and Tom Crossen were selected for Wellington that season.
1960's - The Golden Sixties
By the end of the 1950s the men's club experienced a decline in active members with four teams taking the field each weekend. The old wooden gymnasium was demolished to make way for a new students union building so weekend practices were arranged for players. Victoria started the new decade of the 1960s fairly quietly with the senior team taking fourth place in 1960. The brightest star was the third grade team which won 9 of its 11 matches to take the title. There were few signs from these performances that the club was about to enter a golden era that would see Victoria dominate Wellington hockey for most of the 1960s.
During 1960 and 1961 leading players included Denis Paget, Carl Leddy, Wilf Haskell, Alistair Botting, Maurie Rendle, Rob Curham, Murray Lints, Gavin Browne and Murray Mathieson. Most of these players represented Wellington and New Zealand Universities during the early 1960s. In 1961 the senior team improved its position to finish third on the championship ladder while the second grade (first division) team gained second place after winning 11 of 13 matches. The senior eleven really struck gold in 1962 winning both the senior title and the Seddon Stick at winter tournament. Remarkably, this team which was led by Denis Paget and coached by Wilf Haskell, remained undefeated throughout the season, winning 13 of its 14 games with one drawn. Victoria scored 72 goals with 19 scored against it. At tournament, Victoria beat Auckland 3- 1, Canterbury B 6-1, Massey 10-1, drew 2-2 with Otago and 1-1 with Canterbury. In that year Denis Paget gained North Island selection with Carl Leddy, Alistair Botting, Denis Paget and Maurie Rendle representing Wellington. Paget and Des Meads were selected for N.Z.U.
The senior championship was won for the second year in a row in 1963 with the loss of only two games. The senior side was strengthened by the arrival of Peter Byers who slammed in many goals from inside left. This talented player was clearly destined for higher honours. Along with Denis Paget he toured with the N.Z.U. team to Australia in 1962. This touring team completed a highly successful tour winning 16 of its 19 matches. Other talented newcomers, such as Craig Wallis and Roger Gibson, also joined the increasing pool of talent in a dynamic club at its zenith. Seven members of the senior team represented Wellington in provincial matches during the season. They were: Alistair Botting, Denis Paget, Peter Byers, Wilf Haskell, Roger Gibson, Maurie Rendle and Craig Wallis.
At the end of 1963 Peter Byers was selected in the New Zealand Olympic hockey team to compete in Tokyo, Japan. This was a well-deserved honour for a dynamic player. A year later he was also selected to play in test matches against the touring Indians. In 1964 at club level the senior team again took out the senior title for the third consecutive year. The triple crown at last! A talented goalkeeper, Bob Rosemergy, made an impressive debut in the top team and was rewarded for his efforts by winning representative selection. The men's club was fizzing amidst such success with well attended and noisy "choir practices", parties and the social highlight of the season - the annual dinner and cabaret which was held in the students association building.
The senior side shared the honour of winning the McAlister Cup for the first round of the grade with Wellington College Old Boys in 1964 and with Naenae in 1965 after two drawn finals had been played. In 1965 the senior team finished third in the championship to end its run of success but the second grade (division 2) side won its grade with consistently good performances. Winter tournament was held in muddy conditions at Karori Park with Victoria entering two teams. Both teams performed well in difficult conditions with the A team winning the competition to claim the Seddon Stick. Wilf Haskell (captain), Bob Rosemergy, Robin Kendrick, Colin Milne, Dick Grant, W. Williams and G. Pepper were selected for N.Z.U. while Bob Rosemergy won an N.Z.U. Blue.
It was another golden season for the men's club in 1966 with the senior team emerging as joint winners of the top grade. This side won 13 of its 16 games with one draw and two losses. As the senior reserve team and the second grade (first division) side also won titles, the club's growing strength became apparent. The third grade team finished second in its grade to add the finishing touches to an excellent season. With new talent such as Keith Purchase, Jan Borren and Alan Read joining the club to support the more experienced brigade, the stage was set for even greater achievements.
Brimming with confidence the club entered seven teams in local competition in 1967. The senior team again won the grade championship with 13 wins from 17 matches with two drawn games and two losses. The senior reserve A side went one better to clinch the title with 18 wins from 19 matches and one draw. The senior reserve B team also won its grade and the second grade A side gained second place in the competition. Not surprisingly, after such fine results, Victoria took the club championship with 125 points. The final touches to a splendid year occurred when a club team, led by Bruce Judge and the Borren brothers, won the summer competition winning all of its five matches.
Success bred further success. Fielding six teams in 1968 the senior eleven again clinched the championship winning 12 of its 14 matches with one loss and one draw. Again the senior reserve team took the grade title and the club once again won the club championship totalling 128 points. Both of Victoria's teams starred in the summer competition with the B team taking first place just ahead of the A team. Playing in a Kapiti tournament a university A side beat Petone 3-0 to win the final while a B team also did well enough to reach the semi-final.
These results were not mirrored at winter tournament which was held in wet and muddy conditions at Karori Park. Here Victoria was not able to win a match and took the wooden spoon. However, the spirits of team members were quickly revived at the tournament dine and dance soon afterwards. Leading players during these successful years included the brilliant Bruce Judge, Brian Turner, Alan Read, Thur Borren and Jan Borren. By winning the senior title in three successive years and six times in the past seven years the men's top teams had achieved a unique and exceptional milestone in the history of the club. No other period in the history of hockey at Victoria University could compare with these achievements. With fine international players such as Bruce Judge, Jan Borren and Peter Byers demonstrating high standards of skill on the field backed by a high club morale and a depth of talent further success appeared inevitable. The only sad note occurred in 1969 with the death of founder member and patron, Colonel R. St. J. Beere. His long association with the club began in 1901 and ended fittingly with the club's star at its zenith.
With a new patron, Mr A. Cousins and with Nev Compton as president, the club entered the 1970s in good heart. Five teams were entered into competition although their results were not quite as good as those scored in the previous few years. The senior team finished third while the senior reserve and senior reserve B teams both ended the season with second place in their respective grades. Prominent players included Bruce Judge, Brian Turner, Derek Wilshere, R. Twist and Mark Lumsden. Other results in both local competition and winter tournament were fairly modest but social activities did not diminish either in number or enjoyment. One club report noted with interest that " ... a table top dance was performed at the dinner by two persons who prefer to remain unnamed ..." and went on to express concern at "... a remarkable burst of invective unleashed by the captain at the rather meek and mild goalkeeper of the Canterbury women's A team."
In 1971 success returned to the senior team which finished first equal in the senior competition. This side won 10 and drew 6 of its 17 matches. The senior second division team also shared the title in its grade. Brian Turner (captain), Robin Kendrick, Derek Wilshere and Mark Lumsden were selected to represent Wellington that season. The Western Park became the focal point for aftermatch "choir practices."
Attempts to gain the use of Kelburn Park as a hockey field proved fruitless because of lack of support from the Wellington Hockey Association. The goal of having a club pavilion at its own home ground seemed a pipe dream at that time. In 1972 the men's club fielded five teams with the senior team sharing second equal position in the grade. This team was based on an experienced core of long-serving players with the addition of Ashley Corbett from Auckland and Neil Bruce from Dunedin. Mark Lumsden and Graeme Sykes looked after a team of schoolboys from PoriruaTitahi Bay. Ashley Corbett, Bruce Judge, Robin Kendrick and Brian Turner represented both Wellington and the North Island in major matches that season. Social activities centred on aftermatch gatherings at the Western Park Tavern and the W.H.A.'s pavilion at Anderson Park.
A year later the men's senior team gained third place in the top grade but the second grade side took out the championship with an excellent record of nine wins and one loss from ten matches. A new system of incentives was introduced with prizes awarded for the club team scoring the most goals, having the least goals scored against it and the team scoring the most goals from penalty comers. These awards, which promoted club spirit, were funded by Mr A. Kirkham, patron of the club. At that time Victoria hosted a visit from an Australian Universities team with the home eleven losing 0-2 after a hard-fought encounter. An enjoyable social was held that evening at Anderson Park where the visitors joined in with bouts of stirring and humorous drinking songs encouraged by Nev Compton, the club president. Other notable happenings included an end-of-season function at Anderson Park, after match meetings at the Western Park Tavern and the annual cabaret at the student union building.
In the mid 1970s Bruce Judge, John Grainger, John Scott, Don Sandford and M. Arnott provided a solid core of talent in the senior team. The loss of Brian Turner to Dunedin was a blow, partly compensated for by the return of Jan Borren from Christchurch. In 1974 the senior side finished second in the grade and a close second to Massey at winter tournament. Bob Rosemergy conducted strenuous fitness sessions on Wednesday nights while Nev Compton worked hard to secure a pavilion at Kelbum Park. Bruce Judge, John Grainger and John Scott represented Wellington in provincial matches while John Scott was chosen as vice-captain of the N.Z.U. team which, toured Australia.
By 1976 Nev Compton's efforts had paid off and the club had its own clubrooms at Kelbum Park. This was a happy arrangement with the university cricket club which had been the driving force in getting the pavilion built and whose members practised at the park in summer. Don Sandford, John Compton and Nev Compton worked hard to organise the new facility which proved an ideal focal point for club activity.
There was a visit by an Australian Universities team at that time. This side took part in winter tournament held in Christchurch and played two tests against New Zealand Universities. Canterbury won the tournament but the visitors won both tests. These losses reflected the gradual decline in the standard of N.Z.U. hockey since the late 1960s.
The men's club celebrated its 75th Jubilee over the weekend of May l4th-15th 1977. On Saturday the three top teams of the club played matches at Anderson Park watched by a host of former players. Over 50 members attended the Jubilee Dinner on Saturday night which began at the students union and ended at Club Exotique. On Sunday morning a team of "present" players, made up with members from four of the club's teams, beat a team of "golden oldies" 3-2 and that afternoon the senior team beat Wellington 2-1. Peter Chetwin marked the occasion by presenting a cup to be awarded to the greatest club contributor each season. The first winner was John Scott.
A major development at this time in New Zealand was the introduction of a national inter-club knockout competition in which 62 teams from various parts of the country took part. A Victoria men's team was successful in reaching the final eight in the inaugural year with wins over Greytown 31, Wairarapa 4-2, Karori 3-1, before losing to Sommerville in Auckland 2-5.
For the first time too, a liaison committee was set up with members from both the men's and women's clubs to meet regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest. Two successful socials were held in the new clubrooms at Kelbum Park and members of both clubs combined in a non-stop 20-hour marathon. A successful end-of-season cabaret was held at Clares while the men's club was also able to obtain some financial assistance through sponsorship.
In 1979 the men's club produced some good results with the senior team finishing second equal in the competition. The senior third- division side also came second in the grade. A Victoria team won the C. V. Walter Mug with a 2-1 win over Canterbury University to end the season on a high note. However, both the men's and women's teams fared poorly at winter tournament in Dunedin. George Crowder and John Melhuish gained N.Z.U. selection.
The club entered teams in the Wanganui and Fielding five-a-side tourneys that year as well as taking part in an expanded indoor hockey competition. The performance of this men's team ranged from startling success to error-ridden incompetence. A composite team from Victoria provided a highlight when it surprisingly defeated a full-strength side from Massey 3-1. Members enjoyed a number of successful social gatherings at Kelbun Park.
In 1980 the two clubs completed reasonably successful seasons. Robyn Blackman was selected in the New Zealand team while both Blackman and Lesley Monk represented Wellington A in provincial matches. Di Caird was chosen for an N.Z.U. selection. The most successful women's team was the second grade A team which swept aside all opposition in the first round and gained promotion to first grade. Some of the younger players who shone were Janie Field, Jo Marshall, Belinda Caselberg, Jo Gill and Margot Cory-Wright.
During that year club members took part in a successful Jogathon, a golf competition, a Top Dog competition, a women's seven-a-side tournament at Palmerston North, five-a-side tournaments andsome great socials. The men's team beat Massey 4-3 while the visiting Massey women's team never showed up for the annual fixture.
Consistent performances by the senior men's team brought rewards with second place in the top grade competition and a fine win over Karori, the championship winners, in the final of the national knockout competition. John Melhuish was outstanding in goal while John Scott, Mark Penman, and Victor Strang performed well in many matches. The second grade men's team won its grade losing only one game during the season. A visit by an Australian Universities team provided a highlight. The match against Victoria resulted in a narrow 2-1 win to the visitors. The men's tournament team finished second at winter tournament. John Melhuish and Wayne Buckingham played for the winning N.Z.U. team in the test against Australian Universities. Led by Ross Meyer, Victoria beat Canterbury for the C.V. Walter Mug.
The best performed men's sides of 1982 were the senior fifth and senior sixth division with both teams taking second place in their respective grades. The senior team managed to reach the quarter finals of the H.W. Smith knockout competition. Neville Mallard represented N.Z.U. while Jan Borren, Arthur Borren, Toon Borren, Wayne Buckingham and Richard Jarrett were selected for Wellington A. Successful fund-raising activities resulted in some finance being used for the repair and maintenance of the Kelburn Park pavilion. Entertaining speeches were delivered by Nev Compton, Derek Wilshere and Margot-Cory Wright at the annual dinner and Mike Vash deservedly won the Peter Chetwin Cup for allround excellence.
A Combined Club in the 1980s
A growing desire among members for a union of the two university hockey clubs in the early 1980s became more evident. An important step towards amalgamation occurred with the setting up of a combined committee to prepare reports on various aspects of the proposal. These were strongly supported at a special general meeting towards the end of 1982. The committee was directed to prepare a new constitution to be presented at the inaugural annual meeting of the new combined club in 1983. The new constitution was adopted and a combined Victoria University of Wellington Hockey Club was born.
Amalgamation proved successful with more teams taking the field each week, increased contact among club members and efficient administration. There were more shared practices and greater after-match socialising. Vivienne Bogle and Hillary Gill, members who had done much to foster women's hockey in Wellington, were deservedly elected as life members of the new club in 1983.
In that year the women's teams performed better than their male counterparts. The first grade team won its competition and the grade promotion round to gain entry to the senior reserve grade. This side remained unbeaten throughout the season. The third grade team won the championship and thus gained promotion to second grade. The senior team finished second in both the championship and the promotion-relegation round.
By 1984, under the guidance of Bob Rosemergy, patron and Nev Compton, president, the new club had made its presence felt in Wellington hockey. The results that season however, were rather mediocre in most grades. The best gained by a men's team was sixth place by the seniors. The top women's side performed better reaching the final of the knockout competition before losing 0-1 to Y.W.C.A. At winter tournament the situation was reversed with the men's team coming second to Canterbury and the women's team scoring only one win. At that time members were pleased to learn of John Melhuish's selection for New Zealand in the Champions Trophy tournament at Karachi, Pakistan. Melhuish, along with Owen Chew Lee and Derek Wilshere (manager-coach), represented N.Z.U. on the Australian tour. Leslie Monk and John Melhuish both played for Wellington A.
The opening of the National Hockey Stadium was a major development in Wellington hockey. A substantial financial contribution from Bruce Judge, former international player, was a major factor in the completion of this fine facility. The artificial surfaces were ready in time to host the finalsweekend of the H.W. Smith national inter-club knockout competition and were ideal for summer hockey. This Superturf was the catalyst that changed the nature of hockey in Wellington in significant ways. For a start the traditional Saturday fixture went by the board as players had to adjust to mid-week games often under lights. Like other clubs Victoria experienced extra demands on such aspects as administration, finance, coaching and umpiring. For example, increased fees were needed for the upkeep of the turf and because the club usually carried a high number of unfinancial members the strain on finances was severe.
The performances of the five men's teams in 1985 were again uninspiring with the exception of the senior second division team which won its grade with 15 wins, 5 drawn matches and one loss. The women's teams fared slightly better with the senior team taking second place in the championship. Leading players included Jan Loader, Lesley Monk, Robyn Sperry, Margot Cory-Wright, Robyn Ross and Jo Anastasiadis. The fourth grade team was promoted after winning the title and finished first equal in the third grade competition after winning the final round. Fiaapia Toaiola blitzed opposing defences by scoring a massive tally of 70 goals for the season.
In 1986 club fortunes declined even further as many experienced stalwarts retired or moved overseas. No teams were entered in the pre-season summer competition. The fund-raising Jogathon was supported by an enthusiastic few only, while dwindling numbers patronised social gatherings at Kelburn Park. Even the traditional end-of-season dinner was not well attended.
Some poor results were recorded that season. The best performance was recorded by the third grade women's team which came second in the grade and won promotion to finish high-up in second grade. The following players gained representative honours that season: John Melhuish (New Zealand); Tim Fowler, Joel Baker, Yvonne Joass (New Zealand Universities); Lesley Monk, Jan Loader (Wellington).
In 1987 the senior women's team broke new ground in the world of sports fashion as it discarded skirts for the new dark green shorts as part of an alternative playing uniform. This caused some controversy among administrators in the New Zealand Hockey Association but the move was wisely supported by the local association. According to Lesley Monk, one of the prime movers for change, shorts allowed more freedom of movement during play while skirts often got entangled in close exchanges. The team had immediate success winning its first club game against Hutt Valley High School Old Girls wearing gold tops and dark green shorts.
With four men's teams and five women's sides taking the field each week, teams . held practices at various venues such as Seaview, National Hockey Stadium, the university gymnasium and the long room. Club spirit as a whole tended to dissipate a bit as the focus moved to individual team spirit. Former hockey international, Lesley Monk, gained a double honour that year when she was selected as captain of the New Zealand women's softball team to compete in Taiwan. Along with Delwyn Richards and Susan Smith she played for Wellington A during 1987.
Although 1987 was a year of mixed success for the club the senior women's team played consistently well to win the championship. The fourth grade men's and women's teams also won titles which indicated a greater depth of talent. Sound coaching was provided by Derek Wilshere, Dennis Edwards, Kris Slavof and Don Churchill. The former, a dedicated enthusiast, ran all the club practices. A Victoria team won the summer competition held at the Superturf in which 60 teams took part. A men's team only represented Victoria at winter tournament held in appalling conditions at Dunedin but its results were mediocre. Victoria made amends on the social side by coming first and second in the pub crawl-run held at tournament. Tim Fowler, Joel Baker and Quentin Maioha gained N.Z.U. honours. With five men's and five women's teams competing in 1988 Victoria was certainly a major force in Wellington hockey. The senior reserve women's team and the third and fourth grade men's teams won their respective championships. The fourth grade women's team completed a fine season winning its first round then notching five wins and two draws in the third grade after being promoted.
At this time the club experienced difficult financial circumstances in a climate of soaring costs of university study and a tightening job market. To try and ease the situation a search for sponsorship was undertaken. This bore fruit when Mid-City Bar and Restaurant responded with financial assistance in 1989. A year earlier bad weather seriously affected the final round of club matches and no end-of-season dinner was organised. Richard Thornton, John Melhuish, Jan Loader, Sue Smith and Paula Na Nagara represented Wellington A while Darlene Te Hira and Paula Na Nagara were chosen for a New Zealand under-21 team. Darryl Smith won the trophy for the most valuable club member. Derek Wilshere was made a life member of the club in 1988 after a long association which began in 1961. Since that time he held many executive positions in the club as well as being club coach, captain of the senior team and coach-manager of N.Z.U. teams at various times. An accomplished player he was a stalwart of the senior team for many years.
In the same year the club learnt of the death of Cyril Walter, aged 75, the doyen of Canterbury and New Zealand university hockey. A former New Zealand captain he made a tremendous contribution to the game in this country. As a player, coach, administrator and writer he exerted a strong influence on the attitudes and approach of many players. In his honour the C.V. Walter Trust was set up to foster the development of coaching based on his methods, disciplines and philosophies. Since 1979 the C.V. Walter Mug has been contested between Canterbury and Victoria Universities. The match held in 1988 had a special significance for all taking part.
Along with Victoria's soccer and cricket clubs the hockey club agreed to contribute a share of $16,000 needed to upgrade the Kelburn Park pavilion. In that year the club's income was about $12,000 and its total expenditure was about $11,600. Generous sponsorship from Mid-City Tavern assisted with the payment of Superturf fees. Social gatherings were now held at Mid-City Tavern and at Kelburn Park. Some club members gave of their time and expertise to assist with junior hockey teams at Te Aro, Kelburn, Wadestown and Thomdon.
1990's - Years of growth
A surge in the popularity of hockey at Victoria resulted in ten women's teams and five men's teams taking the field in 1990. Most of these sides finished in the first three or four places in their grades. The women's senior third and fourth division teams won grade titles while the senior women's team reached the semi-finals of the knockout competition.
With increased sponsorship from Mid-City Tavern there was a renewed focus on unity. Player-of-the-Day prizes were introduced and a number of teams were provided with new playing shirts. A small group of members assisted with coaching at primary schools in Wadestown and Evans Bay as well as in some secondary schools such as Wellington College, Queen Margaret College and Marsden College.
A number of players represented Wellington at the highest level. These included Jan Loader, Penny Kinsella, Billie Rountree, and Richard Thornton. Tim Dryden won the most valuable player award in 1990. By 1991 Victoria was the largest club in Wellington with 206 registered players but its playing performance lagged well behind its playing strength. A notable exception was the men's sixth grade team, which won all its matches in the first two rounds. As a fashion statement Phil Bradley's team was the most stylish with matching shirts, sox, shorts and pink teddy bear headbands. The colours of these headbands varied from match to match.
Sadly, neither a men's or women's team was entered in winter tournament that year. Emerging young talent included John Bowmar, Chris Thornton, Andrew Laking, Glen Goldfinch and Richard North. Richard Thornton rejoined the New Zealand team for the two-week trip to Malaysia while Jan Loader, captain, Sandra Woodward and Richard Thornton represented Wellington in provincial matches.
In her club captain's report of 1993 Andrea Hall noted some reasons for the decline of the club's playing strength to six women's and five men's teams. These included the rising costs of playing at the National Hockey Stadium and the more competitive university environment that existed. At the time the club was plagued by a number of players who joined and then pulled out part way into the season when subscriptions were due leaving the club to pay the $50 registration fee per player. Other persistent problems included the shortage of umpires and weekly draws that were produced at very short notice.
Members who worked hard for the club that year included Colette Long, Andrea Hall, Mark Porter, Hugh Rosemergy and Tim Dryden. Jo Arcus and Craig Bell assisted with junior hockey. Generally, team performances were not outstanding though the premier women's team finished second in the championship and a strong women's team won the winter tournament. The Victoria men's tournament team also did well to come first equal.
Richard Thornton again represented New Zealand and Wellington.
Better results were recorded in 1994 with the premier 2 men's team winning its grade. Both the senior I men's team and the senior 2 woman's team took second place in their respective championships. Teams were entered in the summer hockey competition and the indoor five-a-side competition. Instead of the traditional dinner, a more relaxing barbecue and social hockey afternoon was held at the stadium. Earlier, in August, a "spring fling hockey hoolie" was held at the Tasman Hotel. Another playing highlight was the finals competition at the end of the season with five teams from Victoria taking part.
By 1995 Victoria was able to secure generous sponsorship from the Southern Cross Tavern of about $6,000 as well as $3,600 from Countrywide Bank payable over a three year period. The bank provided new playing shirts for the entire club. The bank's logo was now displayed on all playing gear and new coaching clinics were set up. During 1995 the club had no elected club captain though Lindsay Karsten acted as a figurehead club captain. In this season the senior men's team beat all other opposing teams except Indians while the men's senior second division side gained second place in its grade. Most valuable member awards went to Richard North, Jo Arcus and Anthony Brown, while Wendy Purdon, Jo Arcus and Tim Dryden won prizes for their work with junior hockey.
The premier 2 men's team won the Teams Cup.
At the fourteenth annual meeting of the combined hockey club Wendy Purdon, the club captain, commended the club's eleven teams for their good performances during the 1996 season. She noted that the new (no) offside rule had resulted in some big scores with some teams winning by 8, 9 and 10 goal margins. Both the premier 1 women's team and premier 2 men's team won their respective grades that year while the premier 2 men's team and senior I women's team came third in their competitions. The committee took steps to reduce a club debt which had grown to more than $11,000 by the end of the summer of 1996. By increasing subscriptions, introducing subscription payment plans and early registration payments, this debt was significantly reduced during the season. Hugh Rosemergy, Club Captain, Elise Vine, treasurer and Colette Long, secretary, worked hard, along with other stalwarts to develop efficient administration and sound finance over the summer period.
The introduction of a new six-a-side twilight hockey competition in February-March, 1997 gave new impetus to Wellington hockey. The club also entered a team in the central league's round robin tourney. Local hockey supporters also enjoyed a visit by a Japanese national team which played matches in Wellington during February that year.
A major accomplishment of the 1997 season was the performance of the women's premier one team in winning the championship title with an unblemished record. Coached by Steve Symonds the side went through the season unbeaten. Led by Anna Brenssell, with fine support from players such as Jan Loader and Rowan Cass the team racked up some big wins. Sharp work by the university strikers and good defence by goalie, Reiden Leete, saw Victoria clinch the title in a penalty stroke shoot-out after a drawn final with Eastern.
A more positive climate surrounded the club in 1998 when the committee achieved some important goals. A full committee was elected, the overdraft was reduced significantly, an improved administrative structure was set up and the construction of a new data base and use of email proved invaluable. Leading this revival were Hugh Rosemergy, Colette Young, Greg Williams and Matt Wynne. Zebos again provided the club with generous sponsorship while extra funds were also provided by the university sports council to assist with the running of the N.Z.U. sports tournament in Wellington. The club was able to field ten teams in 1998. An excellent season by the premier 2 women's team resulted in a title win after Hutt was beaten 1-0 in the final. The senior 4 men's team also won its grade after a thrilling final against Indians. Goalkeeper, Terry Sugrue, made some great saves to secure the title after a penalty stroke shoot-out followed a drawn match.
Suzie Pearce joined the New Zealand team for the World Cup tournament in the Netherlands that year and was also a member of the national team which won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. Suzie Pearce and Priya Bhikha represented Wellington A that season while Mary Annear, Paula Bevin, Priya Bhikha, Harriet Miller, Suzie Miller, Rowan Pearson and Marcus Williams were selected for New Zealand Universities. Anna Brenssell and Suzie Pearce played for the New Zealand women's indoor team while the young and talented Priya Bhikha was selected for the national under-18 side.
The introduction of the national hockey league in 1999 resulted in a change to the structure of the local competition. A subsidiary club round was played for six weeks until the national league was completed. Ten club teams performed well with eight of these reaching the semi-finals of their grades. From six finalists three of Victoria's teams were successful in winning titles.
Victoria got off to a flying start in the Millennium Year of 2000 with ten teams entered in competition and with strong premier 1 teams. The entry of the New Zealand women's Olympic side in the local premier 1 men's competition added a new dimension to Wellington hockey and aroused widespread interest. This team, coached by Jan Borren, captured national attention later with some fine performances at the Sydney Olympics.
During this season a number of talented young players had a strong impact on the performances of the club's top teams. Priya Bhikha gained the honour of winning the inaugural Leilani Read Carilon Club scholarship. A Wellington representative, she was chosen as a member of the national under-20 hockey academy as well as winning a place in the New Zealand junior World Cup squad for 2001. She was also selected for the New Zealand under-21 team. Nicky Hunter, another young star, won a place in the national under-18 team. These young prodigies appear to be following in the footsteps of internationals, Suzie Pearce and Rachel Sutherland, whose appearances for the club have been inhibited at times by their representative commitments.
Some good results were recorded in 2000. The premier 2 women's team took the championship title for the third time in a row while the premier 1 women's team finished third in the grade. The premier 3 men's team won the grade for the second consecutive year scoring 45 goals in seven matches. The premier 1 team could only manage fourth place.
Financially, the club performed well with James Grover, treasurer, making good use of the club's database as well as keeping outstanding subscriptions to a minimum. An efficient administration was led by Colette Long, secretary. Her departure at the end of the season was a major blow. Her efforts in organising three N.Z.U. Games, club trials, various women's teams and in the day-to-day running of the club were outstanding and often went unrecognised. Zebos Bar again provided generous sponsorship and this venue was well patronised by club members.
In 2001 the club's top teams performed well though no premier 1 titles were won. During Victoria's centenary year the club hosted a visit by an Aberdeen University men's team on its tour of New Zealand. The visitors were billeted by club members and fought out a fast-paced, exciting match in Wellington which Victoria won 4-2. In local competition the premier 1 men's team finished third in the championship after losing the second Semifinal against Hutt in a sudden death finish. With the scores level at 1-1 Victoria lost 4-5 on penalty strokes. Ably led by John Bowmar, this team was coached by the veteran, Derek Wilshere. The women's premier 1 team, having beaten the eventual title winner Dalefield earlier, met this team again in the final after the latter side had won its semifinal against Eastern Hutt. After an exciting encounter which ended with the scores level, Victoria lost the match on penalty strokes.
It appears that Victoria's star is again rising. With 198 members in 2001 the club has the largest membership for years. For the first time in recent history there have been two premier 2 men's teams and an extra reserve 1 team. The premier 2 men's team (green) and the premier 3 men's team won their grades while the premier 2 women's team won its competition. In addition eight out of the club's twelve teams reached the semi-finals.
These successes were enhanced by the facts that the premier 2 women's team had won the title for the fourth consecutive year and the premier 3 men's success was its third win in a row. The crowning glory for the club however, was the award of "Club of the Year," to the Victoria University of Wellington Hockey Club by the Wellington Hockey Association. This honour was well deserved for a club which has developed a culture that engenders success, is well-organised, well-managed, with an inclusive and relaxed atmosphere that has helped to build good club spirit.
Leading players to gain representative honours included James Nation who represented New Zealand and Wellington, Suzie Pearce who gained the rare honour of being named as New Zealand captain and Rachel Sutherland who was selected for New Zealand and Wellington. An emerging group of young talent were led by Prya Bhikha, Nicky Hunter, Brooke Shearer, Amanda Rohloff, James Timperley, Toby Peacock, John Strang, Tim Herrick, Shane Rivers and Nick Connolly.
A men's team took part in the New Zealand University Sport Easter tournament. The team gained bronze medals finishing a close third. Simon McDowell, Geoff Ewington, Rahul Govindan, James Timperley and John Strang were named in the North Island Universities team while John Strang gained N.Z.U. selection. John Bowmar was chosen to coach the Wellington under-21 representative team and the Wellington B side while Hugh Rosemergy was named as assistant coach of the Wellington womens team.
As the club begins its journey for the next one hundred years after its Centenary celebrations have been completed in October 2001, it appears certain that the ethos and traditions of green and gold hockey will continue to shape Victoria's development. A host of talented players, coaches, administrators and many colourful and capable members will pass through the club as the years roll on. A number will make a significant contribution to the club's progress in the future. Some may take the club and the great game of Hockey in new and perhaps unexpected directions because change in sport is inevitable. These new leaders however, may well feel the discerning gaze and sense the guiding spirits of those first sporting pioneers a century ago as they shape the future. They may recall that solid foundations were laid by such stalwarts as Rawden St. J. Beere, George Dixon, "Charlie" Bollard, Robert Stout, Norm Jacobsen, Miss M. Neumann, Miss A. Harding and Eddie McLeod.
2017 P1M Team
Bibliography and Sources of Information
Victoria University Ladies Hockey Club reports contained in issues of "The Spike,' magazine of Victoria College, numbers 5 - 36, 47, 48. (June 1904 - 1948).
Victoria University Hockey Club reports contained in issues of "The Spike," magazine of Victoria College, numbers I to 76 (June 1902 - 1948).
"Historical Survey," an article by Ivor Ting, in the 1949 issue of "The Spike," magazine, number 77.
Copies of newspaper sports reports supplied by "The Evening Post," Wellington.
Information made available from the Beaglehole Room and main library at Victoria University of Wellington.
Various annual reports of the Wellington Hockey Association from 1970 to 1998.
Information from Victoria University Students Association.
The issue of the student newspaper, "Salient," dated September 15, 1980.
Information supplied by University Sport New Zealand.