Within a few hours of their arrival the visitors held a training session at Athletic Park, where they impressed local reporters with their ball skills and speed. The following day they left for Wanganui to open their tour on 21 May.
The Wanganui side that opposed the visitors was not a particularly strong one, and the British were expected to win without too much trouble. None of the locals had played rugby above provincial level, and no Wanganui players were nominated for the 1930 All Black trials. However, the home team put up a reasonable showing and earned the admiration of the crowd for the way it stuck to its task right to the end.
A continuous stream of country people converged on the city from the early hours. Business virtually came to a stop in the afternoon, while a large crowd, estimated at 12,000 to 15,000, saw the game. The weather was unpleasant in the morning, and intermittent showers fell until two o’clock, hut the weather had cleared by the time the game began and the ground was in good order.
As Sobey led the visitors out, the Wanganui Garrison Band struck up “The British Grenadiers”, followed by “Maori Melody” as the local team ﬁled onto the ﬁeld behind Ken Gibbons. Sobey won the toss and elected to play with the stiff breeze behind him.
Play had been in progress for some time before Ivor Jones registered the ﬁrst points of the tour. Snapping up a clearing kick near the Wanganui 25, he ran in towards the posts before letting fly with a dropkick which sent the hall between the posts.
The heavier British forwards kept Wanganui penned in home territory and from a ruck the ball came to Sobey, who was momentarily smothered. He managed to get his pass away to Ivor Jones, however, who whipped the ball out to Bowcott. The latter sent on to Aarvold, who cut through the disorganised defence to score a ﬁne try which Jones converted.
Wanganui fought back but faulty handling nulliﬁed their efforts. The ball came to Sobey from a scrum and although the British halfback had by now received the leg injury which put him out of the rest of the tour, he sent his backs away with a crisp pass. The ball came to Morley, who sidestepped his way inﬁeld, where he linked with Aarvold and Knowles. They switched play to Novis’s wing, sending him away for a great try which jones convened to make the score 14-0 at halftime.
The Wanganui forwards played much better in the second half, and for a time the visitors were defending. A good break by Ambrose sent Tilley away, but Nevis brought the Wanganui wing down with a tackle from behind.
McLennan picked up and dived across amid much enthusiasm from the crowd. Gibbons took the kick and although the touch-judges raised their ﬂags, the referee ruled no goal.
Bonner cut his head in a tackle on Tilley and left the ﬁeld, thus leaving the visitors virtually two short, since Sobey was almost out of action. Welsh went to fullback and Jones took over Sobey‘s role behind the scrum. Sobey hobbled around as an extra back.
Despite these difﬁculties, the visitors completed the scoring with another ﬁne try. ]ones passed to Bowcott from a scrum, and the ball came back to Jones from a reverse pass. Back it went to Bowcort, who handed on to Aarvold. As the centre was tackled he passed to Motley, who raced away for another excellent try. Jones goaled from the side-line to make the ﬁnal score 19-3.
This was a very pleasing result for the tourists, but the gilt was taken off it somewhat by the serious injury to Sobey. Jones was undoubtedly the outstanding player on the ﬁeld, and of the other visiting forwards, Rew and Beamish did splendid work. The backs dropped a few passes but were vastly superior to the home rear guard. Enough was seen of Sobey to convince the crowd that he was a player of the highest class, while Aarvold appealed for his incisive running and his speed through the gaps. Both wings were very good, and Bonner appeared to be a very efficient fullback.
Ambrose played well for Wanganui, making the most of what few chances came his way. Lowry and Lumsden secured a fair amount of possession from the set scrums.
At the dinner after the game, Baxter, a member of the International Rugby Board, began a tirade against the use of the wing forward which he maintained for the rest of the tour. He made it clear that he was not criticising Walden in particular but wing forwards generally, saying that the activities of the men playing in this position were contrary to the spirit of rugby football. Baxter’s hitter outbursts during the course of the tour had a profound effect on the International Board’s legislation which led to the demise of the wing forward and the removal of a distinctive feature of the New Zealand game.