1874 – Town vs Country continues

Wanganui Club’s season opened with a “” Scotch “-” English” 14 a-side match on May 16, which occupied two days, the continuation being on June 6, when English” won by one goal to nil. Between these two days, teams captained by A. Steadman and A. McDonald played a 20 a-side game-on May 25. A match, *” Nine” versus Twelve,” took place on (Wanganui), Monday, July 1, remarking: Kicking the ball ‘out of bounds’ seems to be a failing on the part of the majority of the players. . .. Numbers of scrimmages took place during the game, but the majority of the players stood looking on instead of taking a part in the maul, seeming to be afraid to use their shoulders.” June 29, The Wanganui Chronicle “Town “-” Country “ games were also played: On July 15, 15 a-side. on the Square opposite the Masonic Hotel, for a 0-0 draw; on July 18, at Aramoho, 10 a-side, for another 0-0 draw; and on August 9, again on the Square, 14 a-side, ” Town ” winning by one goal to nil. Matches between picked sides were contested on August 15, and on August 22. Wanganui players were available for both Thursday and Saturday games. Wanganui Club visited Carlyle on September 12, playing a drawn (0-0) contest with an Armed Constabulary team. however, gained one touch-down during the match, but goals only counted.

In The Wanganui Chronicle (Wanganui), Monday, September 14, was the following:- “Considering the little practice the Patea team has had they played remarkably well. Wanganui Club, Football is a game which is most. trying to the wind and strength, and requires pluck and stamina it is to be hoped the teams will never meet again in’worse condition”

Rugby Football had now been played in New Zealand for five years; Clubs had been formed in the Nelson (two), Wellington, Wanganui, Auckland (six), Thames and Taranaki (three) districts, to firmly establish the Game in the Colony.

In the early days the object of Rugby was to score goals, which could be gained either from a place-kick, a drop-kick, or a kick direct from the field. This latter kick we would know in Rugby parlance at this date as a speculator. It counted as much as any other goal. Touch downs (tries) were aimed tor too, but if gained only gave opportunity tor a place-kick at goal, the place-kick following a rather complicated ritual in the ball being ” punted out ” for the kick. Games were won by the number of goals obtained, but in some cases the captains arranged for touch downs to count in the event of the score being equal, or if no goals had been gained. The captains, too, interpreted the rules as the game proceeded; they had no guiding principle other than the meager knowledge of Rugby as verbally expounded by enthusiasts who had played the Game in England. Even these enthusiasts would at times differ, and frequently matches were held up while some point was debated and finally agreed upon. Soon Umpires began to officiate, and then printed rule books arrived in the country, to begin an era of more uniformity and less disputes.