February 2 - 1946 Fullbacks score in 'Kiwis' win

The NZEF “Kiwis” were relatively untroubled to beat Northern Counties 25 – 8 in the rain at Newcastle-on-Tyne. A feature of the match was that both fullbacks scored tries (try scoring fullbacks were a rarity in the 1940s) and that both were New Zealanders. Herb Cook did the honours for the “Kiwis” and Dr Brian “Tom” Ritchie, ex Timaru, for the Counties.

Herb Cook

From “Broadcasting with the Kiwis” by Winston McCarthy. Pub. By Sporting Publications 1947. P. 69-70.

“20th Match

v. Northern Counties,—at the County Ground, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The Northern Counties team was comprised of players from Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland and Westmorland. At full-back for the Counties was Dr. Brian (“Tom”) Ritchie, late of Timaru. The County Ground, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, had been converted into a “dog-track” for greyhound racing, and the stands were a mass of girders and electric lights. The field bad been covered with straw, and as it rained throughout the match, things became a bit muddy.

Boggs had hard luck in not scoring after nine minutes, following another of his productive “kick and run hard, and kick agaln” efforts. From a line-out he had the experience of being brought back to his own twenty-five for a. line-out after the Referee had awarded him the try. This’ was a case of “the Referee’s dream;’’ for having awarded the try, the Referee’s attention was drawn to the touch-judge still having his flag up. But instead of the Referee going to the touch-judge and enquiring why he still had his flag raised, he ordered the players back for the line-out, and did not go near the touch-judge at all. Just a point worth remembering, in case any of you who take up refereeing should ever be in a like position!!

The Counties scored first, after 26 minutes of play, when, following a dropped pass by the Counties, the Navy player, Peel, dribbled over for a try, which Ritchie converted (0-5).

Cook opened the “Kiwi” scoring with a difficult penalty (3-5).

The New Zealand forwards were playing a very loose game, and Saxton was having a torrid time. He rallied them though, and then in two minutes came two tries. First, Simpson forced his way over following a line-out, and then Saxton sent Thornton over, following a ruck on the open side. Cook converted Thornton’s try, and the score was 11-5 at half-time.

Five minutes after the second half started, Young scored one of his great individual tries. He picked up the ball as it dribbled from a loose ruck, half-way between the Counties’ twenty-five and half-way. Running hard straight up the centre he fended off man after man and scored between the posts. It was a grand try, and Cook missed a ‘‘sitter” (14-5). Meates’ turn next; receiving in an orthodox back movement on the Counties’ 10-yard mark, he raced. through a gap and scored 15 yards from the corner. Cook’s kick missed (17-5).

The Counties next scored: a back movement seemed likely to break down, when Ritchie joined in on the wing and raced across in the corner. He missed the kick (17-8).

Meates beat his opposite number again to send Boggs away on a strong run; the winger scored in the corner. Cook kicked a lovely goal to make the score 22-8.

Right on time Cook surprised the opposition by joining in a back movement. He went through very fast and scored 15 yards from the corner, but could not kick the goal. The final score was 25-8, we having seen the unusual, sight of both full-backs scoring a try—in the rain!”