The Alleynian, December 1920
Dulwich College v. Bedford School.
Played at Bedford. Result: Dulwich, 1 goal 3 tries; Bedford, 2 tries.
The world knows little of its greatest men. Ask the average person what he thinks about Addison, and he will probably suppose that you are alluding to the essayist or the fellow who has the housing scheme: little knowing that the noblest of all Addisons is the one who plays on the Dulwich right wing. Any ass can write essays or build a house: the real test of greatness is the ability to slide through the defence, only a yard from the touch-line all the way. This feat Addison performed against Bedford no fewer than three times, and we raise the Wodehouse hat to him. (Owing to the increased cost of living, the same old brown one we had last year. There have been complaints about it on all sides, but the public must stick it like men till the straw-hat season arrives.)
We also nominate for the Hall of Fame the venerable Joubert, who, though he has been in the first fifteen since the days when they used to play in whiskers and top-hats, can seldom have played a finer game than he did on Saturday, October the 23rd. He was terrific.
Bedford kicked off down the hill at 2.35, and at once attacked. But, owing to their three-quarters fumbling the wet ball, the game came back to half-way, Gubbin doing some good work in the loose and Joubert punting well. The Bedford forwards, who played a strong game all through the first half, rushed back, and the three-quarters got going, Addison eventually tackling Ingles, who was their fastest man and had scored three tries against the Leys on the previous Saturday. Murtrie found touch near half-way with a splendid kick. Hill and Gubbin did some energetic work, but Bedford again reached our twenty-five. Here Cazalet came away with a great dribble the whole length of the ground, and looked as if he might score, but the Bedford back saved, and a return rush sent them back well into our half, where Faletti picked up beautifully and found touch with a long kick. Our forwards had not yet got together, and were troubled by the slope against them, and they could not hold the Bedford pack. The Bedford three-quarters got on the move, and Joubert saved a certain try by tackling the left centre on the line. From now on Bedford pressed incessantly. Once Hill got away with a fine dribble to half-way, but the game was on our line again almost immediately. Our outsides, helped by Roberts who came out of the scrum to defend, tackled magnificently—Joubert, Robottom and Murtrie bringing men down within a yard or two of the line. It was pretty evident, however, that if the Bedford forwards continued to play as well as they had been doing for the last ten minutes, that they could not be kept out for long, and, finally, at ten minutes to three, Irvine forced his way over. The kick failed, though from a fairly easy position. Bedford, 3; Dulwich, nil.
The ball was much easier to hold now, and the Bedford three-quarters did some good passing, reaching our twenty-five, where we were penalised not far from the left touch-line. The kick went wide, and we touched down. After the drop-out, Cazalet made another good dribble, but the Bedford back, with a fine kick, returned to touch in our twenty-five. Addison, who, as the Bedford scheme of attack seemed to consist largely in getting the ball out to Ingles, had a lot of tackling to do, never made a mistake, and it was about now that one realised with some relief that, fast as Ingles was, Addison was yards faster, and could hold him comfortably. Bryant, Smith and Gubbin rushed the ball to half-way. The Bedford forwards came back to our twenty-five, and there, exactly opposite the goal posts, Thomas, carried away by a generous ambition to nip round and extinguish the scrum-half before he could get the ball away, got off-side: and we were just moistening our pencil to record a further score for Bedford, when the kick failed. It was an amazing bit of luck for us, and another followed shortly afterwards, when in the middle of a rush one of their forwards only just failed to drop a goal. Directly after this, Addison made a wonderful tackle, and our forwards rushed to near halfway. The ball came out on our side of the scrum, and for the first time in the game Addison got going and sprinted right through to the back. He punted over the back’s head, but just too far, and they touched down. It was the first time since the kick-off that one really felt that we might be going to win after all. Just before half-time, Murtrie and Addison got away again, and Addison found touch in the Bedford twenty-five. Murtrie saved well and stopped a forward rush. Smith was good in the loose, and half-time came with our forwards well inside the Bedford twenty-five, playing in a way that suggested promising developments in the next half.
At 3.22 the game was restarted, and at once everything began to go right. With the hill in their favour, our forwards found their game. It seemed, too, as if the Bedford pack had found the pace of the first half too much for them, for we were as much on top as they had been in the first thirty-five minutes. Our three-quarters started attacking strongly. The Bedford back relieved with a good kick, but Joubert came back with a splendid run right into their twenty-five. And from the scrum that followed the ball travelled right across to Addison, who nipped in in the corner from about twenty yards out. Time, 3.22. Joubert failed with a difficult kick. Bedford, 3; Dulwich, 3.
A long dribble by Thomas set us attacking again. Joubert stopped a forward rush in great style. Addison was tackled in their twenty-five. The Bedford back found touch in our thirty-five with a fine punt, and we were forced back into our twenty-five, where Bryant and Roberts were conspicuous. The game came back to half-way. Robottom made a splendid tackle after the Bedford forwards had rushed to near our line. The game was on our line for a couple of minutes, and then Joubert made a great fighting run to half-way. Bedford, playing up very hard, reached our line again, where Joubert saved another try with a brilliant bit of tackling. We got back to our twenty-five line, but lost the ball in the scrum and their three-quarters got away. They sent it across to Ingles, who, tackled by Addison, whipped back an excellent return pass to his centre, who ran over in the corner. A good kick failed. Bedford, 6; Dulwich, 3.
There followed the most sensational bit of play of the day. Bedford had scored their second try at 3.37. At exactly 3.38, from the first scrum formed after the kick-off, Thomas had the ball out to Murtrie, who passed to Cazalet after a short run. Cazalet cut through the centre and handed on to Faletti: and Faletti, who might have held on a second longer with advantage, passed to Addison near the touch-line. Addison’s wing was right on top of him, but Addison was at top speed with his first stride, and up to the back before Ingles could shape for a tackle. There was no chance of dodging. A yard to the right and he would have been in touch. Speed was the only thing that could put the thing through, and Addison gave an imitation of the untamed gazelle of the African veldt which has rarely been surpassed. The back just managed to touch his heel, and he was through and in in the corner. And what a treat it is, our beloved hearers, to see a wing go hard and straight for the corner flag, and how jolly to feel that both our wings this year do it all the time. Joubert could not convert from so far out, and the scores were level again. Dulwich, 6; Bedford, 6.
The team were playing now like heroes. The forwards shoved stoutly, and the outside combination was immense. Indeed, it must be put on record that not a single pass was dropped all through this second half. After the kick-off Addison made another brilliant run, and Hill and Smith took the ball on to the Bedford fifteen yards. Here Murtrie, very judiciously trying to find touch on the line, unluckily kicked over, and Bedford touched down. But a good effort by Cazalet brought us back to their twenty-five, and at 3.43 out came the ball again from a scrum near the left touch-line, passed successfully along the line till it reached Addison, and Addison went over and round behind the posts. Joubert converted. Dulwich, 11; Bedford, 6.
Five points is a nice lead in a School match, but not good enough for Robottom. You remember Robottom? Chap who scored twice against Merchant Taylors—a bright lad who had been doing a lot of good tackling all through the game, but so far had not had much chance of attack, owing to the lemon always travelling in the opposite direction. Robottom is assisted in his activities by Cazalet, the pair forming a very efficient and gentlemanly left wing. Exactly one minute after Addison had scored his third try, the ball came out on the left instead of the right. Cazalet cut through and passed to Robottom. Robottom, not to be outdone in the courtesies, passed back to Cazalet. Cazalet, tackled, nevertheless found time to give the citron once more to his colleague; and, the back having shot his bolt in stopping Cazalet, Robottom sailed in behind the posts. Joubert failed to convert with the worst kick he has made since he was first tried for the School against a scratch side brought by Beau Brummel in the reign of George IV. Dulwich, 14; Bedford, 6.
There was no more scoring. Bedford came back with a last effort, and once reached our line, but we always had the situation well in hand, and the game ended in the Bedford twenty-five.
Beating Bedford on their own ground is always a feat, and this victory was all the more agreeable from the fact that twice during the game we were behind. But were we downhearted? The answer is in the negative. In addition to their other excellent qualities, this year’s team has what we will delicately call interior organs. They keep their tails up. The Bedford play in the first half was of an intimidating nature. Once or twice forwards and outsides passed and repassed quite in the manner of the old days when Bedford were an invincible machine. But our tackling was magnificent. And, once our forwards got settled down, there was no doubt as to which was the best side.
The Old Guard—Bryant, Smith, and Hill—were the backbone of our scrum. Smith played a particularly notable game. Roberts always seemed to be doing a lot, and Gubbin showed up splendidly in his first School match. He worked hard, and was always on the ball. In the first half the forwards were slow in breaking up and following, but after half-time they did wonders.
Murtrie was at the top of his form. He did not make a single mistake all through. He took his passes at top speed and opened up the game beautifully. Cazalet seems to get better every Saturday. Faletti kicked well, and only wants another game to put him really in shape. He runs strongly, if not always quite as straight as he might. This fault, however, was only noticeable in the first half. In the second half he was excellent. Thomas seemed a little at sea at scrum-half up to half-time, but after that had the ball out quickly.
Well, let us examine the situation. Merchant Taylors beat St. Paul’s, and Downside took 30 points off Sherborne. What Haileybury has been doing we do not know, but a Haileybury team is always dangerous. Still, after this Bedford match it really does look as if, provided the team keep their form, this might be one of those big years.
P. G. Wodehouse.