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The 35th Battalion



Rugby, being the most popular game, took up all available grounds in Fiji. Undaunted by this, the hockey enthusiasts of the unit search' ed for a field. By the kind permission of the Hindu headmaster of the Nandi school the school grounds were made available to us, but not until much hard labour had been expended. For a whole afternoon a unit truck towed a mower borrowed from the RNZAF. After cane knives had completed the work and lines were marked out, a fairly rough ground resulted. Not enough players were available from each company to permit of a company competition, so teams were picked on each playing day and everyone enjoyed hitting the pill (when the grass didn't hide it). The 37th Battalion was very keen on the game, especially as its commanding officer and second-in-command formed page 125a formidable pair of full backs. A game was soon arranged and the battalion team set forth to play the match on the other team's excellent ground. It was an exciting and tough match. The 37th Battalion had turned out in full force to spur its team to victory, but we made up for the lack of supporters by leaving the field as the victors. The score was 35th, 1; 37th, o. A return match was played on the same ground a few weeks later. On this occasion a rainstorm turned the ground into a mud bath, and much fun was had by both players and spectators. The match resulted in a draw; neither side scored a point.

Back in New Zealand, at Paerata, the rugby ground was allocated to hockey for the first half of a Wednesday afternoon. On Saturdays an inter-unit competition was arranged and the unit again kept its fine record. Although the main Auckland competition had started, the Hockey Association allowed two army teams (from the Fiji forces) to be entered. The competition was started again, several members of the battalion being members of one team which acquitted itself really well, only suffering two defeats. Unfortunately with the brigade's transfer to Te Aroha these teams had to be withdrawn from the main competition. In Necal a fairly good ground was available and every Saturday practices were held, but no competition matches were played. Our old rivals, the 37th Battalion, were too far away for a match to be arranged. On the return to Necal hockey started again, and hope was held of having some keen games on a very good ground. However, with the leave and manpower drafts depleting the ranks, only one game against the 30th Battalion was played. This was more of a friendly game than a match, but the battalion team showed great promise and decisively beat the other team.