59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Sunday, August 25, 1996

SH-Issue 10: 960825

Hi Cathedralites,

My hockey tale seems to have struck a chord in many of you. Thanks for all the nice words. I think I just enjoy writing about these events. I am so glad that you all seem to enjoy reading about them.

The sequel to that drawn game was not too good. The following year we had to travel to Bishops School in Poona to play them on their home ground. Our hockey team was really oriented to playing on grass. The pitch at Bishops was just plain earth and gravel and we could do nothing right. It was just to dusty and messy for us. I had no grip on the ground and was slipping all over the place. All the great saves I made that day, and there were plenty of them, were pure accident.


Hockey Team of 1959
Back Row: Andy Gordon, Mistri, Maurice Belcourt, Arvind Thadani,
Trevor Newnes, Ashok Kapur

Seated: Noel Ezekiel, Vijay Nayar, Jaffar Hussain,
Mr. Jagdish Pande, Viney Sethi
Seated on the ground. Jacob Matthan

I had a very difficult game. I was a slightly better goalkeeper than the previous year, having matured rather well, but even my heroic efforts could not stop us being trounced fairly and squarely - I think it was 3-0. Not a game I would like to remember as it was pobably the largest score line by which we ever lost any game.

That trip to Poona otherwise was really a great one. The Ruias had a guest house in Poona. Our group of about 15 did not stay at the Bishops Dormitories but at the Guest House. It was great fun as it was extremely well equipped and the Ruias had a great vegetarian cook at the Guest House. Ashok and Anil were great hosts.

Do the sporting contests with Bishops and Mayo College in Ajmer still occur or have they been replaced by the school taking part in the local circuits?

Now, the much promised story - about Jesse Owens.

I joined Cathedral in 1954. I had transferred from Bangalore where I had studied at Bishop Cottons, which was great school with plenty of playing fields - we had a first eleven cricket pitch and right down to a fifth eleven playing pitch.

So sports was part and parcel of the way of life of us Cottonians. I was therefore taken aback to find the school in Bombay without a single sports field within sight.

I had asked our class teacher, Mr. Timmins about this. He promptly put me down to take part in the school athletics championships which was hardly a few days hence.

I entered the high and long jump (the days of egg and spoon races were far gone by then) and I was asked to turn up at the CCI for training. Being lanky and springy and having had the benefit of the sports culture of Cottons, it was a piece of cake, except I had to come second, as my elder brother was in the same juniors group. He took the first prize while I came second, both of us breaking the junior high jump and long jump records in the bargain.

This double win by these two brothers from the south made us exteemly popular and we were in great demand for all the sporting events - for Savage House.

Just about that time we heard that Jesse Owens was going to visit Bombay. There was much excitement in the air as we heard that he was going to visit the school. That was a false rumour. What had been arranged was that he would conduct a training session for some of the members of our school at the CCI. Both my brother and I were among those chosen to take part in the training session.

I hardly understood a word of his American English as he talked to us and told us how to do the straddle and western roll - a far cry from today's style of high jumping. But the real thrill was when he showed us how to do really do the long jump. He did not have to talk, but he showed us that as we left the ground we should start pedalling as we if we were riding a cycle. I think within a couple of jumps we were doing a foot more than previously.

To my mind, it was one of the most rewarding evenings of my life having had a chance to spend a couple of hours actually being trained by this almighty individual. I am sure that if Indian youngsters were given this same opportunity today we would motivate them to become winners in the sporting arena.

Your Cathedralite friend,

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, August 11, 1996

SH-Issue 9: 960811

Hi Cathedralites,

Continuing my reference of last week to Mr. Pande, he was in charge of our hockey team 1st Eleven when I reached the Xth Standard. There was quite a tough battle for the post of goal-keeper between a good friend, the late Ghatge, also of Savage House, and myself.

In my opinion, Ghatge was a better goal-keeper than me. However, I was more regular for practice and I was the more sociable fellow. So I got the into the team.


1958 Cathedral Hockey Team
(59ers unless otherwise mentioned)
Back Row: Maurice Belcourt (61er), Viney Sethi, Ghatge, Arvind Thadani,
Ashok Kapur, Andy Gordon
Seated: Vijay Nayar, Harmindar Uberoi (56er), Jimmy Tata (57er),
Mr. Jagdish Pande (Staff), Jaffar Hussain (58er)
Seated on ground: Jacob Matthan

We had a good team in 1958 with most of the players being from our class. Viney Sethi was centre forward, Ashok Kapur the inside right. Rodericks was a very fast outside right and Trevor Newnes was extremely fast on the left flank. Vijay Nayar (hockey captain the following year) was a solid left half-back. Captain of the side was 57er Jimmy Tata for part of the season and 58er Jaffar Hussain (related to film actress Nargis) for the latter part. We had a great full backs in Arvind Thadani and 57er Jimmy Tata.

With such efficient full-backs I really did not have much work to do except when Mr. Pande or Mr. Zavala, our Peruvian Geography master (he was far better at football than hockey) came pounding down on top of me in the staff versus students match. Tall and sportsmanlike, the late Mr. Salmon, our English teacher, was also a fast staff forward that I had to contend with, although he was more of a cricketer than a hockey player. Mr. Gregory (our Chemistry teacher) was also always attacking and if it had not been for our half and full back line up, we would have been licked thoroughly by the staff side. However, on most occasions our fast forwards were able to keep the score line in our favour.

Mr. Pande used to make me train with my pads on, that is run around the hockey field with the heavy pads strapped on. This meant that I was literally doing double the training of my team-mates. It did stand me in good stead later.

The key match of that year was when the team from Bishops School in Poona came to Bombay. It was an early morning match at the Bombay Gym. I had been warned of the lightening speed of their outside right Dudley (if I remember his name correctly).

Our team played brilliantly but we just were unable to score a goal. The ball never came to me right through the first half. All through the second half we kept pressing but did not get a goal.

It was just a few minutes before the end when, suddenly, Dudley broke loose on the right flank near their 25 yard line, left Jimmy standing and outstripped Arvind just past midfield. As I saw him reach the 25 yard line there was no one but me for him to beat. Normally, I would have charged to the top of the D to cover the angle, but seeing his speed and excellent ball control, I held my ground just advancing a few steps to reduce his shooting angle.

Dudley came hurtling toward the D and was in perfect control. I think he was surprised that I had not rushed out to meet him. As he entered the D, I made as if I was going to rush him but stopped dead a couple of steps in front of the goal-line. This prompted him strike the ball hard and fast into the left corner of the goal, thinking he would catch me while I was moving.

I do not know what made me put out my left leg. The ball smacked hard into the curve of my foot, just below the pad and stopped dead! I think I was more surprised than anyone else. I had been certain that he would try to dribble past me.

I kicked the ball slightly in front of me and hit it hard over of the sideline just as Dudley, looking for the rebound tumbled, on top of me.

There were cheers from all round the pitch. I knew my place for the next year was safe - though it was certainly not my skill!!

Those few seconds of the drawn match were the talking point of the entire school social that evening. The guys from Bishops were a great set of lads and we had a wonderful social that year.

Query from Arnav

This week I had a very nice letter from 91er Arnav Sheth (1980-1991) who sent me a message while holidaying in Bombay. He asked me a question as to whether I could confirm whether the School Song had been written by Rudyard Kipling.

I am afraid, sitting in this Arctic Wilderness, I could not get hold of much of the works of Rudyard Kipling. Maybe one of you knowledgeable Cathedralites could let me know who authored our School Song, and probably also post me the full version so that I can put it on a separate page for reference purposes!

Arnav mentioned that the institution where he studies at in the US, "Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, is regarded as a mini-Cathedral because at one point in time there were a total of 8 Cathedralites studying there at the same time."

It is great that there is a institution which supports Cathedralites to such an extent. Arnav mentioned that Lawrence is known for the aid it offers to Cathedralites. Arnav says that rumour has it that the Dean of financial aid has said that they almost always give aid to Bombayites (of which 90% are Cathedralites) as we, apparently, have the highest GPA amongst internationals.

Sorry, no room this week to tell you about my episode with Jesse Owens, so hopefully you will listen to that tale in the next installment.

Your Cathedralite friend,

Editor Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland