New Zealand and the World Team Cup 1975
As last year, a UK qualifying round would see the winners going direct to the World Team Cup Final. And again, this would be a Commonwealth shoot-out between England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.
The venue was Reading with the date of July 14. This time, the Kiwis were at full strength. IVAN MAUGER was joined by BARRY BRIGGS, BRUCE CRIBB, GARY PETERSON, back after a year off and LARRY ROSS, enjoying his first year in the UK with Wimbledon. Team manager, TREVOR REDMOND at the clipboard.
However England were the defending World Champions at the top of their game and Australia, unless NZ could pull something special out of the toolbox, would be their toughest opposition.
Scotland were sadly without Bert Harkins on the injured list but they would certainly be up for a fight. Thankfully, the meeting went ahead on schedule and here is what happened;
Heat 1. MAUGER, Louis, Crump, B.Collins.
1st England 37
2nd Australia 24
3rd NEW ZEALAND 21
4th Scotland 14
For the home team, this was a walk in the park. The Kangaroos put up a spirited fight but they still were second, John Boulger being denied a maximum when he fell challenging Peter Collins in heat 9. Scotland did their best and Jim McMillan was in splendid form, his win over Peter Collins in heat 4 awarding him a tartan ovation. NEW ZEALAND. IVAN MAUGER did what he did best and the fact that he beat all the Poms, would have given him a profound sense of satisfaction. GARY PETERSON had a nightmare first half. He really should have had 3 points from heat three. Another missed gate in heat eight saw him struggling again before being forced out. However he gave a thrilling performance in heat 13, holding off John Louis for as long as he could. Being tamed by the Tiger was no disgrace. The rest gave as good as they could in each race but at the end of the day, may have been a little disappointed. No need, they did their best on the world stage.
England went on to successfully defend their World Title;
1975 World Team Cup Final. Norden, West Germany.
The organisers of the competition would surely see that both England and Australia, now needed to be in the Final. And with the 1976 Final being held at White City in London, this was a very sweet prospect. The home team and defenders would be seeded direct and Australia would qualify, a safe bet ?
NEW ZEALAND's hopes of a Final place, came to a tragic end when on October 17, GARY PETERSON was killed at Wolverhampton. At just 29 years of age, the impact he made was so powerful, he is still much loved and missed to this day.
This article was first published on 11th December 2016
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