Bourne had chosen him to play against Shannon’s team, and as Acton bottled up the forwards on his wing Bourne felt that the school’s future right back would not be far to seek.
I soon saw that the school was not quite good enough for the others: Shannon was almost impassable, and Amber, the half, generally waltzed round our forwards, and when he secured he passed the ball on to Aspinall, who doubled like a hare along the touch-line. The question then was “Could Acton stop the flying International, who spun along like Bassett himself?” And he did, generally; or, if he could not, he forced him to part with the ball, and either Baines, our half, lying back, nipped in and secured, or Bourne cleared in the nick of time. Nine times out of ten, when Acton challenged Aspinall, the International would part with the ball to his inside partner; but twice he feinted, and before either of the school backs could recover, the ball was shot into the net with a high and catapultic cross shot. Again and again the game resolved itself into a duello between Acton and Aspinall, and Bourne, when he saw the dealings with the International and his wiles, smiled easily. He saw the school was stronger than he thought.
The interval came with the score standing at two against us. When I started the game again I found that our fellows were pulling along much better with the wind, and that some of Shannon’s men were not quite so dangerous as before, for condition told. We quickly had one through, and when I found myself blowing the whistle for a second goal I began to think that the school might pull through after all. Meanwhile Acton and Aspinall were having their occasional tussles, though somewhat less often than before, and three or four times the school back was overturned pretty heartily in the encounters.
Though there was not a suspicion of unfairness or temper on Aspinall’s part, I fancied that Acton was getting rather nettled at his frequent upsets. He was, I considered, heavier than Aspinall, and much taller, so I was both rather waxy and astonished to find that he was infusing a little too much vigour into his tackling, and, not to put too fine a point on it, was playing a trifle roughly. Aspinall was bundled over the touch-line a good half-dozen times, with no little animus behind the charge, and ultimately Bourne noticed it. Now, Bourne loathed anything approaching bad form, so he said sharply