The match was fixed for the last Saturday in the term, and the result of the Perry Exhibition was to be announced on the evening of the same day, so the last Saturday was going to be the memorable day of the Michaelmas stretch.
If you want a full account of the match you had better write to the editor of The Amorian. He will send you the magazine with a page or so of description and account, but all I’m going to say is that Bourne and Acton played as they had never played before—I think I’ve said that before about Acton, but he really was superlative in the housers’ final—and that five minutes from time the score was “one all.” Then Acton showed the school a stroke of genius. He brought Raven out from centre-forward, where he was quite unable to cope with Bourne, whispered him to go “back” with Worcester, and before any one could realize what was happening he was playing forward himself. He’ was a “lambent flame along the ground” if you like. In a second Biffen’s were swarming round Roberts in goal, Acton passed out to Chalmers, who was ready for the pass, and in a twinkling the ball was in the net. From the row you might have imagined the school had gone mad.
[Illustration: ACTON JUST REACHED IT WITH HIS HEAD.]
The ball was kicked off again. Almost immediately Acton secured near the centre. He dribbled through the ruck of his opponents until he saw Bourne upon him. With a smile of triumph upon his lips he gently rolled the leather to Chalmers, who was hungrily waiting for the pass out on the touch-line. Chalmers waltzed beautifully for the short run almost to the corner flag. He steadied himself for one instant after his run, and then lifted the ball magnificently into the goal mouth. As the leather was skimming past, Acton just reached it with his head and deflected it high and dry out of Roberts’ reach into the net. It was the supreme effort of his splendid game.
Biffen’s had won by three goals to one!
They carried Acton off the field in ecstasy, and nearly scared Dame Biffen out of her wits by the “whisper” of “cock-house.” Well, it certainly was unusual.
After tea the whole of St. Amory’s crowded into the Speech Room to hear the result of the Perry Exhibition. There would not be a fellow away, I should fancy, bar the cripples in the hospital, for there was no end of excitement. Was this to be another Biffen’s triumph? Was Raven of the Fifth to beat Hodgson, the chosen of the Sixth, for the Perry? It was not to be expected that he would, but when the whisper circled round that Acton had ’"coached” him in classics it was agreed that perhaps there would be another feather in Acton’s cap.
The masters were there on the platform in serried ranks, the whole fifty of them, from Corker to Pfenning who “does” the music.
Corker, as usual, went straight to the mark, whilst the entire mass of fellows kept a death-like silence. “The result of the examination for the Perry Exhibition is as follows:—