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Tuesday, 21 May 2019 04:36 pm

Eastbourne Rugby Club honours its old timers

May 21st, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News, Sport

CLUB history, great games and good times were recalled at  Eastbourne Rugby Club’s H.W. Shortt Park on old timers day.

Eastbourne MAIN

CLUB LEGENDS: Former Eastbourne players Don Griffin, left, and Arthur Press played in some of Eastbourne's memorable games in the 1950's.

Eastbourne rugby manager Willie Davis says the day honours people who had helped shape and create the club.

“It’s a celebration of Eastbourne rugby’s past, present and supporters.”

Davis says a decision made 10 years ago to amalgamate the Eastbourne RSA, cricket and rugby clubs to help maintain their clubrooms was a success for the club, the smallest in Wellington, and this decision had put the club into a stronger position than it had been for years.

“The club is in the best shape that it has been for 10 years in all ways including financially.”

Only a small group of past players gathered at the celebration, including one of Eastbourne rugby’s life members and legends Pieter Smuts-Kennedy.

Mr Smuts-Kennedy began playing tight forward for Eastbourne in 1946, was also the club secretary, vice-chairman and president.

He says the old timer’s days have bought back only small amounts of past players and administrators associated with the club, but anniversaries bring in larger numbers.

“One of the biggest celebrations was the 75th back in 1996, a lot of old timers came back to the club for that.”

This year’s old timers day attendees will hopefully be only a small portion of the number that come, when it celebrates its 90th anniversary next year.

The club has about 200 junior players among its 12 junior teams and its only senior team plays in the 2nd division under 85 kg grade.

Eastbourne rugby has only produced one player who has got amongst the big time, Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush, who played up to under-13s for the club.

Mr Davis says the club finds it difficult to retain players.

“It gets hard for the club when kids leave under 13s to go play for the colleges and don’t come back until they’re 18 or 19 to play senior rugby.”

The senior team played in its first game of the season on the day against Rimitaka, putting on an outstanding performance to convincingly beat them 35-10, while the junior teams played at various times throughout the day.


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is a journalist in the making, with the aim to become a sports journalist. He enjoys all sports especially rugby league.
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3 comments
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  1. alot of waters passed under the bridges since Congratulations on the Bays 90th Anniversay. Residing Brisbane Aus

  2. Great photo of the 75 trip to Aus

  3. Greetings to Don Griffin from an old Petone Pharmacy player 1971-1973….could you please pass my best onto Don…I intend to call on him soon but have’nt passed thru Wgtn for a few years…my email address in Brisbane is as above…would love to hear from him…sorry to hear the sad news about “Hardy” (Chris Neill) Cheers…

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