Club Centenary April 2021
Click on the link below to see the Photo Album created to highlight the Centenary celebrations.
New Brighton Rugby Football Club celebrated it’s 100 year Centenary Celebration at Easter Weekend 2021 (2-4 April).
It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in the Centenary Organising Committee for our Centenary celebrations at Easter 2021.
Planning started around 18 months earlier, when we set about confirming what events would be part of the weekend. Our aspiration was to make it affordable, to allow as many as possible to attend the events and make it a true celebration for all past and present members.
Of course, in the background was the threat of a COVID lockdown, but thankfully we navigated the pandemic despite issues that had struck in Auckland around this time. The only dampener was that around 20-30 people had indicated they were going to be travelling to Christchurch from other parts of the world, but this was not possible.
The other issue in the background was that the Club had been undergoing a transition to the Eastern Hub and it was a push to get the work done by Easter. Thankfully this all worked out well, and in particular we were able to showcase the new downstairs lounge completed, and have our new no.1 field in pristine condition for the weekend.
Friday began with a Golden Oldies match against Whakarewarewa from Rotorua. The relationship with Whaka had extended back to the 1960’s but had fallen away over the past 20 years. Whaka has responded to an invitation to come to our Centenary celebration that initially started with an expected 20 attending, but exploded to 60 in total. This touring group, along with a group of extended Daniel’s family members, added something very special to the weekend, and we are very grateful to them. We hope that this visit will be the catalyst to a visit to Whaka in a couple of years’ time.
The Golden Oldies match itself was extremely competitive and physical with a number of casualties, including Shane McBeath who ruptured his achilles. The Colts team then played a match against Linwood before everyone flooded into the Clubrooms. It was a joy to current members catching up with past members who hadn’t been in the Club for many years. Ron Vette and Andrew Thom did a great job doing a hangi that fed all the players after their game.
Saturday was given a kick-start with a number of junior teams playing a variety of opposition to give them a chance to share in this special occasion. The Premier Reserve match against Linwood was then played, which was followed by the Official Centenary match between the Premiers and Linwood. The Premier team wore a special cotton Centenary jersey that had earlier been presented to the players by Ian Penrose and Aussie Brown who were the oldest living Senior/Premier players who had played in the 1950’s. Linwood prevailed in a tight contest.
The evening social event extended well into the night and earlier in the evening all the Premier Centenary jerseys had been auctioned and raised $12000!
Sunday was the final day of the celebration with around 260 attending the Centenary Dinner at Addington Raceway. James Daniels did an excellent job as MC, and all attendees enjoyed a fantastic meal and then treated with an excellent speech by guest speaker, Eric Murray. It was a real coup to get Eric to our event as the week earlier he had been named as a joint winner of the NZ Sportsperson of the Decade with his rowing buddy, Hamish Bond
Eric’s speech had a very strong message about resilience and rising to the challenge, and I guess if I have one disappointment from the weekend, was that very few of our current players were present to hear the message.
Another highlight from the night, was the naming of our Team of the Century. It was great to have over ½ of the recipients present themselves, or a family representative, to get appropriate acknowledgement from the large crowd. Each player and coach received a special cheese-cutter cap, and at our Blazer Day during the season, were also awarded a special Team of the Century tie.
Over the weekend a large number of photos were taken by Ken and Antoinette Baker, which culminated in a special Centenary photo album that was made available to members to purchase. L&A Apparel also made a special centenary apparel range that sold well, including a special limited-edition jersey. Bill Barry coordinated some especial edition wine that had images of the 1968 Harwood Trophy victory, and 2021 Hawkins Trophy wins.
A special mention and thanks to Trevor White who spent many hours adding on to Dick Hockley’s earlier Club history “Up the Pipi’s, which covering the first 85 years of the Club. The last 15 years for the Club have been added and our new Club history, the “Rising Tide”, is a fantastic read and a quality publication that has received very good feedback. Thanks to Allan Berke who was able to supply the majority of the new photos from the many thousands of images he has taken for the Club over many years.
The Club now embarks on its second Century in the hope that we continue to be a force in Canterbury Metro competitions. We look forward to celebrating many successes in the future, and above all, enjoy the community and member friendship, and aim to live up to the legacy that has been created in our first 100 years.
Centenary Committee Chairman
OUR GUEST SPEAKER
Eric Murray is a two-time Olympic Champion having won gold in the coxless pair with crewmate Hamish Bond at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The pair teamed up in 2009 and formed what would become the most successful combination in rowing history. Bond and Murray were unbeaten internationally from 2009 until they parted ways in 2016. The duo also holds the world record time in the event (6:08.50), set at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Murray, the older and bigger of the pair, was born in Hastings in 1982, but grew up in the Bombay Hills, south of Auckland, attending Pukekohe High School.
He initially favoured rugby and only gained an introduction to rowing as a means of training for his preferred code. By 2003 his rowing talent had been noticed and he made the national squad. The following year he was in the New Zealand coxless four for the Athens Olympic Games, alongside Carl Meyer, Donald Leach and Mahe Drysdale. The quartet came 5th overall.
He also competed as part of the coxless four in Beijing 2008 where they finished seventh overall.
Murray retired in 2017 and lives in Cambridge.