1997 – After a Double Decade of Decadence
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Those unavailable from last season include Richard Reece, Jimmy Barham (one dicky knee),
Alan Cooper (lost to golf), Al Mansell (two dicky knees), Jeremy Conn and Cameron Bagrie.
So far the season has been pretty promising with a large number of players fronting up again
and lots of new blood as they try to muscle in on the celebration year. The pre-season AGM
was held at Dork’s place again and the standard agenda was completed in 6.9 minutes. A good
turnout was ensured as the rule of either fronting up and paying your subs for $69 or pay $96
later was instigated. The S Neuf account has never been so flush this early on in the season
before! Of note was the interest of the partners’ netball team wanting to become the Neufettes!
New 69ers include Pete Scott and Phil Murray from the 7 Ounces, Johnny Helu, Jeremy Sprott,
Sean Spring, Eric McAuley, Harp Harding (ex seniors) and Paul Goodeve.
The season started with two good pre-competition wins, only to be ruined by a disastrous game
against Hutt Old Boys in which the team lost 0-25. The backlash of Dork’s tongue at halftime
and in the changing rooms after the game has now passed into 69er history and folklore. The
following week the team blitzed Poneke 55-17 (halftime 31-0) in a better display of running
Stats – as at 3 May 1997
Played 5 Won ? Lost ? Drew ? For ??? Against ???
A large number of Neufers have either come from, or gone onto, greater honours in the game
or work. Unfortunately our research has
1996 – The Year of Winning, Drawing and Losing The Ruru
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A memorable season in which many debut tries were scored. Those unavailable for duty were
Simon “Jewboy” Horrell (back to Palmerston North), Simon McLay, Brent Goldsack, Euan
Staples, Cameron Lakeman, Miles Darby (injury) ,Mani Ahfar, Richard Mansell (after 84
games) and Duncan McKay.
Not only did the team win the Ruru, it also drew and lost it. It was the first time since 1986
that losses were higher than victories in games actually played.
It was a year of great frustration as there was a five week gap in the middle of the season where
we did not play due to cancellations and defaults – the two bottom teams defaulting so our total
wins was actually seven. Our points For and Against would have looked much healthier if we
had played these two teams.
The season saw an influx of first time Niners. The losses from last years front row of Richard
Reece and Simon Horrell were replaced by Don “Wedge” Gainsford and Dave Anderson. The
loosies were strengthened with the arrival of Craig Taylor and Brendan Smith. The departure
of the 1995 halfbacks Euan Staples (Sydney) and Brent Goldsack (Moscow!) were offset by
Pete Cowie and Robbie Dewar (ex Varsity senior halfback).
Other new recruits in the backs were Anton James – a new player to the game but very keen to
learn, Alan Cooper and Darren Lowe, with brief sightings of Jeremy Conn, Cameron Bagrie,
Desmond Buckley (ring in from the 3rds) plus Toff Fiso (1991-92 69er) and Sila Auvaa – fourth
game in three seasons (Don’t worry Sila, in another 49 seasons you should have played your
blazer game! – Ed.).
Numerous highlights and milestones were passed – the 57-12 win over Wests D saw 69 points
scored for the first time in 69er history. 175 of the 253 points ie. 69%, were scored in tries and
both Andy “I want to be the Ref” Clark and Paul “Kick the ball a lot” Sutton played their 69th
games. Andy had a somewhat memorable (for us) blazer game celebration back at the
clubrooms where we proceeded to get him shit-faced. Gerard Praat scored his debut try in his
38th game. Other debut scorers were Dave Anderson, Wedge Gainsford, Pete “Fair Go”
Cronshaw, Robbie Dewar, Pete Cowie, Alan Cooper, Darren Lowe and Anton James. Lurch
Moore, Pete Cowie and Phil Quinney played in all 12 games.
The third game of the season was a Jackie Ruru Shield challenge which resulted in a 27-27
draw with the 7 Ounces. Four tries were scored but only one conversion! Marty Pike had the
opportunity of hero status (cometh the hour cometh the man) but with Paddy Whooley away
duck shooting with Tony Beech, Jimmy Barham was our touch judge and he flagged it away!
The team was starting to gain momentum on the social front, with our influx of some drinking
talent in the form of the Wedge, the Niners were able to thoroughly beat the 7 Ounces in the
boat races after the game.
The season also saw the introduction of the stylish 69er caps and the “Bags Not” thumb on
forehead rule to determine who had to collect the $5 rule and get the jugs. A harsh but fair
In our second to last game we had a second challenge against the Dead Ants. This time the
team thrashed them 33-8 with Marty Pike scoring 18 points including a try and Phil Quinney
dotting down for two. We peaked for this game and it was a long way down when in our first
defence the following week against Team Ken we were hammered 14-36 but not helped by the
unavailability of front rowers Wedge and Dave and an incompetent referee who blew the game
off early and we still have his flag. Once again, no excuses! Full credit to Team Ken who ran
us off the paddock.
Social teams obviously cannot peak for two Saturdays in a row, as the week after we squashed
the Dead Ants, Team Ken whipped us, and the following week the Teddy Bears beat
Low points of the season included two losses to the bogans of Rimutaka who won the grade.
In the second game Jimmy Barham came out of retirement only to do his knee in when tackled
close to their line. Jimmy we would have scored if you had passed and you would still have
two good knees. We also had two losses to Team Ken. Both Dork and Al Mansell did not
score on the field for the first time in their long and illustrious careers.
A major highlight, and an indication of the team spirit was the tour to Palmerston North. One
of the great beauties of the tour was that the team didn’t play rugby! The team met at the
Ferryman’s pub and proceeded to PN by train. The tour rules were established and saw the
introduction of “Bradman”, the person who has to do ALL of the team’s work until the next
Bradman has been decided. The first Bradman was decided by a 19 man game of spoof. It
took some time, but Craig “Pug” Lynn finally won! Good effort Pug. Marty Pike organised
an excellent quiz to pass the time on the train. A pub crawl was organised for the first night
(Surprise me – Ed.). Paddy Whooley spent the night at the wrong hotel curled up against a
heater in their dining room. The next day saw ten-pin bowling at which the next Bradman,
Craig “Bradman” Taylor was decided. That night the team played pub golf, an interesting
social sport that involves drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Dork showed great initial
restraint to come home strong and win with 13 under par after the nine holes. Tommy Reiher
was duly impressed with the way it which Dork drove the greens with ease and single putted!
There was a tussle with the local street kids which added some excitement. Lurch was made
Bradman for his poor effort the day before. The following day saw the real golf played at
Feilding. A sorry bunch of guys nursed themselves around a very nice course. Needless to
say, the train trip home was very sedate.
Played 12 Won 7 Lost 6 Drew 1 For 253 Against 202
Marty Pike was top points scorer again with 65 and Phil Quinney top try scorer with seven.
We finished fourth equal in the competition.
1995 – Blazer Games Galore!
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Those unavailable from the previous season included Bernard Harkin, Sixpack Patel (after 78
games), Peter Mulqueen, John Cathie, Tony “Crab” Muollo (renowned for running sideways
in games), Stu Kane, Tim Harrington, Derek Pryde, Trevor Offen, Dave Howarth, Steve Wagg
and Gerry Jurie.
Debut 69ers were Richard Reece, Paul “PT” Tangatatai, Pete “Fair Go” Cronshaw,
Damian Gardiner, Brent Goldsack, Cameron Blakeman, Miles Darby, Mani Ahfar, Marty Pike
and Brendan Baker (1 game).
Dork made his comeback to the Niners, after having a terrible time trying to coach the U21s
who he described as “an unmotivated and undisciplined bunch of guys”. And he thinks the
69ers are any different!?!
A gloriously rewarding season, starting in our fourth match with our victory over the Bulls in
a Jackie Ruru Shield challenge – “The Running (down) of the Bulls” by 21-5. The Bulls had
won the Shield on a legal technicality and had note yet played for it or defended it. They were
unprepared for the ferocity with which the game would be played. The 69ers were playing for
keeps! The game featured Simon Kneebone getting injured and replaced after 6.9 seconds.
Simon “Jew Boy” Horrell scored a try in his blazer (69th) game and a drop goal (69th attempt?)
by Frank Harkin who also scored the other 16 points. Overall, the 69ers took the Bulls by the
horns and didn’t let go despite serious cramping in the second half.
Dave Sullivan played his blazer game two weeks later in our 52-14 demolition of Eastbourne
with Marty Pike scoring on debut (one conversion!). Brendan “Lurch” Moore’s sequence of
78 games in a row came to an end in the next game when he missed the Jackie Ruru Shield
defence (Sorry Lurch but talent was the criteria. If it had been your 68th game in a row we
would have got you on for the last 6.9 seconds – Ed.).
The game against the 7 Ounces was won 27-8 at POW # 2 and we took no prisoners. Simon
Kneebone’s Ruru hoodoo ended as he lasted the game and scored a try. Further highlights
were defences against Team Ken 23-11, where we dominated up front with Richard Reece
impressive in scoring a try, and the Dead Ants 32-12 despite them playing Chris Teo (ex
Wellington rep). Highlights of the Dead Ant defence were Duncan McKay’s three tries and
Gerard Praat putting in some big defensive hits.
In the second to last game we lost the Shield to our perennial rivals the 7 Ounces 13-34 with
several key players unavailable particularly in the tight five. No excuse – full credit to the
We made amends in our last game by beating Wests’ Fear and Loathing 29-14 to secure the
grade championship for the third time in six years.
Some of the boys (Wilson, Lynn, Reiher, Pike) organised a trip to Christchurch to watch the
debacle between Wellington and Canterbury for the Ranfurly Shield. The boys did however
enjoy the gambling (6 and 9 prominent numbers again) and the golf.
Played 17 Won 13 Lost 2 Drew 2 For 449 Against 221
Marty Pike’s scored 102 points in 12 games to finish top points scorer and Duncan McKay was
the top try scorer with nine. The team finished with 23 penalties, i.e. 69 points!
1994 – Players Galore
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Those unavailable from the previous season were Steve Ryan, Phil Reiher, Toff Fiso (he snuck
in one game in 1996), Simon Kirk, Jason Penny, Paul “Condom” Ellice, Brent “Speed”
Wenlock, Grant Smith, Eugene “Boz” Smith, Richard “Porky” Wilson and Justin Te Rangiita.
Of the 48 people who played during the year, 13 played only one game (five in our Blenheim
tour game). Debut players included Chris “Val” Banks, Paul Anderson, Peter Mulqueen, Euan
Staples, Steve Wilson, Derek Pryde, Jimmy Barham, Phil Mayo, Steve Wagg, and the MacKay
brothers Craig and Duncan.
A notable omission was Al “Dork” McKee on sabbatical coaching the Harlequins U21A’s with
Grant Smith. Lurch Moore again played in all games (17). The team had a very inauspicious
start, a 15-12 win, then a 3-0 win in a shocker against MSP in which Gerry Jurie kicked a 69th
minute drop goal (35 minute halves). A good 17-8 win soon followed over grade winners
Avalon. This featured a kick off to the short side by Gerry Jurie which Andy Clark picked up,
beat the fullback and scored after approximately 6.9 seconds! The rest of the 69ers watched
this happen from halfway.
Other highlights include redeeming ourselves against MSP by beating them 51-0 (9 tries) and
another running rugby display against the Mixed Vegies 35-17 with Andy Clark scoring a hattrick.
The Vegies had previously beaten us 12-26.
Sixpack Patel’s blazer game (69th) was the dirty 20-36 loss to Stokes Valley with Derek Pryde
playing his last game for us after being kicked in the head. Stokes Valley had always been
willing to put in the dirt and in previous years there had been instances of eye gouging and off
the ball foul play (Ask Al Mansell about getting his nose broken by Nicky Coffey who, in 1995,
was convicted of rape while on a team trip to the Hawkes Bay -Ed.). So we were happy that
this was their last year in our grade.
Lurch Moore played his 69th game in succession against Paremata-Plimmerton (won 12-8).
A few serious injuries occurred with Steve Wagg breaking his leg in only his third game in the
first Mixed Vegies match. Stu Kane in the same game (his 35th for S Neuf) damaged the
medial ligaments in his knee and Trevor Offen broke his leg in the second Avalon game.
Played 17 Won 13 Lost 4 Drew 0 For 321 Against 217
Another successful season including another top four finish in the grade, possibly even 2nd.
Andy Clark top scored with 15 tries. Paul Sutton got 34 and Frank Harkin 30.
1993 – We Win Again
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After the fine effort in 1990, we stuck another fine season together and win the grade for the
second time in the 69ers’ history.
Debut seasons for the 69ers included Gerard Praat (he did have one game in 1988), John Cathie,
Jason Penny, Frank Harkin, Trevor Offen, Bernard Harkin and Paddy Gough.
Three 69ers played their blazer game (game 69) in the season – Gerry Jurie in the first Avalon
game (Kelburn) won 23-10, Richard Mansell in the first Wainuiomata game drawn 15-15 and
Brendan Moore in the second Avalon (Fraser Park) game won 20-16. Both Mansell’s had an
unfortunate end to the season with Richard breaking his leg in the second Wainuiomata game
and Al getting his nose broken against Stokes Valley. Competition for places in the team
regularly saw between six to ten changes at halftime occurring and 40 69ers played during the
In the third game versus Paremata-Plimmerton (won 40-6) saw the successful use of a
mouthguard as a kicking tee. In the next game versus MSP (won 53-10) Simon Horrell’s
mother-in-law went home at halftime and so missed his second half try. Toff Fiso’s
explanation for not passing with four guys unmarked outside him was that he couldn’t decide
which one to pass it to.
We defeated our arch rivals Avalon 23-10 in Gerry’s 69th game and this saw Brendan “Lurch”
Moore score his only try (His only one in 126 games to date – Ed.) and only because two Avalon
players caught Simon Horrell on the line.
Our only competition losses were in both games against Stokes Valley, the first in semi
darkness at Trentham Memorial .We were leading at 14-3 at fulltime (if you play 40 minute
halves) but the ref let the game continue for another 15 minutes despite protests by our touch
judge during which we let in two converted tries.
We scraped through with a win against Johnsonville 18-15 after they had a five yard scrum
with time almost up. We held them up and got the put in and Dork (at halfback) kicked it clear.
In the chase upfield Andy Clark made sure the ref saw that he was tackled without the ball and
Sutts kicked the winning penalty from 40 metres (he had never kicked one from that far out
before and the boys weren’t too hopeful!). Great stuff Sutts – player of the day!
In the second Avalon game we came from 3-13 down early in the second half to win 20-16.
Gerry Jurie kicked a sideline conversion and the third of his four drop goals in his 69er career.
Avalon were to get their revenge in a non competition game at the end of the season when they
won 0-44. Because we had already won the grade by 10 points the game had little meaning
(That’s our story anyway -Ed.)
In the third Wainuiomata game (won 25-7) we ran their fat forwards ragged with three tries
early on. Andy Clark said he didn’t pass to Richard Mansell when he scored a try as he had
cramp in his arm and Richard later on broke his leg when tackling their 16 stone halfback.
We finished the season with a trip to Palmerston North to catch up with Simon Horrell who
had moved during the season and managed a game against Kia Toa (lost 17-39). On the train
journey up we stood outside the guards van singing (and needless to say drinking) despite
several threats by Tranz Rail officials. Steve Ryan had to force the sliding door on his motel
room in the early hours but when he went to use the phone in the morning was told by the motel
owner that they hadn’t let that room and that the team wasn’t staying at the motel. Possibly
the only 69er on tour to pay for two rooms at different motels? Most of the weekend was spent
in the Fat Ladies Arms from which an old white bus was used to transport us round the city.
Played 20 Won 13 Lost 6 Drew 1 For 417 Against 263
Grade winners for the second time. Four of the losses were non-grade games ie. pre season or
tour matches, so we cleaned up the grade in a big way.
Andy Clark took over from Gerry Jurie as top points scorer with 16 tries and one conversion
(82 points). Frank Harkin accounted for 57 points and Paul Sutton chipped in with 44.
1992 – We Lose the Shield
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It was a season of good times and bad times!
Debut 69ers included Andy Clark (a rep hooker who thinks he’s a back), Craig “Pug” Lynn,
Tommy Reiher, Tim “Sinbin” Harrington, Simon McLay, Mark Wilson, Paul Ellice, Toff Fiso,
Richard “Porky” Wilson, Phil Reiher, Dean Jackson, Sila “Seals” Auvaa, and the only season
for Brett Jakes. It saw the return from overseas of Paul Sutton. Those in their last year were
Tim “Traction” Jackson, Ivan McIntosh, Henare “Parking” Mita, Pete Kennerley, Tim Hoyle,
Chris Richardson and Alex “Axle” Jackson (he did play 1 game in 1994).
It was the year in which the team nearly had a Jackson Five with Dean, Tim and Alex. None
of them could sing! The team started with a hiss and a roar winning the first seven games.
Against Johnsonville the team won 4-0. They were stunned when we scored after a quick
lineout, but we were even Moore stunned as “Lurch” Moore won the lineout! Dork was heard
complaining about the guys who didn’t turn up until it was pointed out that he didn’t get there
The team won against MSP 17-3. In a 69 second period Andy Clark moved from flanker to
prop to No. 8. Seven halfbacks were fielded that day but we were dubious about Andy’s claims.
Gerry Jurie said it would be his last year in the backs so Lurch told Gerry that he could be prop
next year. He replied that he would be going to Jenny Craig before that!
Our next game was our first Jackie Ruru Shield defence against the Vulgarians won 13-6. The
aftermatch function was held at the Southern Cross Tavern. Being the student bar at the time,
the beer was very cheap and flowed freely as the gentlemen used to “town” prices had a few.
The game had been an early one and so by the time 6 p.m. came around we were absolutely
shit-faced. We could also understand how the Vulgarians got their name.
Against Hutt Old Boys (won 20-6) Mark Wilson scored on debut when they took a quick
lineout on their own line. Against Avalon (won 19-6) Gerry Jurie scored in the corner after an
intercept but was nearly run down by their lock from behind, furthering Jenny Craig hints.
Sutts said he would have scored under the posts to make it easier for the kick, but Eugene
“Boz” Smith slotted a magnificent sideline conversion anyway.
The next game against Stokes Valley, won 16-10, was the day Paul Ellice got his nickname
“Condom”. It had a marked effect on his game as Sutts at fullback was under less pressure
from Stokes Valley kicks than he was from “Condom’s” skip passes at 1st Five!
We defended the Ruru Shield against the Dead Ants 9-9. A hard encounter. It is possibly the
first time a lone piper has been seen on the field before a 69er game (he lead on the Dead Ants)
and also an ambulance (it took their captain to hospital). It was a game of two halves; they got
off to a storming start and lead 9-0 at halftime but we came back showing traditional 69er
character and should have won easily. Al Mansell slid through the mud to score but was
penalised for a double movement and we missed scoring on 5 other occasions due to knockons
or poor passes. Steinie scored our only try after running to the blindside and cutting back
inside two defenders to score by the posts. On two occasions our touch judge was over-ruled
by the ref after shots at goal by Gerry Jurie – the first one was definitely over. With regard to
the second one, it was a bit astray but the touch judge was still pissed off at the first decision!
Our first loss was against Wellington when the ref didn’t turn up and their coach filled in. The
following conversation was heard between Grant Smith and Pete Kennerley. Smithy “Do you
know what the new rules are?” PK “I didn’t know what the old rules were”.
Against MSP (won 13-5) Ivan McIntosh reserved as he pulled his hamstring running for the
bus. Ninety seconds before kickoff Dork to the team: “Do you know the new rules?” Team:
“No”. Dork: “I’ll just go over the important ones then.”
60 seconds later Simon McLay to our touch judge “Can you read out the team” (we had 24
players on the field). This was the day that Al Mansell scored the first 69er five point try.
Against Johnsonville Smithy’s 100% kicking record was halved when given Gerry’s try in the
corner to convert. Sixpack Patel was heard to say “We’ve got to play quick and expensive”.
Being a dentist he could afford to play expensively.
We had a second game against the Vulgarians and were not sure if they were eligible for a Ruru
challenge as they had not paid their subs to the club. In a not very convincing performance
we drew 13-13.
We eventually lost the Ruru Shield to the Teddy Bears 3-5. Things didn’t go our way with
lock and lineout key Simon Kneebone breaking his arm and Alex Jackson injuring his leg. We
had our chances but with a lack of possession they had many more scoring opportunities. It
was a fierce encounter with the Bears’ forward dominating up front. The team tackled and
tackled but finally succumbed to the eventual match winning try. Even an impartial observer
such as our touch judge thought they were deserved winners.
In a legal battle not too dissimilar to that witnessed during Americas Cup racing, the Teddy
Bears relinquished the Shield in later years on a technicality – they didn’t want to defend it!
Played 19 Won 12 Lost 4 Drew 3 For 298 Against 166
Gerry Jurie topped the list again with 72 points. Boz Smith got 66 points, but with only five
tries this time. Gerry and Andy Clark scored six tries apiece. The first five point try was scored
by Al Mansell.
1991 – The Ruru Shield is Finally Ours!
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The day of 3 June 1991 will be long remembered as Colin Meads 55th birthday (b. 3/6/36), the
day the 69ers won the coveted Jackie Ruru Shield and the day Luigi (playing for the 7 Ounces)
lost his licence after leaving the aftermatch function somewhat pissed (alcohol and having lost
This was the highlight of an another successful season and the video of the game (courtesy of
Goose Geenty) will be viewed over the reunion weekend with fond memories. Great moments
during the game included Alex Jackson and Steinie’s tries, Dork’s dubious “non-try” courtesy
of a 7 Ounces touch judge (we have video evidence, but the replay was not called for at the
time!), Alex’s try saving tackle under the posts, their halfback’s king-hit on Tim Jackson and
of course Dork raising the Shield high at the aftermatch function. A great forward effort
enabled Alex Jackson to excel and be the player of the day/year/decade.
Debut 69ers were Simon Kneebone, Stu Kane, Brent “Speed” Wenlock, Pete Kennerley, Chris
Richardson, Tony Muollo and Justin Te Rangiita and the only 69er season for Rob Sykes,
Patrick McCalman, Craig Brownie, John Callaghan and Andy Fulbrook.
Those playing their last season were Rob Latton, Nick “C’mon Gentleman” Faauga, Simon
“Kurow” MacIlwraith, Tony Colquhoun, Brian Fowler, Dave Oakes and Ian McGregor.
Other interesting moments during the season which pale in comparison with the Ruru win was
the game against Hutt Old Boys won 42-3 (halftime 10-3) where Grant Smith and Ian
McGregor (now accountant to the Queen) were replaced at halftime. Smith said that they had
softened up the opposition in the first half and paved the way for the second half onslaught.
(Maybe it was just the better distribution of the ball from 2nd five Smithy – Ed.) Steinie got a
hat-trick, Eugene “Boz” Smith threw a 20 yard forward pass that hit their posts and Simon
“Kurow” MacIlwraith reserved after forgetting his gear. This game saw the start of an
unbroken run of 78 games in a row by Lurch Moore (he loved playing prop and lock!!).
In the game against MSP, won 20-3, fullback Gerry Jurie and that boy Grant Smith again were
busy at halftime telling the forwards what to do. MSP took a quick drop-out and the ref pulled
us up for a man in front. He didn’t realise that it was actually our touch judge running back to
Against won Avalon 33-0, which was a sweet victory after the many tough encounters the team
had had with the Casbolt brothers and their sidekicks. Steinie made it eight tries in three games
and Simon Kirk reserved as he forgot his gear!! Lurch Moore always ended up every game
having a fight with Chris (or was it Greg?) Casbolt. The games were played hard but fair and
we have enjoyed their company, and beer, off the field on many occasions.
The win against Rimutaka 25-0 will only be remembered for the reserves spending their time
looking for Kurow’s contact lens in the long grass.
Versus Johnsonville, won 13-8, they thought that they had won with a try under the posts only
to have it pointed out to them that Richard Mansell had his flag up near halfway. During the
game Alex Jackson said to Grant Smith “Kick the ball down into their half” to which came the
reply “There’s no point because no one in chasing it!”
Against Stokes Valley (18-4) Gerry Jurie got four penalties as the ref penalised them out of the
game. As Gerry lined up the last one on fulltime, one of the Stokes Valley players yelled out
“The ref’s got tits!”. Alex Jackson was seen charging down a penalty shot – good thinking!
Other highlights include Boz Smith’s four tries against Tawa, the second Avalon game starting
on Martin Luckie No. 1 and ending up on the No. 2 ground. The ref in the Avalon game was
a head-case. After a bit of a altercation (most likely Lurch and one of the Casbolts), the ref
said “If anyone is going to throw the next punch its going to be me”. This is the same ref who
attempted to send off Gerry Jurie in 1989 while in the sin-bin. He was later “released” from
refereeing duties by the Referee’s Association. Stu Kane played in four positions against
Johnsonville and in our last game at Wainuiomata we won 26-23 despite the opposition having
Johnny Lomax. Gerry Jurie scored 10 points to end the season with 102.
Played 18 Won 13 Lost 5 Drew 0 For 329 Against 165
We had a great start to the season scoring 140 points in our first five games. We conceded 86
points in our first 15 games and 79 in our last 3 games. Gerry Jurie topped the points scoring
with 102. Eugene Smith got 60 points including 12 tries and Steinie got 12 tries in eight games.
1990 – We Finally Win The Grade
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Well it finally happened. After 14 years of trying, the 69ers won the grade.
Despite the loss of 20 players from the previous season (maybe that was the reason why we
won!), we got off to a good start at the pre-season meeting. Although subs to the club increased
from $1200 to $1500, it was unanimously voted that the individual subs remain at $69. Most
of the increase went to Jock Hobbs who was with the club (in an amateur status of course) at
Once again new members appeared out of the woodwork and of the 37 who played, 15 were
first timers. New players to pass over the 69er portal of stardom were, ? ? ?
The success of the season was built around our strategy and uncanny ability to, game after
game, score more points than the opposition. This strategy saw us in good steed, as seven of
our twelve victories were by six points or less, and we came from behind in eight of the 12
victories. Luckily none of our reserves/supporters had “dicky” hearts.
With Billy Mathieson playing at halfback for eight of the games, there was less use of the 1989
“Dork” tactic of playing with nine forwards and six backs. This new revelation of actually
playing a halfback in that position resulted in the backs tries increasing from 21 to 26 and the
forwards tries reducing from 22 to 10. If our maths serves us correctly, that is actually a
reduction in total tries scored. Bring back the Dork!
Highlights included Tony Colquhoun, who reluctantly played hooker in the first game, ensured
this was his last game in that position (in that season anyway) by scoring both tries on the wing
in the next match against Rimutaka. Eugene Smith’s try under the posts against Hutt Old Boys,
so as to give Gerry Jurie the chance of kicking a conversion. Not only was the conversion
attempt off target, but it was also too low!
In the same game Tony Colquhoun was injured and the call for “Six Pack” (aka Suresh Patel)
had Simon Kirk trying to replace him with the water bottles.
The engagement is announced between Gabrielle Corbett, daughter of David and Rosemary
Corbett of Rotorua, and Peter “Mast” Kissick, son of Maurice and Anne of Kaponga and cousin
and former team mate of Keiran Crowley.
Also, Mast becomes a 69er centurion.
Best individual tries – Brian Fowler’s barging run through and over five or six Stokes Valley
tacklers. Dork’s incredible 69 metre (yes 69!) intercept try in the same game. Jeremy Barrett’s
charge down try against Hutt Old Boys and Mark “Steinie” Steinmetz’s scything run through
the West’s defence (and not passing in-field to Grant Smith or Dork – who were having a $50
bet as to who would score the most tries during the season, which was easily won by Dork five
tries to two).
Quotes of the season – Dork to the ref after Hutt scored their second try by shepherding – “So
you’ll be refereeing schoolboys next week then.”. The Hutt captain (in the second round) after
Richard “Chuck” Carter kicked a penalty – “It’s obvious they have a top kicker, so don’t give
away any more penalties.” Don’t worry Hutt, we all knew Chuck’s success rate!
Dork again at the halftime team talk against Stokes Valley – “If you open your mouth, keep it
shut.” (Never a truer word can be said – Ed.)
Biggest cheer of the season – Gerry Jurie finally converts against Wellington at MacAlister
Park. The first success in three games and approximately 11 attempts at goal (not all by Gerry
Silliest play of the season – Alex Jackson and Suresh “Six Pack” Patel seen diving all over the
place on the loose ball foolishly expecting their fellow forwards to protect them. In the second
game against Rimutaka, the three maxims of rugby – pace, possession and position – were
replaced by pressure, panic and Patel! Six Pack tried to revolutionise the game by chucking
the ball at Paddy (who was the touch judge) and make rugby a 16 man game. We were lucky
to escape with a draw against these guys – enough said!
Lucky escapes – Dork’s try versus Hutt Old Boys at Martin Luckie and Steve Ryan’s versus
Ories at Western Dump No. 3. Our 6-0 win over Ories was double the margin of the
All Blacks’ victory over Scotland that same day. Grant Fox matched Chuck’s 100% goal
kicking record. (Grant got 6 out of 6 – Ed.)
Tony Colquhoun played in seven positions during the season (a 69er all-time record) – hooker,
flanker, 2nd five, centre, wing, fullback and two minutes at halfback in the final game against
Lowlights of the season – Dave Oakes broken wrist against Rimutaka (was it pre-incurred from
stress the night before?). Billy Mathieson’s cut eye against MSP following a headbutt and
punch. Steinie’s knee injury against Hutt Old Boys (and several netball injuries?) forced him
to miss the next 10 games, but he returned to deal to Wests for a second time. The loss to
Played 16 Won 12 Lost 3 Drew 1 For 210 Against 148
Gerry Jurie top scored with 37 and Richard Carter got 33. For the second year in a row Dork
was the most consistent player playing the most games and also scoring the most tries. (Only
5! Shit, didn’t we have anyone better – Ed.)
Lock was the only position not to score a try (even though we had five on the field playing
against Stokes Valley).
1989 – The Year of The Tour
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Prior to the start of the season, there was some concern that we might struggle for numbers due
to the unavailability for all, or most of the season, of 69% of last year’s squad. This concern
grew at the pre-season AGM.
A momentous event in the history of the 69ers occurred at the AGM – the subs were set at $69.
This was basically needed to recoup last year’s contribution to the Mike Girling-Butcher fund,
which was set up for the Varsity player who was paralysed during a scrum.
But thanks to Bushy, Copey and other sources, of the 40 players who took the field, 24 were
first timers (as 69ers that is! – we mean as players!). In a relentless quest for the right
combinations, the selectors had used 34 players after five games. This quest was fairly
successful with the team finishing third with a competition record of 17 games played for 11
wins and six losses.
New players during the season were, Andrew Gall (ex WCOB J7 team that featured the famous
“homo” incident involving Bruce Hills, Pete Kissick and a tall blond lock), Brendan “Lurch”
Moore (still a cornerstone of the present team), Suresh “Sixpack” Patel, Paul Sutton, Grant
Smith, Steve Ryan, Tim Jackson, Ivan McIntosh, Alex Jackson, Henare “Parking” Mita, Simon
“Kurow” MacIlwraith, Tony Colquhoun, Tim Hoyle, Rod Nicholson (a very fit No.8), Tim
Mulcare, Paul Weakley and Michael Quayle (who were the first 69ers to be born in the 1970’s),
Mark Piters, Dave Cuttance, Jamie Kneebone and Andy Fulbrook.
It also saw some solo efforts from Peter Bush, Mike Gallagher, Richard Cromie, Craig Walker,
Bruce Mansell (a fine game on tour which saw him twist his ankle – later explained to his wife
on his return that he slipped on a shiny shopping mall floor!) and Dick Portenski who filled in
at halfback in our Hawaiian game on his return from the Golden Oldies in Canada.
The season also saw the last games played by some of the longer serving members of the 69ers,
in particular Gavin Bush (121 games), Mike Copeland (113 games), Bruce Hills (104 games),
Peter “Kamikaze” Barlow (76 games), Mark “Goose” Geenty, Gerard “Boo” Murray, Murray
“Ming the Merciless” Hill, John Cleland, and Jim Quinn. Al McBeth (although retired in 1985,
played two games on the North American tour to take his total to 90 games) and Fred Thorp
played two games on tour (good effort Fatboy!).
The team’s success was mainly due to a highly innovative tactic of playing nine forwards and
six backs for 13 of the matches. This was to become known as the “Dork” tactic due to Alistair
“Dork” McKee playing at halfback (Readers must be made aware that now at 6’ 2” and 15 +
stone, Dork had not represented at halfback since the Northern Southland over 8 stones team
in 1975 and 1976 – Ed.) Dork’s close link with the forwards resulted in the pack scoring 16
more tries than the previous season, and the backs getting six less.
Everyone except the props found it difficult to run at Dork’s pace. As a result, the props scored
the most tries with 11. Andrew Gall lead the way with four, closely followed by Simon
“Jewboy” Horrell with three.
The Ruru Shield challenge that year against the mighty 7 Ounces and was a big disappointment.
The team was not prepared for the ferocity with which the Ounces defended the Shield and
literally through themselves into rucks and mauls. The rain and intercept try didn’t help. A
loss by 3-18.
The older 69ers (that is, those over 30) played a game against Cornelius Groat over 30s. The
score a resounding 20-16 victory to the Neufers. This game saw the end of David “Jonesy”
Jones career. After a then record 133 games for the 69ers (114 at prop and 19 at hooker) Jonesy
finally called it a day and wandered off into the rugby twilight zone of coaching. He teamed
up with Al McBeth and had some success with the Varsity J1s and later turned up in Auckland
coaching University senior sides.
The North American tour saw the 69er players excel – all 11 of them. For the record, the tour
party lost to Victoria University 3-46 (they got eight lucky tries!), beat Calgary Saints 14-4,
beat San Francisco 21-19 and lost to an all-Hawaiian head hunting team 0-30.
By the time the tour party got to Hawaii, they weren’t interested in playing rugby and was
wanting to call the game off so that more beach-time could be had. As it ended up, the game
was played in near darkness as two teams, made up of lots of Hawaiians, tried to take each
others heads off. There were lots of 69er injuries and the boys sat on the sideline drinking the
keg until the cops came and moved us on (they have no sense of humour!).
Played 22 Won 14 Lost 8 Drew 0 For 301 Against 288
The team finished third in the competition with 11 wins and six losses. The other five games
were the over 30 match and the four games on the North American tour.
Paul Sutton scored 47 points to take out the 1989 honours. Dork got eight tries (three on the
North American tour) and Grant Smith got five tries.
The Tour to End All Tours
The Tour took place in early September after the season was finished and was, for many of the
touring players, the “tour to end all tours”. For these guys this was their final fling before
marriage, mortgages and mother-in-laws! Many hours were toiled in the time prior trying to
fundraise the necessary cash to pay for this extreme end-of-season tour. Hillsy ran a very
success raffle (we actually made some money) and every Saturday the Club was treated to the
“69er Special” of a pie and a large dog cock (sav) in bread.
The Tour management committee consisted of Dork, Hillsy, Todd Pearce, Pete Kissick and
Al McBeth (who delegated everything). Fifteen people went, with only nine of them
designated players. This somewhat made it a tad hard it getting a starting line-up for all of the
The Tour party was:
Bruce Hills, Peter Kissick, Todd Pearce, Bruce Mansell (Manager), Al McBeth, Richard
Mansell, Al Mansell, Peter Barlow, Suresh Patel, Simon MacIlwraith, Brian Eddy
(Cameraman), Andy Holmes, Fred Thorp, Al McKee and Paul Barris. Ralph, a mate of Hillsy’s
met up with the team in Canada and toured for some of the way.
For the Tour a booklet and various items of clothing were created. The Booklet was a raging
success. Copies can be bought at all bad bookstores!
The following excerpts are taken from the North American Tour Dairy which was semireligiously
kept up-to-date by TP and Dork:
2:55 pm, 8 September 1989, Wellington, New Zealand
Things start to go wrong! The time advised by the itinerary is 30 minutes late and Al
McBeth enters the plane as the door closes.
5:27 pm, 8 September 1989, Auckland, New Zealand
Impromptu meeting called to set Tour rules for Hair-of-the-Dog, the Tour cardigan and
The in-flight movie was critically acclaimed as “SHIT”. (At the time Field of Dreams
and Kevin Costner were unknowns – Ed.)
First Tour joke – “What did Mickey Mouse get for Christmas? – A George Bush watch”
Irish nachos – french fries with cheese, no nachos!
Midnight, 8 September 1989, Vancouver, Canada
The boys go out on the town. Two groups develop – the Will Haves and the Will Not
Haves. The boys have a few (okay heaps) Labatts at Shenanigans and witness a fight.
Brian Eddy to Negro fellow – “Hi, I’m Brian Eddy from Gisborne, you’re bloody dark
for a Maori!”.
8:00 am, 9 September 1989, Vancouver, Canada
The Will Haves – 2, The Will Not Haves – 0. The sieve of silence is instigated
Dork and Fatboy Thorp go one up on Holmesy and JJ McBeth in the tour tennis
tournament. McBeth, like all good lawyers, disputes the officiality of the match.
10 September 1989, Victoria, Vancouver Island
The boys miss church. Night-time, a visit to the Red Fox strip club where the boys meet
Monique. She had a cunning stunt! Boys success of even talking to this Goddess was
put down to Kami not being present.
Afternoon, 11 September 1989, Victoria, Vancouver Island
Fine and 25 degrees. The boys (all nine of them, plus ring-ins) play an U21 side coached
by ex-Otago Varsity player, Alex McKenzie (Otago B). We nearly lose by 46-3. They
scored eight lucky tries. One of them off our only move called Serge.
The boys retaliate and winning the drinking hands-down!
12 September 1989, Victoria, Vancouver Island
The boys call Bushy and tell him the score. He says “F—!” Pete Kissick remarks that
that would have been the longest f— Bushy would have ever had – 8000 miles!
Hillsy shaves his beard off, but leaves a caterpillar under his nose.
13 September 1989, Victoria to Vancouver to Banff
The train trip is a wonderful time for bonding. Holmesy and others stage a great raid on
a local liquor store for booze and a chilly bin, while the train is only momentarily stopped
(they held it up until they got back on). Copious amounts of booze is consumed. One
girl has a good time while a certain person within the tour party relives his youth. The
sieve of silence remains in place!!!
14 September 1989, Banff
The trip through the Rockies in the early morning is breath taking (mainly because of the
farts dropped during the night) and the boys (and the rest of the passengers) are keen for
some fresh air. Fatboy and Dork win the golf against Holmesy and JJ by five holes.
Brian “Eds” Eddy and Paul “Pols” Barris are King of the Table!
15 September 1989, Banff
Bruce Mansell gets the Tour Cardigan for breaking a golf club the previous day. Tour
of the icefields.
Definition of luxury on a 69er tour:- Going to sleep the day before the day you have to
Fatboy and Dork clean Holmesy and JJ out 7-5 in the tiebreaker to take an unassailable
lead in the tennis series.
16 September 1989, Calgary
Tour singlet is permanently attached to Holmesy’s body for his exploits on tour. TP
forgets to put 6 and 9 quinella on race 6 at Calgary races and misses out on $244.
The boys meet up with mien hosts, Saints RFC and Durham University who are also
touring. The 69ers win the singing contest with Dork’s solo rendition of Hello Growler
My Old Friend.
17 September 1989, Calgary
The boys miss church! The boys play Saints. Match conditions – drizzle and six degrees.
Like the current day Canterbury team, we have the five Ms playing in the backline –
McKee, Mansell, MacIlwraith, McBeth and Mansell! The game sees Freddie Thorp and
JJ, who were disappointed at our last outing, play. JJ scores on the field and we win 14
The boys are introduced to Chairo and the Anal Chug by the Durham boys!
Quote of the night:- All Poms are Bastards!
18 September 1989, Calgary to Salt Lake City to Fresno to Reno
At Salt Lake City two groups emerge – the sightseers and those who will spend a three
hour session in the bar! A fax is sent to Goose Geenty on the arrival of his new gosling.
Balleys Casino is awesome. Lots of gambling is carried out! The numbers 6 and 9 are
used a lot. Bar staff impressed with our ability to sink copious amounts of piss.
19 September 1989, Reno
More gambling is done, washing and a trip to Lake Tahoe. Here endeth the updating of
1988 – The Arrival of Paddy
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The 1988 season saw the momentous appointment of Paddy Whooley as Manager, touch judge,
statistician and water carrier (star sign of Aquarius). Paddy, while not a mountain of a man in
size, has never played for the 69ers (Has he ever played at all? – Ed.), but has been a major
force behind the 69ers over the years. His rumoured retirement at the end of the 1997 season
will leave some huge shoes to be filled.
Debut 69ers included Simon “Jewboy” Horrell (because of his lack of hair on the top of his
head like a Jewish skullcap) a hard uncompromising prop (on and off the field), Jim Quinn,
Dave Howarth and the only season for Dave Grimmond, Ken Lister, Simon Cooper, Steve
Graves, Mark O’Sullivan, Hugh Walker, Rob Fergusson and a couple of A. N. Others.
It was the last season for Bruce Byron, Nigel Hamilton (off to Africa to play with guns in a
Police peace-keeping force), Guy Latham, Pete Lawson the halfback, and Richard Mataira.
The season had a number of highlights including two wins over Petone (no mean feat at any
level in Wellington club rugby).
Jonesy played one game in the season against Varsity C. Knowing Jonesy it was most likely
so that he could try and screw up some young prop real bad!
Played 17 Won 9 Lost 8 Drew 0 For 205 Against 145
Not a high scoring season, Al Mansell scored 44 points (10 tries and two conversions) beating
Gerry Jurie on 42 points. Richard Carter added another 28 to the total.
1987 – The Decade of Decadence
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The 1987 season produced some vintage 69er rugby. Welcomed introductions to the team were
Guy Latham, Richard Mataira, Pete Lawson (the halfback), Grant Kiddle, David Gordon,
Gerald Jurie, Bruce Byron, Rob Latton, Hugh Walker, Gerard “Boo” Murray and Alastair
Mansell. Billy Mathieson and Peter Kennerley made solo efforts and were to come back later
fulltime in 1990 and 1991 respectively. Other solo efforts that year included Philip Sisson,
Ted ”Minky” Thomas, Patrick O’Rourke, Stu King (who was dragged out of bed and for his
troubles got winded three times with three late tackles) (I think that is why that was his last
game – Ed.), A. N. Other and a Masterton dude (as TP put it in the match report).
Those who played their final games during the season were Todd Foster, John Sproat and Mino
Cleverley. Drop-outs from the previous season included Paul “Cuddles” Cutler, Peter “Hippo”
Hibbard, John “Shabby” Shewan, Rob Gibbs, Tony Sullivan, Nick Cutler, Noel Berney, Matt
Casbolt, Ian Inkson and Gary Newman.
A number of the new members of the 69ers came from the old Varsity 3 Os team and produced
some excellent form both on and off the field.
In the early games played some of the best scores and best tries produced by the 69ers were
seen. The game against Marist St Pats was won 50-6, with Alastair Mansell scoring three tries
and Gerald Jurie scoring a try and kicking plenty of points. The game against the Varsity
Cavaliers (won 34-3) saw the evergreen Gavin “Bushy” Bush officially playing at No. 8 (but
taking up his customary position outside the right winger) scored three tries.
The Decade of Decadence celebrations held over Queens Birthday was a fantastic effort by the
committee of Hackett, McBeth, McKay, Foster, Copeland and Bush. The weekend started with
a general drinking session at which many old and new acquaintances were made. Jonesy
showed up with his contribution to the weekend – some very tasteful (not!) T-shirts (One will
be on display during the reunion – Ed.) The night got worse as the alcohol started to take hold.
Pete Kissick’s jersey soon became a cardigan thanks to Hillsy. The compulsory drinking out
of the 40 ounce whiskey bottle on top of a bar stool was a dangerous affair given that you were
a prime target for some tackling practice. Todd Foster was in plaster and soon a game of indoor
cricket started with one of his crutches and some plastic jugs, with McBeth showing his ondrive
prowess. This first night was definitely an eye opener for some of the new Neufers.
The Saturday saw the Past versus Present game. As expected the older members came out
firing in the first period hoping to stamp their authority. Their onslaught was repelled and in
typical 69er running rugby style the Present team won 20-13, with all of the five tries being
scored by the centre, two wings and the fullback. That night a successful Black Tie dinner was
held at Flamingos.
Sunday was golf day and dinner around at McBeths and Monday the boys watched the All
Blacks play Argentina in the World Cup match at Athletic Park.
A memorable victory was had over the Petone team 16-11 at Strand Park. The boys arrived
late to find the Petone team steaming up and down the bank trying to stay warm and psyche
themselves up. A makeshift team took the field with Copey on one flank, Richard Mansell on
the other, Gerry Jurie at 1st five, Dork on the wing (as he had been concussed two weeks earlier
against Wellington) and a heavily strapped up Bruce Byron at fullback. Petone had already
won the grade but their coach kept on telling them they had to win this game to win the
competition. Copey capped off a splendid game (not that he was in the rucks and mauls much)
with a fine try off the back of a lineout, dribbling the ball several times before scoring.
The Ruru Shield challenge saw another loss to the 7 Ounces 4-14. Their hold on the coveted
Shield was starting to become legendary.
The end of season trip to play Masterton Marist was a high scoring affair won 32-26.
Played 19 Won 15 Lost 3 Drew 1 For 345 Against 161
Top scorer was Gerry Jurie with 127 points. Guy Latham got 68 points including 14 tries and
six conversions. Al Mansell was close behind with 13 tries.
1986 – The Start Of An Era
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The season was another up and down one for the 69ers, finishing a creditable fourth with seven wins and seven
losses from the 14 competition games. No less than seven Saturdays were lost due to bad weather, badly upsetting
the latter part of the season and, in particular, the selectors Hippo Hibbard and Todd “TP” Pearce. In addition,
the team won the tour match 11-3, but lost a very hard-fought Ruru Shield challenge against the 7 Ouncers at
Prince of Wales Park 12-0.
Alan Dent, Murray Hill, Anthony and Mike Tane, Grant Milner, Phil Millichamp and Dave Griffiths were missing
from the previous season’s regulars, but the team welcomed Bruce Hills back from overseas along with Matt
Casbolt, Noel Berney, Andy Holmes, Richard Mansell, Nigel Hamilton, Gary Newman, Ian Inkson and Dave
Sullivan. Twenty six players completed more than one game during the season and only JJ McBeth less than one.
Soloists included Mike Sears, D. Wong, Matt Turner, Gavin Love (?) and Taki Anaru (?).
It was also the season in which Al “Dork” McKee started. His career extends to the current day and along with
Paddy Whooley, are the driving force behind the Soixante-Neufs.
Highlights were two wins against Rimutaka, two against WCOB, and a good victory over Stokes Valley. But
Wests proved too good winning both matches. The encounters with Merv and his team have been very keenly
contested over the years from when they played as Karori. The team has shared many a beer with them back at
the Western Park. It was unfortunate that Pete “Kamikaze” Barlow was injured by an unnecessary piece of
thuggery in the first match of the season against Wests, but the player concerned was later convicted of assault
and there was no reflection on what has always been a hard but fair team.
The hardest game of the year was the show down at Kelburn Park against the 3 O’s, which had been building up
for a year. The match was extremely close with the forward struggle being particularly fierce and with only five
minutes to go, the team thought the 6-4 lead would be enough. Alas, replacement flanker Kamikaze, having been
on the field only a short time, was caught narrowly off-side and the resulting penalty saw us lose by one point.
Nigel Hamilton, who had gone to hospital for stitches to his head, denied causing any trouble and thought he had
had a quiet game. (Off duty cops are always like that – Ed.)
The tour committee didn’t function all that well but Peter “Skylab” Kissick, as he was now to be known, came to
the rescue and organised a game at Pirinoa against Rob Bargh’s club side, Tuhirangi. Dave Sullivan managed to
get left behind but the team eventually got 15 players to Pirinoa in time for the curtain raiser – a women’s match
between the Ngaiwi Knockers and the Pirinoa Pussies. It was very entertaining and the team was able to show
Bushy what he looked like on the field.
Conditions for the match were really cold and miserable, with a biting Southerly blowing across the ground. Matt
Casbolt played well and scored a try, but the real heroes were Dago and JJ who watched the whole game. At the
end there were only five spectators left, three of them were sitting inside a Land Rover.
Dinner was at the Martinborough Hotel and it was a rather late night as the team had a lot to talk about!
Next day the team all played golf at the Martinborough Golf Club and it was soon clear there would be problems
when it was found that cars were not the only things parked behind the Clubhouse. You’ll always find carrots!
A lot of golf was eventually played with Bushy, Skylab and Dork just breaking 350 between them and most of
the others not doing justice to a very picturesque course.
The team spent a few hours at the Featherston Tavern, the original, not the more recently adopted city version,
then stopped for an evening meal at a steakhouse in Trentham where Matt “Bambi” Casbolt ate his last ever
An unsatisfactory aspect of the season was that the team were able to score so few points and it seemed a far cry
from the days when the 69ers were able to score at will. It was clear some dramatic steps would have to be taken
to ensure the success of the Jubilee Year.
Although not written into the score book, several players excelled during the season. The first was Richard
“Rabbit” Mansell. A new comer to the team, but quickly inducted when, on tour, he was found at 1:30 a.m. parked
over a wicker basket (in a rabbit like position) in the manageress’s bedroom having a hughie. She then threatened
to call the police for the fourth time. Well done Richard.
Captain Paul Cutler led by example and conceded at least one penalty a game for fighting, and Jonesy went
through the season without scoring (on the paddock) for the umpteenth consecutive season.
Played 16 Won 8 Lost 8 Drew 0 For 145 Against 140
Nick Cutler kicked 52 and Bushy was the leading try scorer with four (plus a couple of close ones!)
1985 – Conceding 69 Points In A Game
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In 1985 it appeared as if the team would struggle for numbers with so many of the hard core departing for one reason or another. Todd Foster and Bushy were the selectors and had called on 30 players by the seventh game in a relentless quest for the right combination. The situation was improved markedly with the arrival of the Tane family, Martin, Mike, Anthony and Jason, along with their supportive parents Moira and George. Martin took over the goal kicking until relieved by Jason during his holidays from Hato Paora College. Mike was a real force at No. 8 and Anthony, between golf matches and injuries, added class to the mid-field. Their best effort was in the win against Upper Hutt when all four brothers scored, posting 33 of the Niners’ 37 points. Other new players to the team who managed more than one game were Colin Wiggins, Alan Dent, Dave Griffiths, Mino Cleverley, Murray “Ming the Merciless” Hill, John Sproat, Nick Cutler and Tony Sullivan. Hippo Hibbard led the side conscientiously, surprising a number of people. Good wins were achieved over Hutt Old Boys, Stokes Valley and Wellington, although the team lost narrowly to Wests 12-6. The much awaited fixture against the newcomers from Wests 3rd Open Grade, the 3 O’s, was lost by a large margin, although Bushy scored a try and the team held the lead briefly. This match was played at Kelburn Park early on the morning of the 2nd Test against England and a number of players were not at their best possible due to pre-test nerves, but more likely to a big Friday night. This match was but a taste of what was to take place one year later at the same venue. One other big loss was suffered at the hands of Porirua Police, who has obviously heard of the team’s reputation. Their team was full of senior and first class players, all very fit and keen to score a try (most did). We were ahead 3-0 after five minutes, but that was the end of the team’s scoring and the final margin was more than 69 points! The score was 3-73 to be exact. The tour to Christchurch that year was an unqualified success with great hospitality being shown by the Cron family and the Christchurch Rugby Club. The team all watched the All Blacks win the Test against England, although several of the tour party did so from the Lancaster Park Pub, 200 yards from the ground itself. It seems they found some old timers who wanted to buy them a beer and it was an offer they couldn’t refuse. The team’s own match against Christchurch Club on Sunday was a high scoring one with the Niners eventually prevailing, 40-36. Features of this game were the appearance of Mike Cron at fullback for us, John “Shabby” Shewan’s two tries, a conversion each by Peter Hibbard and the ref, ex All Black Richard Wilson, and Clive Elliot’s debut appearance at the back of the scrum. The experience was so much for him, he hasn’t played since. The after-match celebrating went late into the night and by the time the team flew back to Wellington the next day, a number of new stories had become part of 69er legend. Stats Played 16 Won 9 Lost 7 Drew 0 For 220 Against 294 Leading points scorers were Marty Tane with 45 points and Jason Tane with 46 points. (Although not documented and officially kept as a statistic, there was an end of season match played against a visiting Clive team at the Boyd Wilson field without goal posts. This may not have been a 69er game, although it was organised by David Jones and had lots of Neufers playing – Ed.)
1984 – Race To Be The First Centurion
[show_more more=More less=Less]The year was not great results wise with only eight wins in 19 matches. The trend towards rough play in matches, and a reluctance by referees to take control of potentially explosive situations led to a loss of enjoyment and subsequent retirements from the game. It was an unfortunate aspect that was taking place in the game, particular as the 69ers’ philosophy on the game is total enjoyment created by total involvement. Peter “Hippo” Hibbard, Val Barrett, Rob Gibbs, Rob Hargreaves, Duncan Forrest and Bill Bennison were among the new faces, while Peter “Mast” Kissick and Gavin Bush returned from overseas. Mast played in all but one match as did Ian Nellies. Hippo played all 19 matches at prop and showed his durability if not blistering speed. Ian Nellies became the first ever player to score 100 points in a season ending up with 113. Without his efforts, a lot more than 10 games would have been lost. His defensive work at fullback was also of the highest order. The season saw two players reach their 100 matches for the Soixante-Neufs. John Hackett in the 129th match versus Western Suburbs, and Mark Stevens in the 134th match versus Petone. Regrettably, neither was a memorable match, with both being lost. Others in line for the magical ton at the time were Al McBeth, Dave Jones, Dean Clarke, Tim Bourke and Mike Copeland. This season was the last for stalwarts John Hackett (retired), Darkie Stevens, Tim Bourke (overseas), and Dean Clarke (Wairarapa). Nigel Lloyd retired after 49 games and Dave O’Connell, Duncan Forrest, Richard Thorpe, Bruce Clarke and Grant Milner left the area. The tour match at Queens Birthday was played in Blenheim against the Marlborough Golden Oldies, a team comprising of a large number of the Marlborough Ranfurly Shield of the 1970’s. They were obviously using the game as a warm up or else were going to drink more than play rugby at the Golden Oldies Tournament, as the Soixante-Neufs triumphed 38-17. The backs excelling in scoring seven tries. In the team’s haste to escape the Blenheim gendarmerie, the team’s beloved Swazzie was inadvertently left behind. Other features of the tour included “Chuck” Carter living up to his name as he and Darkie slept the night in the corner of the bar under all the team’s gear. Also, poor Phil Grosvenor who was not allowed to play rugby in case he got injured, came home and confronted his wife with two black eyes and bandages around his head. The result of a car accident. Stats Played 19 Won 8 Lost 10 Drew 1 For 249 Against 258 Ian Nellies top scored with 113 points, including seven tries. Tim Bourke scored eight tries. Bourkey ended the season with 57 tries since 1979 with a total of 271 points, while close behind him was Al McBeth with 56 tries (224 points).
1983 – New Blood
[show_more more=More less=Less]1983 saw several new faces including Bruce Clarke, Bruce Forbes, Gavin Cowley, Mike Bennett, Ian Nellies, Ralph Goddard, Dave O’Connell, Richard “Chuck” Carter, Grant Milner, Jim Grace, Richard Thorpe and Dave Shillson. Allen Shanks and Alan “Luigi” Seerup made debuts on tour in Christchurch and Carterton respectively. “10-4” Ingram headed back to South Africa with Gavin Bush, Todd Pearce, Dave Neilson and Bruce Hills also going overseas. Paul “Cuddles” Cutler retired yet again and Phil McKay, after 64 games and 229 points, retired through injury. Copey played in all 15 matches and Dave O’Connell appeared as halfback, hooker, flanker, second-five and centre. Bill Revell made a comeback but damaged his wrist after just three games. Ian Nellie’s goal kicking (72 points) maintained the high standard of the previous years. Overall another successful season with 10 of 16 games won. The best result was a 36-0 thrashing of Hutt Valley Marist captained by Peter “Hippo” Hibbard, who was later to join the ranks of the Soixante-Neufs. The season saw the first ever videoed match. The filming expertise was not the best, but neither was the team’s playing ability, as the team played probably the team’s worst match in losing 4-26. The edited highlights of the game were reportedly rumoured to last 55 seconds. The Queens Birthday trip saw the boys venture further abroad, this time to Christchurch. The game was against Christchurch Suburbs and won 8-6. Nobody has any recollection of the game except that the opposition had a 52 year old 1st five and that he was five yards quicker than Bourkey (in a straight line)! Another good game was the end of season tour match against Carterton, which was lost 16-24, but the opposition boasted All Black trialist Charlie Kaka, two other Wairarapa Bush “A” reps and several of the Wairarapa Bush “B” reps. The opposition only kicked the ball from kick-offs and 25s, and so the cover defence was sorely stretched that day. Disciplinary action against Luigi for breaking curfew was considered, but his youthful exuberance in the forward pack was felt to be more important. Richard Thorpe was immortalised for his “Sunshine Mountain” song, and “Chuck” Carter turned on another of his endearing performances. Bruno finally found out the value of tomato juice and Worcester sauce the next morning courtesy of Copey. The egg fights on the Avon were a messy experience (for those who got hit). Stats Played 16 Won 10 Lost 6 Drew 0 For 229 Against 145 Apart from Ian Nellies’ 72 points, Bourkey notched up another 46 points including 10 tries, and Al McBeth scored eight tries.
1982 – Our Best Ever?
[show_more more=More less=Less]The 1982 season started poorly with four losses in the first six matches. From that point on the team only lost one competition match, and in fact won the top four play off, playing one of its best ever matches to beat Petone 34- 10. Two extremely volatile matches against Avalon, won 4-3 and lost 6-7, were played and are best forgotten. The team finally beat a Wellington team (not the Surfies) 12-9. The team’s final position in the grade was second behind Petone. The Queens Birthday trip featured the team’s first overseas trip – to Nelson – and one of the stormiest Wellington days for the Cook Strait crossing. Fortunately it was not too rough, although the person lucky enough to draw Boyd Kenna in the “First to Chunder” sweepstake, did not have to wait too long into the trip to collect his money. Rumours abounded that Bruno may have first, but after having been dropped some 60 feet down a bank by his so called mates and breaking his nose, no one could actually find the evidence. The weather in Nelson turned out beautifully fine and thanks to the splendid hospitality shown by John and Lorraine Levenbach, the lads turned up quite refreshed for the game against Rivals. Todd “TP” Pearce had left his gear bag behind in a pub in Picton and so was immediately relegated to reserve. He had other things on his mind considering the contents of his bag. Bourkey reluctantly had half a game at prop and showed up ranging outside the wing for the final pass and a try after just two minutes. His positional play at prop left a lot to be desired and the scrum with Sweatyhead on the other side and Bruno in the middle took on a rather lop-sided look. “10-4” Ingram excelled at fullback in the second half and even kicked a conversion. For the record the team won 48-13. On the way back by minibus to Picton, the team travelled through the picturesque but winding Queen Charlotte Sound. It was here that the person who drew Boyd Kenna’s name in the sweepstake collected his money. Mind you, it was touch and go between Boyd and Nigel Lloyd. “DK” Geenty must have drawn Nigel, because he was busily blowing smoke into his face the whole time on the trip back. New faces this year included John Eichelbaum (briefly until Todd Foster’s hospital pass against Athletic), Pete “Kamikaze” Barlow, Jim Campbell, Peter Biggs and Damian Palmer. Another newcomer, Noel Sainsbury, had a badly injured hand after his first game – the legacy of Jonesy’s kicking him because he was not releasing the ball. He was wearing a green jersey Dave! The first challenge by the 69ers for the Ruru Shield was against Cornelius Groat. This was “Shield” rugby at its hardest, and the team went down 7-11 in a tough encounter. It was also the scene of the Wellington Rugby League Club final and the Ranwick team talk in the changing room next door made Nigel Lloyd’s urgings sound like the local minister at a parish picnic. Those thumps on the wall were actually grown men headbutting the concrete! Syd McCrone played his only two matches for the team with the Wainui encounter a classic. Syd was late tackled and Bruno Hackett exacted retribution, only to find five Wainui players bearing down on him. Fortunately for Bruno, Bourkey foot-tripped one of them and they in turn set off after him through a nearby soccer match, across the croquet green, and up Kelburn parade. The team’s old friend “Concrete” interceded and called the bros off. Bourkey was last seen running down Devon Street still pursued by the touch judge flag and all. The 100th game played by the 69ers was against Massey Y’s at Prince of Wales Park, which the team regrettably lost 4-6. For the record, the team was: FORWARDS: David Jones, David Neilson, John Hackett, Gavin Bush, Nigel Lloyd, Pete Barlow, Bruce Hills and Jim Campbell. BACKS: John Ingram, Phil McKay, Todd Foster, Stu King, Damian Palmer, Steve Finlay, Syd McCrone and Tim Bourke. Stats Played 21 Won 14 Lost 7 Drew 0 For 292 Against 175 Of the 21 games played, Bourkey appeared in 20, with Bushy, Bruno and Bruce Hills playing in 19. Phil McKay’s kicking was a feature during the season netting him 76 points, including a drop goal, his first since his first match back in 1977 which took a further 60 matches (five years) and probably as many attempts, before he notched his second! Bourkey scored 56 points, including 12 tries.
1981 – First Tour Loss
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The season saw the return of John “10-4” Ingram, having previously appeared in 1977, and Paul “Cuddles” Cutler. New faces included Todd Foster, Kerry O’Brien, Don McLoughlin, Boyd Kenna, Todd Pearce, Paul Stewart and Danny “DK” Geenty. Only four matches were lost of the 17 played, and this included two tour matches and a visit from the Massey Y’s to play us at Boyd Wilson Park – the first game against a touring team with a final score of 20-all. The team’s proud touring record was dented for the first time, but no wonder when you look at the opposition – Taradale Senior 2nd. Their senior first side won the competition. The score of 0-30 was not a true indication of the game, but a reasonably close one. In fact, the team was lucky to score nil! We did restrict them to just 10 points in the second half. The bus trip to Hawkes Bay was memorable for the fact that Tim Bourke had organised the booze (some 60 dozen Steinlager), only he had not organised the bus driver who informed use that we could not drink on the bus. Result – 725 steinie stops between Wellington-Napier-Wellington. It saw the first instance of a kidnapping when a Scotsman, aptly named “Hawick Whiskers” was spirited on to the bus at Wellington with no money, no change of clothes and no rugby prowess. At least the team could have kidnapped Scotty Crichton or Bernie Fraser! Song books were prepared for the trip and Phil Grosvenor’s rendition of “Craven A” became a popular party piece. The song books later became excellent weapons when a mistake was made in drinking games. As we could not drink on the bus the penalty was being whacked by 15 people with rolled up song books. The after match function at Taradale was famous for Mike Copeland’s superb “Address to the Nation” speech, and the reason for us not giving Swazzie to Taradale being that not only did the opposition have to beat us, but they also had to score 69 points against us! Copey then led us in “The Cow Kicked Nelly in the Belly in the Barn” which brought the house down. The “Choo Choo Waddy” song was taken up and improved upon by Phil Grosvenor for future renditions. That evening saw the team visit a local Chinese restaurant, help reconstruct their plumbing, rearrange their pot plants, and straighten out their cutlery. The team found their way back to the hotel only to be met by the boys in blue asking who was captain. Nigel Lloyd was quickly appointed captain by Bourkey and was taken to a magnificent mansion belonging to the owner of the Chinese restaurant, who demanded $15 for wilful damage to a pot plant – an offence under S. 401(4)(b)(i) of the Crimes Act 1961. The lost to Wellington 11-12 was yet another example of how close the matches with that team were over the years. Gavin “Bushy” Bush generously put his head in the way of an opposing player’s boot so that the player was sent off and suspended for five weeks! The final tour match was against Massey Y’s at Massey University, won 26-20 with “10-4” Ingram scoring three tries. Ironically the best games that year were the ones the team failed to win, versus Wellington 11-12, Onslow 0-0 and Karori (the battle of Western Park) 9-10. The earlier Karori match was won 13-12, with a last minute penalty being awarded by the Ref (none other than Copey). Copey was later to distinguish himself when he actually sin-binned Paul Stewart in a match against Avalon. Paul’s enrolment form for the Jubilee stated that he was interested in the rugby match, but not if Copey was the referee! The Petone game, won 24-4, was memorable for “Bruno” Hackett’s famous quote “I’m done for” after trying a “Maori” sidestep against Bob “Concrete” Marley. It was only when he realised he was being replaced that a remarkable recover was staged! Tony Beech headed off for the UK, while Mark Skinner headed for two years in the USA. Stats Played 17 Won 10 Lost 4 Drew 3 For 299 Against 183 Top scorers were Phil McKay with 75 points and “10-4” Ingram with 10 tries. The team finished third again in quite a hard fought competition.
1980 – Points Galore
[show_more more=More less=Less]1980 was the first real hint of the teams’ try-scoring abilities when 89 tries were scored. Tim Bourke got 20 and Al McBeth 19. The team welcomed Dave Neilson, Bruce Hills, Chris “Crash” Graham, Mark Skinner, Pete Brosnahan, Chris Hunt, Gavin Bush, and our two Poms, Phil Grosvenor and Nigel Lloyd. We even had a team accountant in the form of Tony Beech and he jealously guarded our finances despite the attentions of some of our “sharper” team mates. An innovation was to open a bank account in the name of Mr S. Neuf. David Collins in his naivety actually asked the significance of Mr Neuf! Against Tawa the opposition kicked off three times in six minutes with us ahead 18-0 after three converted tries. A final resounding victory 62-6. Nigel Lloyd’s first game was a memorable affair as we had too many players and gave him to the opposition. Keen to display his ability (his side went down 53-4) Nigel and Al McBeth, who had not been introduced before the game, were seen to be having a right donnybrook well away from the play. Al was most apologetic when he was told of our new Soixante-Neufer all the way from England. Nigel later became famous for his halftime talks which went something like: “Has anyone got any comment on the first half – shut up Hackett!”. There was one occasion when the halftime pep talk arrived a bit early, five minutes after the start in fact! Still there was no doubting his enthusiasm. The battles against the Wellington Club continued. The previous year the team had been pipped 13-10 with a try five minutes into injury time. This year the team had two superb games (both lost), one 17-19 with a last minute drop goal, and the other 6-7 after Al McBeth’s disputed non-try in the final stages. It was the latter game that Bruno made his much vaunted comment about bullies to big Tom Moke and was later seen to break the backwards running record – that is until Tim Bourke’s disruption of a soccer match at Kelburn Park when chased by the Wainui cuzzies. There were the usual two tour matches. Sweatyhead generously invited the lads to Taupo to play the Athletic Club – he also invited most of the guys to stay at his parents’ place. It was on that tour that Chris “Crash” Graham was aptly nicknamed and Mark “Darkie” Stevens created all sorts of difficulties when having to be extracted from the Cobb & Co toilets in Taupo. The match was won 37-6 against quite a strong opposition with Chris Hunt kicking for goal magnificently. This tour also saw the introduction of “Swazzie” obtained by courtesy of Darkie Stevens from a Wellington hostelry. Danny “DK” Geenty’s craftsmanship meant we had a magnificent trophy to display in the clubrooms and to take on tour. It was also this year that “The Class of Sixty Nine” newsletter was published on a bi-monthly basis. A quote from the July edition shows the toughness of the 69ers: “Adrian Risman had a tough baptism of fire for the 69ers. He scored a fine try in the first 10 minutes, but shortly after broke a collarbone which has brought to an end his promising career. Now he brasses everybody off by pretending to be Keith Quinn on the sideline”. Tim Bourke outfitted everybody in resplendent new 69er T-shirts (a far better effort than Jonesy’s later attempts!) and our thanks for his kind generosity. The team played its 50th match in the 69er colours against Athletic winning 53-4. The final tour match was against Marist Masterton which we won 13-8. It was a game of distinct halves. The team was down 0-8 at halftime against a vastly different team from that expected. It was only when they brought on the guys we had been drinking with the previous afternoon, evening and morning that we looked like winning! Talk about decoys leading us astray. Katherine Hepburn played for the opposition. Now Katherine had in the past displayed a modicum of intelligence and quite a bit of speed (particularly when chased by Chalmers). He scored many tries from the only move ever initiated by the 69ers in 10 years – the “Kamikaze” (We will not explain the move in case the opposition reads this book – Ed.) The call of “Kamikaze” went up when we had a scrum 5 metres from their line. Katherine said “Watch the open side, watch the open side”. History will relate that a very easy try was scored on the blind side – the wing that Katherine had abandoned for the open side! We seldom use the “Kamikaze” move now because one of our number, Peter “Kamikaze” Barlow thinks we are calling him and gets in the bloody way! Mark “Goose” Geenty’s demolition job on the Marist clubrooms incurred the wrath of a few people. The team was advertising for a carpenter to accompany them on all tours on which Goose participated. In the Personal Columns of the September Newsletter, the following appeared: Lost: A four inch blond hair from the head of Jack Waymouth – substantial reward offered for its return. Found: One of Dean Clarke’s ears at Kelburn Park; a rib at Fraser Park; and a leg at Masterton. Personal: Dear Malcolm, Sorry you could not make it up to Masterton, love Katherine. Personal; Darkie, Hackett, Chalmers and Smith, keep out of the bloody backline. Stats Played 19 Won 14 Lost 5 Drew 0 For 464 Against 185 For the record, we came third in the competition, with Tim Bourke (96), Al McBeth (76) and Phil McKay (65) heading the points scoring. Tim appeared in 18 of the matches, and at this point of time the 69ers had played 63 matches with John “Bruno” Hackett (53), and Dean “Dago” Clarke (44) having played the most.
1979 – The Revival
[show_more more=More less=Less]1979 – The Revival Things were looking like a repeat of 1978 at the beginning of the season, but the team had a stroke of luck when the evergreen Dave Jones (Jonesy) brought the remnants of his J5 team to join up. These included Mike “Copey” Copeland, David Collins and Malcolm Chalmers. Also introduced were Kevin Smith, Brook Gibson, John “Shabby” Shewan, Mick Hoskins, Tony Beech and Tim Bourke, while welcoming back Phil McKay. Although some 50 players wore the hallowed jersey, the team had a most enjoyable season winning nine out of sixteen games, and more importantly, both of the touring encounters against Inglewood (13-10) and Marist Masterton (14-0). Steve Finlay showed his unstinting loyalty to the team by coming up to Inglewood on the bus with a broken collarbone, just so that the team didn’t look as though they were short. He joined in the auction for team places in the never-to-be-played Hawera match, bidding successfully for captain and goal kicker. Reinforcements in the form of Freddie Thorp and Jane Shearer (Dods) met up at Sanson. Freddie’s cactus juice was the highlight of his tour. Kevin “Katherine” Hepburn endeared himself to all and sundry and spent the minus 5 degree celsius evening in the cab of a digger at a nearby construction site. Al McBeth fell asleep and Darkie was too quick for him! A classic team photo was subsequently taken outside Geoff Shearer’s place and has pride and place in the 69ers’ scrap book. Darkie was the only one who could be recognised! It is reported that the bond between Malcolm Chalmers and Katherine was sorely tested at times during the weekend. The Marist Masterton game was memorable for Mark “Goose” Geenty’s performances (mostly off the field) and for John “Shabby” Shewan’s debut at No.8. Has anyone ever found Lyndall’s boots? The season saw a new meaning to the term “pre-match warm-up” with the sight of Sweatyhead and John “Bruno” Hackett slugging it out at Wakefield Park before the game! It sure frightened the hell out of the opposition. Pete Lawson may rue his last match for the 69ers as he was to play reserve for New Zealand Universities the following week, only to be injures in our match, and miss the game. Stats Played 16 Won 9 Lost 7 Drew 0 For 173 Against 161 Bunny Blair’s 33 points were top for the season while Bruno burgled four tries.
1978 – The Crash
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1978 was a bit of a disaster as far as results were concerned. The team had been promoted on the basis of the previous seasons results, and had lost several players who has shifted away from the area. Al McBeth was to have a hernia operation (so he says). Only six wins were recorded, with just as many thumpings. The tour record was maintained however, winning both matches against Massey University. During the Queens Birthday trip Al McBeth, Darkie Stevens and Katherine Hepburn displayed their fine tackling techniques at a party, which resulted in a young lady, unfortunate enough to be present, farewelling her friends at Wellington airport wearing a large plaster cast on her leg. Great spot tackle Darkie. Such notables as Mike “Mad Mac” McAleer, Alex Tully, Jack “Sweatyhead” Waymouth, Freddie Thorp, Steve Finlay, Baz Roche, Bernie Radford, John Reynolds, Murray Bond and Pete Kissick as well as 40 others made their debuts. The classic debutant was one misguided young chap who had imbibed in a few too many at Barretts one Friday night, and who was introduced to Al McBeth as a promising young rep halfback who had played for Northland. No one thought too much when warming up that he didn’t seem to know too much about the basics. Pre-game nerves! New players often have an attack of the butterflies before playing for the 69ers. Well the first half was a disaster, and at halftime a distraught Al asked “ I thought you were a rep halfback” “Yup” came the reply, “but nobody gave me a chance to say that it was at hockey!”. That was Al’s last year as sole selector. Stats Played 16 Won 6 Lost 10 Drew 0 For 188 Against 348 Top scorer was again Bunny Blair with 34, while Bill Revell scored four tries.
1977 – The Debut Year
[show_more more=More less=Less] 1977 – The Debut Year For the record, the first game of the 69ers was played against Karori at Western Park (not the pub – that is where the first practice was held), with a resounding victory 27-0. The team, result and scorers were: Geoff Shearer, Mark Blair, Alasdair McBeth, Bill Revell, Doug Sleeman, Kevin Hepburn, Stu Gordon, John McLeod, Dean Clarke, Tim Antonievich, Paul Russell, Stu Pilkinton, Paul Cutler, John Hackett, Wayne Benton. Paul McHugh and Blair Jones were replacements. Scorers:- Tries, D Clarke (2), A McBeth (2), B Jones Conversions, M Blair (2) Penalties, M Blair The second match against Stokes Valley resulted in three players going to hospital by ambulance. Five reserves were used that day, with Dean “Dago” Clarke going on as a replacement and lasting only two minutes. Only two losses were experienced by the team, and those were only by 10-12 and 14-15. In the last game versus WCOB, the opposition were one short. The team gave them Paul McHugh and watched as he scored his one and only try in his whole career to win the game for the opposition! With the hey-day of paid education, a youthful team without the ties of family, mortgages or work (getting an education is not work!), the twin touring concept was introduced – one at Queens Birthday weekend and the other at the end of the season. Both matches were narrowly won, 28-20 versus Fitzroy and 17-15 versus Masterton. Wayne “Lupe” Benton’s half-time revivers at Fitzroy have ensured him a place in Soixante-Neuf history, and Stu “Aussie” Pilkinton’s face after being introduced to Brian Lochore and told that he was marking him in the match the next day was equally hilarious. Aussie broke all records for a person first to bed on a 69er’s tour – 8 p.m! This was later to be matched by Chris “Crash” Graham. In Masterton, most players were billeted at Kevin “Katherine” Hepburn’s mother’s place. No one actually told her until 1 a.m. when she got out of bed to investigate the noise only to find the forwards just finishing the roast for Sunday’s lunch! Players who had their first and last seasons with the team included Tim Antonievich, Doug “Slug” Sleeman, Stu Gordon, Rod Drew, Paul “Pols” Barris and Paul Russell. Stats Played 12 Won 9 Lost 2 Drew 1 For 269 Against 114 Mark “Bunny” Blair displayed good kicking skills notching 80 points and Al “JJ” McBeth dotted down for 12 tries.