Tinwald rugby turns 125

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Tinwald Rugby Football Club stalwart Warren Donald at the clubrooms.

Tinwald Rugby Football Club will mark 125 years with a low-key celebration on November 20.

Anyone with an association with the club over the years is invited to come along to the clubrooms from 5pm for drinks, speeches and a catch-up.

Tinwald is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the district and its most famous son is All Black number 1073, Adam Thomson.

The club has produced a number of very good players over the years including South Island rep players Geoff Frew (1983-84), Warren Frew (1983), Murray Roulston (1982-84), who was also All Blacks triallist in 1982-82, and John Smitheram, who was NZRU third division player of the year in 1994.

These days the club’s focus is firmly on junior (JAB) rugby and it has not fielded a senior team since 2001.

Club stalwart Warren Donald said junior rugby was flourishing and around 150 kids were associated with the club.

Fourteen of the 26 boys in this year’s Mid Canterbury Alps U18 squad were from Tinwald, which boded well for a possible senior team re-build, he said.

Mr Donald played 26 consecutive years for Tinwald and started as a Tinwald Tigers aged nine.

He’s a life member of the club and groundsman and says the club has a proud history.

Anyone associated with the club and other rugby enthusiasts are invited along for a catch-up to mark 125 years.

“We had a big event for the club’s centennial 25 years ago, but this event is a low-key, relaxed affair.”

Tinwald Rugby Football Club’s first game in 1895 was against Rakaia, but history does not record the score.

The club played in blue and white hoops in the early days, but has changed its colours a number of times over the years.

The current orange and black tiger stripes were introduced in 1998.

The old club house at the training ground on Maronan Road burnt down in 2017 and the changing shed received a spruce up in 2016.

The clubrooms are busy most Saturdays in the winter with juniors and their families.

Contact Hefin Jones (027 420 5483) or Dave Leslie (027 660 6433) for more information on the 125-year celebration.

By Mick Jensen