Yeoval Eagles soar back through time to celebrate 70 years
WHILE Easter celebrates new life and rebirth, for the Yeoval Rugby Club it was also time to reflect on seven decades of mateship, battles won and lost and the continuation of some great traditions.
Names like Johnson, Stanbrook, Porch, White, Tremain, Job Vaughan and so many others are synonymous with Yeoval and a rugby heritage that began in 1948 in the small farming community between Dubbo and Molong.
Although the Club officially turned 70, research by Peter Tremain revealed that the first Yeoval rugby team played in 1903 – 115 years ago.
A funny aside was that the first recorded rugby “sledge” was from the Obley team in 1897 wanting to know “when Yeoval would form a team”!
According to organiser Peter Tremain, the father of recently awarded Sheffield Shield Player of the Year Chris, highlights of the reunion included:
z A very enjoyable Golden Oldies match between about 25 veterans, with no serious injuries, and a surprisingly high level of residual skills!
z An “invitational” team was accumulated at the last minute after plans for an Orange or Molong combination fell through. In true bush rugby style, the Invitational 15 took on the current Yeoval side. The team consisted of ex-players who had gathered for the Reunion, and some members of neighbouring clubs including Molong. It was an entertaining, closely fought match.
z A good roll up for the Walla Rugby match, giving some of the local kids who have to play in surrounding towns a chance to play in Yeoval Rugby colours on their home ground, Yeoval Sportsground.
Peter says over 200 people attended a memorable Reunion Dinner.
“No original team members from 1948 survive, however both Jon White (commenced 1953) and Les Tremain (commenced 1954) spoke about the early days.”
Instead of formal speeches, guests were interviewed. The interviewees included Jon White, Les Tremain, Rawson Leach (ex NSW Country), Steve Robertson (father of Wallaby prop Tom), Graeme Porch (ex Australian Under 17s and NSW Country seniors) and current Eagles’ captain Mitch Westcott.
Peter Scully, front, Rawson
One of the highlights of the interviews was Heather Johnson, wife of the late great Elvin Johnson who represented the NSW Waratahs at a time when Country dominated rugby selections.
“Heather gave the ladies perspective of Yeoval Rugby in a moving tribute to all who had forged the great club,” Peter added.
In an impromptu moment, Les Tremain was interviewed by his grandson Chris,