Ponies centenary a must for Harley
Harley Dear is keeping pace with his former rugby league club.
The 96-year-old is the oldest living former Ponsonby rugby league player and hopes to attend the club’s centenary celebrations in October.
The former standoff remembers his time at the Ponsonby club – where he started playing in 1925 – with fondness, including the training sessions.
“I used to run round and round the park,” he says.
Centenary committee chairman Ron Smyth, who played for Ponies as a child, says organising the celebrations has been a little harder this time because “everyone’s getting older”.
But he thinks it’s worth it to honour those who belonged to the club from the very beginning.
“Everybody worked together – that’s how they survived in those days.
“Guys used to play with broken arms and all sorts.”
Ponsonby have had clubrooms at several sites over the years including premises on Clarence St from 1951 to 1973 and Blake St from 1975 to 1994.
But it’s only in the last few years that they have been able to return to their original home of Victoria Park, where they share a complex with the Grafton Cricket Club.
The former winger says it’s great to be back at the ground they started at for their 100th birthday.
Club chairman Keith Bell says the club is looking to the future.
“We’ve got more teams this year than we’ve ever had.”
And with the club’s premier side back in the first division, and a strong history behind it, Mr Bell thinks the club can only go from strength to strength.
For more information on taking part in Ponsonby rugby league’s centenary on October 10, 11 and 12, contact David Bailey on 828-8384, email purl100@ internet.co.nz or visit www. ponsonbyponies.com.
The Ponsonby Rugby League Club is encouraging former players to head down to Victoria Park this Saturday. The club is holding an old boys day, to give players from the past the chance to catch up with former teammates before the Ponies take on Pakuranga in the Fox preliminary series.
Old boys are encouraged to show up at the clubrooms from 1pm, while the match starts at 2.30pm.
Ponies through and through: Ponsonby league’s oldest living player Harley Dear, front, with chairman of the centenary committee Ron Smyth and club chairman Keith Bell.
Unbeaten: Harley Dear (back row, right) with the championship winning Ponsonby league side from 1930, who went through the season without losing a game.