Ponies cen­te­nary a must for Har­ley

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Morgan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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