Game of two halves a lifelong passion
Most sports clubs have at least one person who forms the backbone of their operation without asking for recognition. For the Teachers Eastern Rugby Club, that person is 86-year-old Dave Dalgleish. He took Lauren Priestley for a walk down memory lane. GOO
Not many people can boast almost 80 years in one sport, but Dave Dalgleish can.
The 86-year-old Greenlane grandfather started playing rugby when he was 8 years old.
He hung up his boots in his mid-20s but didn’t settle for a life on the sidelines.
He threw himself into rugby management and has been involved in the Auckland Rugby Union, Primary Schools Regional Rugby Union and Teachers Eastern Rugby Club ever since.
He is a life member of all three organisations and was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rugby in 1997.
‘‘I just love the game. I enjoy the skills that are involved and I like the competitiveness. I’m still coming down to watch on weekends.’’
Mr Dalgleish has held almost every administrative position at Teachers Eastern and is still involved, though on a smaller scale.
He’s a former school principal and was once at the helm of Glen Innes Intermediate.
Along the way he has had some amazing experiences with New Zealand’s unofficial national sport.
In the 1987 World Cup Mr Dalgleish witnessed the history-making first All Blacks victory from his position on the Auckland Rugby media committee.
He says it’s the people that have made his service to rugby worthwhile.
‘‘I’m not special. I do get on well with people and I just enjoy the sport. Most of the people of my vintage are no longer with us unfortunately.’’
He got involved with the Training College Rugby Club in 1950 while studying to become a teacher.
Back then there
were plenty of male teachers-intraining, which ensured a constant supply of players.
‘‘The men are disappearing now and it’s mainly women becoming teachers.
‘‘Once there was an abundance of people playing at the club but there’s so many activities now that people are not getting into rugby like they used to.’’
The Training College club merged with Eastern in 1985, when Mr Dalgleish was club captain. He remained captain of the new Teachers Eastern Rugby Club, based at Orakei Domain, until 1990.
The amalgamated club has struggled for numbers in recent years and this year it was unable to field a premier team for the first time in its history.
Management are looking to merge with Grammar Carlton to fuel club numbers and encourage local players to get involved, Mr Dalgleish says.
For Grammar Carlton a merger would create room to expand outside of its Epsom grounds.
The clubs have been talking about a merger since 2011 but will finalise the possibility in a vote next month.
‘‘It’s good from our point of view, but it will also be good for Grammar Carlton. We don’t seem to be able to get players from around here as much but hopefully that can change. We’ve done it before and it worked well.’’
Old friends: Dave Dalgleish has seen many players come and go during a lifetime dedicated to rugby.