Eden Rugby ju­bi­lant with re­turn to top

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - SAMHEWAT

Eden Rugby’s 95th ju­bilee cel­e­bra­tions couldn’t get any bet­ter.

The club has made the top eight of Auck­land Rugby’s premier com­pe­ti­tion, and will now con­test the Gal­la­her Shield for the first time in 30 years.

They’ll play Pon­sonby in the first round this Satur­day - the same week­end the club cel­e­brates 95 years of his­tory dat­ing back to 1922.

Coach David Bate­man said his side aimed to be in the top eight come the ju­bilee cel­e­bra­tions.

‘‘We didn’t want to play that first round, with the ju­bilee, in the Por­tola again,’’ Bate­man said.

‘‘It’s just awe­some, and we’ve got a home game as well to start the round.’’

It wasn’t a cake­walk for Eden, how­ever, with their fate com­ing down to the fi­nal min­utes on Satur­day.

They were trail­ing Manukau in the fi­nal match of pool play, and needed at least a point to stay clear of Waitem­ata, who were also in top four con­tention. If they lost within seven points they gained a bonus point.

Be­hind by six, with time about to ex­pire, Eden opted to kick the ball into touch as op­posed to try­ing to win the match, thus gaining the one point and se­cur­ing their fate as one of four teams to meet the top four from Pool B in the Gal­la­her Shield.

It con­tin­ues a stel­lar sea­son for the Eden out­fit, who won the Por­tola Tro­phy last year, the Auck­land and na­tional sevens com­pe­ti­tions, as well as the pre­sea­son Pol­lard Cup.

Their re­serve side also made the top eight this year, show­ing the depth they have go­ing into the next stage of com­pe­ti­tion.

Ju­bilee cel­e­bra­tions will be­gin on Fri­day, with a num­ber of events planned over the week­end.

A com­mem­o­ra­tive jersey will be worn on Satur­day as a homage to the 1954 Eden team that were pro­moted to di­vi­sion one rugby af­ter 32 years.

Life mem­ber and for­mer pres­i­dent Tom O’Han­lon said it had been a roller coaster 95 years, but to see Eden back at the top would be one of his cher­ished mem­o­ries.

‘‘It means a lot to me,’’ O’Han­lon said.

‘‘This is the crowning achieve­ment. I’m 83 now so I’m start­ing to slow up, but I’ve al­ways wanted to see them get back there.’’

Pon­sonby and Eden both fin­ished third in their re­spec­tive pools. Kick­off is at 2.45pm at Grib­ble­hirst Park on Satur­day.


Eden Rugby will con­test the Gal­la­her Shield for the first time in 30 years, co­in­cid­ing with the club’s 95th ju­bilee.

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