Hunt on for former Pirates players
A legacy of great rugby players will be celebrated at the 65th reunion of the Pirates Rugby Football Club.
Held over two days starting on Friday August 12 past members will get the chance to reminisce in the clubs historical footsteps.
Formed in 1951 the club was created to cater for the town’s thriving population.
Former president Gerry Portegys, 77, said by 1958 there was a senior team, senior B, under 21s, under 19s and the Junior Advisory Board.
The Board had 21 teams of boys starting at 5 years old.
‘‘There was a need to form a second club. The first sawmill was up and running in Kinleith so there was people streaming into town.’’
Portegys joined in 1958 at 19-years-old straight out of high school.
‘‘I was approached by people who told me there was only one team to join and that was Pirates.’’
Playing all the way through to 1964 he left to go on a OE.
Returning in 1978 Portegys worked on the committee until 1991.
At one stage three clubs existed in the timber town to cater for the population.
The highlight in the club’s history is marked by the senior team making the finals against Hamilton Marist.
In 1983 Tokoroa hosted the Brewery Shield match which drew the biggest crowd Portegys said.
‘‘It was the only time the club had been in a final. It was electric.
‘‘The atmosphere was amazing. Everybody became Pirates fans.’’
Playing in the pouring rain bus loads of supporters converged on the field.
The hometown lost but the memory still marks an important milestone for the club.
All Black, Paul Koteka was on the home side.
‘‘Tokoroa has produced so many talented players in different codes.
‘‘I think it’s the makeup of the town and it’s still happening.’’
The club expanded to include Cricket, Softball and Netball.
‘‘This included a senior women’s team.
In 2000 the Tokoroa Rugby Football Club and Pirates amalgamated to create the Southern United Rugby Football Club.
‘‘Tokoroa has been successful in the number of prominent people it has produced and long may they continue doing that.’’
For more information contact Dave Heathcoat at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Randall on email@example.com