Old ri­val­ries laid to rest on rugby field

Hauraki Herald - - SPORT - JILL CLEAVE

Af­ter 67 years of some­times quite fear­some ri­valry the Paeroa West and Paeroa Old Boys rugby clubs are to unite as one.

The new club, which was granted ac­cep­tance into the Thames Val­ley Rugby Foot­ball Union at a spe­cial meet­ing on Mon­day, will be called the Paeroa Rugby and Sports Club.

Paeroa Old Boys club pres­i­dent Peter Smith said a steer­ing com­mit­tee had been work­ing hard to make sure ev­ery­one was happy with the union.

‘‘Both teams have strug­gled over the past five years with num­bers so it was de­cided the time was right to join forces,’’ he said.

He said times had been tough for both clubs with both down to field­ing just one team each.

‘‘Pool­ing our re­sources will bring our num­bers up and for the first sea­son we are aim­ing at field­ing a se­nior A and se­nior B team in the Val­ley club com­pe­ti­tions,’’ he said.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber and club cap­tain for Paeroa Old Boys Steven Hill said there had been good sup­port from the town around the merger.

‘‘We are also try­ing to con­struct a seam­less path­way for the kids to fol­low from ju­nior rugby through to club rugby which will keep mates with mates in­stead of split­ting to two sep­a­rate clubs,’’ he said.

The two clubs used to play as a com­bined team for the Peace Cup and will be tak­ing up the colours of the old Paeroa sub-union team as their new colours.

There has al­ways been a fierce ri­valry be­tween the two teams, which seems to have arisen when West, es­tab­lished in 1902, tried to stop Old Boys from form­ing their club in 1950, and their clashes have al­ways drawn the big­gest crowds to club rugby.

The Nether­ton club also op­posed the new club, which was orig­i­nally called Paeroa High School Old Boys as it was made up of the school’s first XV team who did not wish to join West or Nether­ton clubs, claim­ing it would en­dan­ger their fu­ture and be the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin of the Hiku­taia club al­ready in re­cess.

Smith said it was hoped the sup­port for each club would con­vert to sup­port for one club.

‘‘We are tak­ing part in the Thames Val­ley Rugby 7s club champs at Waitakaruru to­mor­row (Satur­day) and would love to see all our sup­port­ers out there to cheer us on,’’ he said.

‘‘We are wel­com­ing all to join the club, old, young, fit and not so fit. We are look­ing for coaches and man­agers, sup­port­ers and spon­sors, to make Paeroa a great rugby town again.’’

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