Old rivalries laid to rest on rugby field
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.’’