Re­mem­ber ‘The Boot’ of the 60s

Whanganui Midweek - - PUZZLE PAGE -

Al­though it was more than half a cen­tury ago, older Wan­ganui rugby fa­nat­ics still re­call the Ran­furly Shield chal­lenges of 1963 and 1964 when goal-kick­ing winger Colin Pierce (The Boot) scared the day­lights out of Taranaki.

Wan­ganui has run rea­son­ably close in a few of its 30 at­tempts to win the “Log” since 1907 but none have been so dra­matic as the two clashes with Taranaki at New Ply­mouth’s Rugby Park in the early 1960s.

The record books show the am­ber and blacks re­tained the tro­phy 14-12 in 1963 and 15-all the fol­low­ing sea­son be­fore more than 20,000 spec­ta­tors in­clud­ing thou­sands who trav­elled by bus and cars from the River City.

The records do not in­di­cate that the fate of the shield went right down to the fi­nal few sec­onds in both those epic fix­tures, and it was the boot of 14-stone Pierce that played a dom­i­nant role in the two chal­lenges.

On Septem­ber 14, 1963, he kicked four penal­ties with Wan­ganui ahead 6-0 af­ter 13 min and later 12-11 with time al­most show­ing up on the ground score­board clock.

Joy­ous Wan­ganui sup­port­ers, an­tic­i­pat­ing an his­toric first shield win for the Butcher Boys, rushed to the side lines ready to flock on to the field and con­grat­u­late the play­ers.

Full­back Barry O’Dowda had landed a penalty goal to creep Taranaki to within a point of the chal­lengers.

Pierce took a quick drop out from the 25 yard line and the ball sailed into the Wan­ganui sup­port­ers.

The Taranaki lines­man could not de­cide where the kick had landed be­cause of the mass of peo­ple pack­ing the side line and Auck­land test ref­eree John Pring ruled it had gone out on the full and or­dered a scrum back.

Taranaki half­back Kevin Briscoe worked the blind­side with fel­low All Blacks John McCul­lough and Ross Brown also in­volved as re­place­ment winger Kerry Hur­ley put in a grub­ber kick when blocked by the Wan­ganui de­fence.

To the de­light of the roar­ing re­lieved lo­cal fans Hur­ley raced through in fairy-like fash­ion for the shield-sav­ing 14-12 vic­tory try, to the hor­ror of the Wan­ganui sup­port­ers.

It was a heart-break­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Wan­ganui and re­sulted in a long and thought­ful re­turn trip home.

That 1963 Wan­ganui side com­prised Don Dormer (Marton Ath­letic), Colin Pierce (Kaierau), Trevor Spencer (Waver­ley), Brian Wat­son (Kaierau); John Bam­ber (Tech COB), Paul McAn­drew (Waiouru); Colin MacPhee (Marton Ath­letic); Rodger Green (Hun­ter­ville); Lau­rie Penn (Kaierau), Colin Rodgers (Kaierau), Graeme Lance (Waver­ley), Win­ston Cald­well (Marton Ath­letic), Neville Lo­max (Huia), Ge­off Byres (Kaierau) and Barry Dempsey (Kaierau).

It had not been a very suc­cess­ful sea­son for Ron Crombie’s coached side apart from a 23-16 home win over Horowhenua and draws with Taranaki (9-all) at Spriggens Pak on Queen’s Birth­day Mon­day morn­ing and away against Manawatu (16-all) in the fi­nal match of the year.

Ear­lier in the year Wan­ganui had chal­lenged Auck­land for the Ran­furly Shield at Eden Park on Au­gust 24 and man­aged 18 points, thanks to five penal­ties from Pierce and a drop goal by Dormer, but with the as­sis­tance of the switch­ing wind the hosts fi­nally won 41-18.

Wan­ganui fin­ished 1963 with one win, two draws and nine de­feats but that sea­son will al­ways be re­mem­bered for the ex­tra time shield loss to Taranaki.

Came 1964 and no-one could fore­see yet an­other heart­stop­ping shield chal­lenge in New Ply­mouth and it was again Pierce who stole the lime­light with four penalty goals and a try right on time to level the score at 15-all.

Wan­ganui went to New Ply­mouth on Au­gust 1 with a mixed record of away wins over Manawatu¯ (14-11) and Horowhenua (16-9) and home losses to Taranaki (0-20 on Queen’s Birth­day) and to King Coun­try (15-23).

Ross Brown pot­ted a shield record three field goals to help the am­ber and blacks to a 15-9 lead but Pierce slot­ted his fourth penalty goal and to the dis­may of the lo­cal fans fin­ished off a move­ment ini­ti­ated by un­der­rated Paul McAn­drew with a try in the cor­ner.

Time was up and the game locked at 15-all when Pierce at­tempted the vi­tal con­ver­sion, right from the side­line and with a heavy ball. He struck the kick well but it sailed out­side the goal posts to the re­lief of the Moun­tain Prov­ince play­ers and sup­port­ers.

This time Wan­ganui’s team in­cluded nine changes from the 1963 shield side and com­prised Peter McDon­ald (Waiouru); Colin Pierce, Lind­say Meads (Hun­ter­ville), Brian Delves (Wan­ganui Pi­rates); Allan Pickard (Tech COB), Paul McAn­drew; Colin MacPhee; Arthur Firmin (Huia); Bill Tun­nell (Tech COB), Colin Rodgers, Lyle Con­don (Tech COB), Win­ston Cald­well; Jack Cooney (Huia), Ossie Perry (Waiouru) and Barry Dempsey.

Five days af­ter the shield game Wan­ganui held the tour­ing Wal­la­bies to 14-0 on Spriggens Park.

The 1964 Wan­ganui team, again under coach Ron Crombie, fin­ished with two wins, two draws and seven de­feats.

Pierce also played in a 1965 shield chal­lenge against Taranaki in 1965. kick­ing a penalty goal in the 9-23 de­feat.

He scored 222 points (13 tries, 48 penal­ties, 15 con­ver­sions and three field goals) in his 41 games for Wan­ganui be­tween 1962 and 1965, 45 of the points com­ing in four Ran­furly Shield matches. He also played rep rugby in Poverty Bay and Welling­ton.

There was lit­tle chang­ing of play­ers dur­ing a game, with no re­place­ments for Wan­ganui in the 1963 and 1964 shield fix­tures.

Over re­cent sea­sons Wan­ganui has used a full quota of 22 play­ers in most suc­cess­ful Heart­land cham­pi­onship cam­paigns.

Colin Pierce’s son Scott be­came a tal­ented three quar­ter back, play­ing four times for New Zealand XVs in 1992 and for NZ Emerg­ing Play­ers in 1986 and rep­ping for North Har­bour be­tween 1988 and 1998 and for North­land in 1998.

This week­end there will be strong lo­cal sup­port for Wan­ganui when it plays its 31st Ran­furly Shield match against the Taranaki Bulls at 2.35pm on Satur­day in Ha¯ wera. It is live on TV Sport One.

Wan­ganui has played 27 first­class matches in Ha¯ wera be­tween 1890 and 2000 and win­ning just six times, the last vic­tory be­ing 9-7 in 1987.

The first of seven Wan­ganui shield chal­lenges against Taranaki was in 1914 at Ha¯ wera with the hosts win­ning 17-3. Last time the Butcher Boys played at Hicks Park (now The TSB Hub) was in 2000 with Taranaki romp­ing home 88-5.

Waara Tops

Young Ruapehu winger Shaquille Waara has topped the try scor­ing in Wan­ganui Tas­man Tan­ning pre­mier club rugby for 2018 with 16 tries. Waara, son of 1989-90 Wan­ganui rep Thomas Waara (Raetihi) and nephew of 1992-93 rep Re­gan Sue (Kaierau), scored four tries against Ra¯ tana at O¯ hakune, three against Nga¯ mat­apouri (away) and a rare hat-trick in a grand fi­nal, against Pi­rates at Cooks Gar­dens.

Waara looks cer­tain of a place in the Wan­ganui under-20 rep team this sea­son.

He headed off 2017 top try scorer Harry Symes (Bor­der) by two tries, speed­ster Symes fin­ish­ing on 14, one less than last win­ter.

Third high­est scorer this year was Ruapehu half­back KahlElers-Green with 12 tries.

Bor­der mid-field rep Kaveni Dabenaise, who fin­ished with 10 tries along with club-mate Nick Hard­ing and Marist rep Cameron Crow­ley, scored what is be­lieved to be a lo­cal club record of six tries when Bor­der beat Nga¯ mat­apouri 102-7 up the Waito­tara Val­ley.

Meke Magele (Pi­rates) scored five tries against Ra¯ tana on Marton Park with Tom Symes (away v Nga¯ mat­apouri), Vao­vasa Afa (Pi­rates at home v

Nga¯ mat­apouri), Troy Brown (Ruapehu away against

Nga¯ mat­apouri) and Waara (home against Ra¯ tana) bag­ging four tries each.

Three tries each in a game went to Waara (twice), James Dor­gan (Kaierau at home v

Ra¯ tana), Seruwalu

(Nga¯ mat­apouri away v Pi­rates), Harry Symes (Bor­der at home v Ra¯ tana), Stu­art Bros­na­han (Kaierau away v Nga¯ mat­apouri), Tyler Rogers-Holden (Bor­der v Ra¯ tana at Marton Park) and Sam Mon­aghan (Marist at home v Nga¯ mat­apouri).

The top in­di­vid­ual try scor­ers this year were —

16 Waara, 14 Harry Synes, 2 Elers-Green, 10 Hard­ing, Dabenaise and Crow­ley, 9 Jo­saia Bogileka (Marist), Ju­nior Ainea (Pi­rates), Jaye Flaws (Tai­hape), Seruwalu and Rogers-Holden (Bor­der), 8 Ray­mond Salu and Magele (Pi­rates), Troy Brown (Ruapehu) and Jack Yar­rall (Marist).

Api Koroi (Kaierau), brother of NZ Sevens play-maker Vil­iame Koroi, holds the Wan­ganui club record of 29 tries, scored in 2010.

The other top try-scor­ers with 20-plus tries in a sea­son are — 27 Asaeli Tikoiro­tuma (Marist) 2007, Pati Fe­tuia (Kaierau) 2006 and Stu Selby (Kaierau) 1992, 26 Asalusi Nag­icu (Hun­ter­ville) 1995, 25 Lance Walker (Kaierau) 1980, 23 John Hainsworth (Marton OB) 1988 and Corey Par­doe (Ratana) 2000, 22 Chris Car­rick (Waver­ley) 1991 and Johnny Muir (Marist) 2001, 21 Su­nia Sevu (Marist) 2002 and Jerry Meafou (Kaierau) 2004, 20 Adam Kirk­caldie (Tech) 1997 and Kaveni Dabenaise (Bor­der) 2016.

The team try scor­ing this year was Bor­der 89, Ruapehu 84, Pi­rates 59, Marist 57, Tai­hape 54, Kaierau 51, Nga¯ mat­apouri 33 and Ra¯ tana 29.

Ruapehu winger Shaquille Waara has topped the try scor­ing in Wan­ganui Tas­man Tan­ning pre­mier club rugby for 2018 with 16 tries.

This car­toon fea­tur­ing the fright­en­ing mon­ster Pierce’s Boot ap­peared in the Taranaki Daily News be­fore the 1964 Ran­furly Shield chal­lenge.

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