Club’s 50-year history has light side

Julianna Sullivan & Tony Stevenson

WAIMOS’ WEEKEND: The 50th anniversary of the Waimate Rugby Club will also see the launch of a book by Tony Stevenson and Julianna Sullivan celebrating the club’s history.

Tony Stevenson certainly has a sense of humour after spending seven years researching 50 years of the Waimate Rugby Club.

The author has called his 80-page chronicle for this weekend’s jubilee Waimos, Water and Wallabies.

Stevenson said he couldn’t hide from the fact every team that came joked about their water.

“It’s actually pretty good but you can’t be precious about it. I guess the Maori name Waimate does mean stagnant water, so along with being called the Waimos and having the wallabies it seemed to fit.”

Stevenson, together with Julianna Sullivan, have produced the history, with most of the 400 copies already spoken for.

“We were blown away when 364 registered and over 300 signed up for the dinner at Waimate Stadium.”

Stevenson said while he enjoyed the research, it was at times hard work.

“A lot of stuff got thrown out in the 60s and 70s, so we hard to start from scratch.”

That included spending several days at the Timaru library with copies of The Timaru Herald spread across the floor, he said.

“It’s not perfect by a long way but I think people will enjoy it.”

Sullivan said they came across a few interesting yarns.

“The clubrooms were built with volunteer labour and they even made the concrete blocks, in the car park and Ted Fraser’s. There were enough blocks left so Ted’s garage matches the clubrooms.”

The middle of the book features the club’s senior championship Skinner Cup wins, with photos of the teams from 1958, 1960, 1990, 1994 and 1995. The rest covers everything from JAB up.

Stevenson points out the club actually started in 1876 but as part of a sub-union and only got its real identity 50 years ago.

The book also touches on frontrower Robbie Davidson winning the Skinner Cup in 1960 and his son Andrew doing the double in the 90s.

Should Waimate pull it off in 2013 it will be three for the family, with Andrew’s son Theo playing halfback.

So why did Stevenson start his research? “I guess I’ve always been around here (Manchester Park). Dad brought me down when I was 5 to put the flags out and he was treasurer, and I’ve never really left.”

The remaining books will be sold for $20 a copy.