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Hundreds toast club milestone

Sir Colin Meads plants a totara tree at the Waimate Rugby Club's 50th Jubilee

COMMEMORATION: Sir Colin Meads plants a totara tree at the Waimate Rugby Club’s 50th Jubilee.

Waimate Rugby Club’s 50th jubilee celebration has been hailed a success.

Organisers said more than 200 past and present members turned out over the weekend to salute the club.

Festivities kicked off on Friday night and were highlighted by a formal dinner at the Waimate Stadium on Saturday.

Jubilee and club committee member David Owen said a totara was planted by Sir Colin Meads at the east end of the No 2 ground in honour of the celebrations.

Mr Owen was hopeful it would tower over the playing field in 100 years time.

He said the meet-and-greet on Friday night was attended by hundreds of people, where Sir Colin and a dozen members who had played for the club through the decades, spoke.

“Past members from over the decades gave five-minute speeches about the trials and tribulations.”

On Saturday Sir Colin was joined by organisers at Manchester Park with the highland pipe band in full cry. Mackenzie, unfortunately, put a dampener on celebrations with a 23-6 win over the home side in the Hamersley Cup.

Organisers were not deterred, and the Waimate Stadium was colourfully decorated for the evening’s festivities.

Sir Colin included good humour in his address, Mr Owen said.

And celebrations continued on Sunday with a barbecue at the clubrooms.

Mr Owen joked there would have been some pumpkins thrown about as many attendees didn’t get home till after midnight.

He said planning is underway for the 75th jubilee.

“There will be a number of mobility scooters and zimmer frames to be seen at the next one,” he jested.

Author Tony Stevenson spent several years researching the half century and has released a 80-page chronicle leading up to the weekend’s jubilee, titled, Waimos, Water and Wallabies. Early reports describe how the clubrooms were built with volunteer labour.

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. It was reported the club actually started in 1876, but as part of a sub-union, and only got its real club identity 50 years ago.