22nd December 2017
HSOB Golf Day - Monday 26th February 2018.
11th December 2017
116th AGM - Presidents Report
It is my pleasure to present this report to the Annual General Meeting of our Club.
In a year that saw New Zealand continue to dominate world rugby, High School Old Boys made a significant contribution to New Zealand and the international game. Mitchell Drummond joined Luke Romano in the All Blacks. Grace Brooker, Rosie Kelly, Mitchell Drummond, Reed Prinsep, Daniel Lienert-Brown, George Bridge and Ben Funnell played in the 2017 NPC championship winning Canterbury teams. It was a watershed moment when Mitchell Drummond and George Bridge played for the British Barbarians against the All Blacks during the recent Northern Tour. George scored two tries against the All Blacks during that match.
At Division One level, Old Boys was looking for 2017 to be a comeback year. Alas that was not to be and whilst season ending 7th position was an improvement on 2016, the journey was difficult and there is much work to be done. It will no be easy ride. Club rugby, with its amateur principles, is wedged between schools rugby, some schools with rapidly expanding budgets, and the professional game, which lures promising players away from club rugby on a seemingly weekly basis. The game has changed rapidly. HSOB has approximately 80 professional players still active in the game. In days gone by, those players would have remained available to their clubs in between provincial and international commitments.
The year-by-year challenge of replacing players who progress to higher levels, places challenges before Clubs, but is one that must be overcome before championship-winning success is achieved. Players who reach the upper echelons of rugby seldom return on a regular basis. Indeed they progress through into professional rugby at ever-younger ages and do not stay at club level for any length of time.
Rare are the club stalwarts still turning out at top club level in their early 30s, holding down a regular job, providing for their families and still capable of matching representative, international and/or budding professional opponents when called upon to do so. These are the real rugby club heroes of today.
Still, HSOB remains a club for all ages and for the wider range of our club players, 2017 must be deemed a successful year.
Against some trends, HSOB retained its playing strength from the previous season. Teams were fielded in Division One Men’s and Women’s, Divisions Two, Three, Four, Premier Colts, and Colts with 15 teams in the junior club. Player throughput at Division One level placed pressure on retaining players for the grades below. Division Two were markedly improved on previous years and were a threat to all opposition teams. Division Three competed well and both Colts sides represented the Club with pride and a degree of success. Indeed, Premier Colts finished 3rd for the season yet failed to gain representation at provincial Colts level – an indication of the orchestrated manner of how Colts rugby operates in Canterbury. Our Women’s team consolidated well on the previous season, recruited effectively and were well coached and managed. They have every reason to expect a rewarding season in 2018 during which we expect to field a second women’s team. It was also pleasing to note the continued good health and vigour of Team Keith.
Jamie Livingstone continued in his role as Rugby Development Officer. He played an important role in recruiting and maintaining player numbers and has been working on all fronts to determine that 2018 will be a step up on recent seasons. There is every reason to anticipate improved results next year. Note however, that seemingly for the first time, Jamie has had to deal with player agents even when seeking to discuss rugby options with school leavers, CBHS included.
For several years, focus has been placed on growing junior rugby. A more formal junior committee has been established and our RDO has been tasked with supporting this emphasis. Player numbers were consistent enough but fielding the number of teams that we should have has not come easily. Signs are that this challenge is very much alive for 2018 with Canterbury Rugby reporting that only girls’ rugby is on the increase.
On the property/asset side of the Club, we are moving into new territory. The North Hagley Sports and Recreation Trust obtained a 33 year Council lease on the Hagley Park pavilion and grounds. We are joined in membership of the Trust by Christchurch Petanque and United Croquet. Additional sporting and recreational clubs will inevitably also join the Trust in the years ahead. Grounds adjacent to the pavilion have benefitted from circa $500k of development expenditure on petanque facilities, car parking, lawns & gardens. Discussions with Council have progressed with regard to the provision of on-Hagley change rooms and the Committee is keeping a close watch on developments either side of our Ayr Street properties. At the last AGM, we reported that the Club had taken planning advice on future use of Ayr Street and would continue to monitor the situation with regard to property options and our tenant’s (Adscales) continued lease of the buildings.
The immediate goal, with the lease signed and approved, will be to enhance and make this current building more effective, then provide 6 change rooms and associated facilities to the south of the current pavilion. Whilst there is a degree of frustration that these processes have taken so long, we still retain our Ayr Street properties and have much to plan for and to look forward to.
This club has made progress from last year. There has been a measurable step-up from volunteers, particularly at the Junior Club level. Communication club-wide has improved, thanks in no small way to a similar emergence of volunteers. However, the latter are in short supply. All too often people stand for committee, gain election then disappear from sight. For those who have skills and abilities, step up now. We need you and there will be no place to hide anyway! 2018 will be the year of co-option at HSOB.
For our Club to achieve anywhere near its potential, it needs all members to be involved!
I want to particularly thank members of our Committee, our coaches, managers, support staff and players. Inevitably there are individuals among you who undertake far more than your share. You are people we owe a great debt to. Be assured, we know who you are.
Sponsorship, going forward, will be more important than ever. Thank you to our sponsors who ask and expect little in return for your generosity. We rely on you greatly.
This Club has a proud history and leads the way with regard to ethics and values. More than other Clubs, HSOB is truly amateur (as it should be). We have much to be proud of and to look forward to. We are positioned to enjoy a sustainable future. That position should be guarded with fervor and awareness that others are not in such a good place.
Let’s make 2018 a year to remember for the good things in Rugby.
President, High School Old Boys Rugby Club
22nd August 2017
2017 Prizegiving Winners
Senior Club Awards:
Club Player of the Year - Grace Brooker, Womens
Coach of the Year - Anna McCone & Vern Holden, Womens
Personality of the Year - Ashleigh Inch, Womens
Contribution On & Off the Field - Tamara Toaolamai, Womens
Supporter of the Year - John McKeage, Keiths
Most Promising Colt - Aron Einarrson, Colts Prems
Most Promising U19 - Grace Brooker, Womens
Most Promising Prop - Sam Lester, Colts Prems
Most Points - Harrison Cox, Colts Reserve (150+)
Most Tries - Naia Toaolamai-Holden, Womens (14)
100 Games - Brian Keen (Manager)
100 Games - Rich Sanders (Coach)
200 Games - Joe Gee (Coach)
Senior Team Awards:
Div 1 MVP - Mark Jackman
Div 1 Most Improved - Connor Brown
Div 1 Players Player - Josh Pitt
Div 2 MVP - Kane Patterson
Div 2 Most Improved - Mitch Hastings
Div 2 Players Player - Jackson Cox
Assassins MVP - Alistair Collie
Assassins Most Improved - Josh Johnson
Colts Prems MVP - Aron Einarrson
Colts Prems Most Improved - Will Boyd
Colts Reserve MVP - Talor Scott
Colts Reserve Most Improved - Tato
Womens MVP - Grace Brooker
Womens Most Improved - Jo Fahey
Womens Players Player - Grace Brooker
Keiths MVP - Ross Sinclair
Keiths Most Improved - Stuart Herriot
Junior Team Awards:
MVP - Marli Hetutu
Outstanding Contribution - Beau Brackenridge
Most Improved Forward - Matthew Buchan
Most Improved Back - Tom Gibson
MVP - George Teear
Outstanding Contribution - Abby McKissock
Most Improved Forward - Pheobe Fortune
Most Improved Back - Sebastian Kuhn
MVP - Toby Kimura
Outstanding Contribution - Oliver Singleton
Most Improved Forward - Ben Laing
Most Improved Back - Riley Phillips
MVP - Sam McIntyre
Outstanding Contribution - Sili Manu
Most Improved Forward - Max Crowe
Most Improved Back - Ethan Mathewson
MVP - William Allott
Outstanding Contribution - Finn Bascik
Most Improved Forward - Ethan Price
Most Improved Back - Zavier Toaolamai-Holden
MVP - Enzo Sanders
Most Improved - Jack Kimura
Outstanding Contribution - Tom Simpson
MVP - Louis Shanahan
Most Improved - Mikaere Timblick
Outstanding Contribution - William Wright
MVP - Liam Newfield
Most Improved - Saedyn Barlow
Outstanding Contribution - Frano Chaplin
MVP - Brody Newfield
Most Improved - James Smith
Outstanding Contribution - Mason Tucker
MVP - Hayne Parker
Most Improved - Billy Atkinson
Outstanding Contribution - Fernando McPhail
MVP - Jack Percy
Most Improved - Phoenix Te Tai
Outstanding Contribution - Sam Payton
MVP - Archie Meates
Most Improved - Toby Carpenter
Outstanding Contribution - Ayrton Ferguson
MVP - Will Flint
Most Improved - Tom Dawson
Outstanding Contribution - Archie Cameron
1st August 2017
Elephant in the Room - Lincoln University Scholarships vs Amateur Rugby
While there are more important issues for Christchurch to worry about at the moment than our Club rugby competition, the recent announcement as featured in the ” Press” on Saturday 29 July, of the partnership between ARA (formerly CPIT) and the Canterbury Rugby Football Union to provide scholarships for rugby club players is to be applauded. However, the cynicism in me says “the elephant in the room “ is still the advantage the Lincoln University Rugby Club has and will have in the significant number of rugby scholarships that are awarded each year, that results in most of the best players coming to Chch playing for them and them alone. I am not exactly sure how much the scholarships are worth though I am told it is about $8000 annually per student. If there are 25 to 30 on the scholarships at any one time then over $200,000 is available to one club annually to recruit and keep players most of whom I assume are there for their rugby or sporting ability primarily, not their academic ability. If that funding comes from Vote Education then arguably we are effectively all subsidising their club via our taxes. The ARA arrangement is for $50,000 (perhaps also funded from Vote Education) per year but spread over a dozen or so metro clubs and more, if rural clubs are eligible. It will do little club by club to add substantially to playing strength as one assumes it will be 1 or 2 players per club if 20 scholarships are available. But is a step in the right direction.
The lop sided nature of this LU rugby scholarship arrangement means that it is likely no one apart from Lincoln will win the Premier or Colts Premier grade in the next few years, when and if they field their top players week to week and the status quo continues. In fact, they have won Div 1 or Premier grade for the last 3 years and the Prem colts for the past 4 years including their wins in the 2017 finals. The last club to win those grades was us – in 2014 and 2013 respectively. The farcical nature of what this scholarship situation has done to rugby in Chch can be seen in the make-up of top 2 two Canterbury rep sides. The CRFU website shows the 2016 under 19 team had 14 of the 30 players from LU while 11 or 12 of the current Canterbury squad involved in Ranfurly Shield matches are from LU. And last year the three half backs in the Canterbury ITM Cup competition were all from LU!!!! Unless this situation is addressed then moves to have LU removed from the local Metro competition may occur again as they have for the last two CRFU AGMs and that is sad.
In the Press article, the CRFU CEO, Nathan Godfrey is quite rightly wanting clubs or teams to get to that semi professional stage and it is a now necessary as we develop and grow as clubs to keep pace with the professional game and to service our players and coaches to the level they expect. The problem is the huge imbalance in talent that comes into Canterbury every year that goes to one club. It would be great day for Metro rugby when a Belfast or a Shirley makes the Grand Final but on an even “playing field”. However, the recruiting of players and the quality they and other clubs can recruit will never match the LU scholarship programme, no matter how professional they get, unless those players are distributed fairly to clubs and that seems unlikely in the short term.
The rather curiously named “engagement” manager at ARA talks of helping clubs, in the Press article, with various facets of their business. There are already training, resources and tools available from many organisations including Sport Canterbury, Sport NZ, NZRU, private providers and within clubs themselves. Many clubs have suitably qualified business people on their committees or boards. I am not sure that all these clubs will want to have yet more work or training thrust on them to account for a scholarship or two worth a few hundred dollars, though time will tell, if that is the aim. Again, recruitment and distribution of players is the most important issue for clubs currently in a “reducing player’ market at senior (under 21 and above) level and until this is sorted there will continue to be resentment and frustration from the other clubs. The scholarship issue, effectively ” a state sponsored talent grab” has been the most divisive issue I have seen in local club rugby since the 1981 Springbok tour in my time of being involved with rugby. I hope for the sake of local rugby it is sorted some time soon. The views expressed here are my own but I know generally reflect views of many club rugby people in Chch.
HSOB Life Member and 2017 Colts Manager