BLAKETOWN RUGBY CLUB HISTORY
A meeting was called in March 1923 to form a Rugby Club in Blaketown 30 residents attended in the Blaketown School gymnasium.
It was agreed that a club be formed. A further meeting was held at a later date and a committee was formed, Mr Tom Collins was elected President. The meeting decided to write to the W.C.R.F.U. for permission to enter a 4th Grade team in the Union competition, which was the lowest grade in the Union competitions, this was granted, and the club were registered.
From that 4th Grade team the club has advanced to what it is today. In 1924 the club had three teams 4th 3rd & junior. The junior won the competition in 1925-26-27-28 and advanced to senior in 1929 and was runner up in the senior competition. There has been a senior team every year since. In 1930 the club built a training shed 80 yards x 40 yards on ground just south of Coakley Street which was used until mid 1950 when the club decided to transform McLean Park into a Rugby ground, nearly all by voluntary labour and generous donations of machinery from club supporters.
When the ground was completed the club arranged a game between Blaketown & West Coast Kotukus to be played at McLean Park on a Sunday. However a Greymouth Borough by-law for bid Rugby to be played in the borough on Sundays. Officials of the club were called to the police station and were told they would charged with breaking by-laws and could face jail and players could be fined up to $200- 00.
However the teams lined up before a large crowd and many police present. Both teams were warned by police they could face heavy fines. Club officials assured both teams that the Club would pick up the fines the game was played and no legal action did arise, which was just as well as the club was not in a position to pay.
As things progressed and money became available lighting was installed and a larger shower room was constructed and the building was added too as finance became available. Victoria Park Trotting Club was the clubs best fund raiser, as well as doing cabarets and the sportsman of the year dinners raffles and money making tasks.
The final result was the pavilion which stood until 2005 when the tornado in March demolished it. In the early days lower grade Rugby was dominated by the schools. During the war years Rugby was at a low eb, but we survived.
The Junior Advisory Board was formed, two foundation members were Frank McEnaney and Tom Cameron things looked up from there on both men were elected life members of the board. The title of the all nations team was true we were waiting on the wharf for a ship to tie up so we could get the seaman to come and play, it worked and mostly they enjoyed the game.
Blaketown never had an All Black, but Allan McEnaney was a New Zealand Colt in 1955 the team toured Australia and Ceylon he played alongside Rugby legends Colin Meads and Wilson Whineray, he topped the try scouring list for the tour, he played for the West Coast from 1955 to 1957 incl. represented West Coast – Buller against NZ Maoris and the Spring Boks in 1956.
There have been several South Island representatives, M. Scandrett, W. McNeight, and V.Goodall. The two last named also played for the NZ Rugby League Kiwis. Bill McHugh another club member in the 1940s was also selected for the NZ Services. South Island, Canterbury, and the West Coast. Paul Griffin a former club member played in the Italian international side from 2004 to 2009 incl. he played in 42 tests. Josh Cornish our present senior coach (2013) was selected in the Heartland XV in 2009.
Over the years the club has had many prominent administrators namely, Ron Messenger, Jim Fraser, and John Sturgeon all past presidents of the N.Z.R.F.U. Also the club over the years have had very strong administrators in club, provincial and NZ Rugby organisations, they have not been backward in coming forward with their opinions, some quite controversial and many have been accepted.
Club members have been involved in other district organizations sporting and cultural and rising to the top of same both playing and administration. There have been sixteen life members elected over the years their names appear on the honours board along side other prominent club administrators.
Past President/Life Member
Blaketown Rugby Football Club Inc
WEST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS
1945 – 2013
24 Championships ( 1 shared 1984-86 with St Mary’s)
1984-1986 St Mary’s and Blaketown
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