Contact name: Rob Fisher
Day/s: Saturday 8am - 4pm
Phone number: 021 630 177
Every year in March, Beachlands Maraetai Rugby Club and their Junior members gather for their annual Club Muster, a chance where all the teams and players can get together, meet their coaches, and begin their training sessions for the Winter season ahead. This year the Club achieved a new milestone, with some 215 children registered to play Junior Club Rugby for the 2019 season. “We have been delighted with the Club’s growth over the past two season, and next year we expect to have over 260 kids playing.” “Primarily though, it’s all about getting kids from the age of 4 or 5 into our National sport, and offering them the chance to further develop some skills in what is typically their first team sport”, says Club President, Rob Fisher.
The Club itself dates back initially to 1973, where games were played at the Whitford Domain. From around 1981 to 1983 the club was founded by several individuals, T Davies, J Graham, Ted Packenham, Des Schimanski, and Graham Norton. Some of the Clubs old Team photos are all in storage, due to insufficient space within the shared space of the Te Puru Sports centre, but there are some old team photos of kids that still live in the area, and have even seen their children grow up and play for the Rugby Club, so in some essences the Club has already served 2-3 generations of family within the area. It’s a young club compared to many within the wider Auckland and Counties region, but with the growth and retention of players, along with all the parents, and Coaches that are in involved with the club, these are good times for Rugby Club. We now have over 35 Coaches as part of our Team, and a very strong and committed committee driving the Club.
Through the years, there have been many volunteers who have all contributed to keeping the club alive and well, and of note was Grant Fox serving on the Committee for some 5 or 6 years from 1995 to 2000, and to this day, Grant still continues to support the club with his generosity and each year manages to supply a signed All Blacks jersey which goes up for Auction at the Club’s annual Auction and Quiz night…..which itself has grown extraordinarily well from where it was some 6 or 7 years ago. There are many other community members who have devoted many hours to the Club, such as Bruce McLeod (86-92), Brian Brooke (87-93), Grant Llewelyn (87-90), Ron and Megan Kelly, Teina Taylor (2003-07), Conal Dempsey (2007-12) and more recently Craig Marshall, Mel Llewelyn, Bevan Overend, Jodi Litherland and Craig Rooks (2013-17).
Now the Club is well positioned with 16 different Junior teams, and a Senior U85kg Team. Last year the club took an initiative from the Counties Rugby Union to develop Girls Rugby, and that segmented competition had 3 teams from BMRC represented, where they compete in competitions across the Greater Auckland region, and even travel to Waiheke Island.
As for Junior Rugby itself, “This season saw us re-format the weight gradings, and it all makes complete sense. In the past with various weight restrictions, some kids would find they were having to play up two age groups just because of their weight, while all his mates were playing happily in say U9 or 10 level, so unfortunately many kids would be put off, and be lost to the sport, as they just didn’t enjoy themselves. Now, we are all about keeping these kids with their school mates and in the same age group, and we can develop them early into key positions, and improve their team structure”
The Club was pleased to field two full strength 15 aside teams in our U11 and U12 Grades, of which the retention of our key players, and even having some players re-join the club has been instrumental to fielding these competition Grade teams. Normally in the past, we have lost players to Pakuranga, but we have noticed a slight turn of events this year, which is awesome. In fact, when registrations open for 2020, we will be offering 10 free memberships for players wishing to compete in the U13 Grade, likely to be offered to players keen to move over from Ardmore, that may live within 20-30 mins drive of Te Puru Park. The Community spirit out on the Coast could not be any higher than right now, and we’d love to see more kids coming to our Club from the likes of Alfriston, Brookby, and Clevedon.
A massive highlight for the Club this year, was our U11 Team travelling away to Taupo for the International Rugby Festival held over 19-22 September at Owen Delany Park. With a squad of 25 players heading down there, and backed up by around 20 parents, we all stayed on a local Marae where some strong friendships and great memories were made. The kids themselves had an absolute blast, which climaxed with our Team beating Pakuranga, and being awarded “Fairest Team of the Tournament”. To see the kids perform a passionate haka pre game, and then to do so out of respect for their Coach, Nathan Reid, was something that will remain with everyone forever. The weather was magnificent, and the company, even better.
Next year, we will look to take the same Team down there, and hopefully another Team to compete. It’s exactly what a Rugby Club should be doing, in helping to create lifelong friendships. None of this is possible however, without the continued support of our Coaches, and those involved in running the club and it’s various events.