Bay of Plenty senior rugby season

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

The start of the Bay of Plenty senior rugby season last weekend got Sideline Sid thinking what the local rugby scene looked like a century ago.

Past papers provided a peek at Tauranga Rugby in 1921, with the big prize of the season being the Jordan Cup, which is still contested today as a Western Bay of Plenty challenge trophy.

The trophy engraving says 'Presented to the Tauranga Rugby Union by Mr JH Jordan in 1913', with the first winner being the Rangataua Rugby Club.

A little research showed that the 1921 Jordan Shield contenders were Tauranga, Te Puna, Matakana Island, Mount Maunganui, Rangataua and Judea Rugby Clubs, with all except the Tauranga Club, alive and well today.

The Saturday afternoon Junior competition was contested by Rangataua, Matakana Island, Te Puna, Tauranga and Cadets, with another TRU trophy still around today in the Oliver Cup, on the line.

All TRU senior and junior games were played at the Tauranga Domain, with the junior encounters kicking off at 1.30pm and the senior matches following at 3pm.

Past papers also recorded a meeting held to form a Football Referees Association in April 1921.

It was unanimously agreed to establish a body known as the Tauranga Referees Association.

It was said, that the formation of the referees association was a step in the right direction and should be a deciding factor in the raising of the rugby code in the district.

The 1921 Tauranga Rugby season belonged to the Te Puna Rugby Club, who had been established in 1919.

The Te Puna seniors won the Jordan Cup with the juniors winning the Oliver Cup.

It's interesting to read a Bay of Plenty Times October 17, 1921, report of the TRU Prizegiving.

The daily newspaper report was told in a completely different style to today's media reports, and reflected a different era where many of the attendees would have travelled to Te Puna by horse and carriage.

"The footballers annual reunion in the Te Puna School on Friday, was largely attended, the assemblage including a large number of supporters of the Rugby game from Tauranga. The interior of the building was prettily decorated, with ferns, clematis and flags and a large marquee was erected outside to accommodate the numerous guests. Dancing commenced at 8pm and continued on to 11.30, when supper was handed round by the footballers and lady helpers.

"After supper, Mr JA Jordan presented the Jordan Cup to the Te Puna Seniors and congratulated them on their three consecutive wins and the good sportsmanship they had always exhibited. He then handed the Cup to Mr York, the captain of the team, who responded in appropriate terms.

"Mr Jordan then presented the then presented the Oliver Cup to Mr Hec Alley captain of the Te Puna Juniors and extended congratulations to the young players on their excellent play in securing the trophy. Mr Alley suitably responded."

Messrs CS Oliver and GC Revell, members of the Tauranga Rugby Union, extended congratulations to the Te Puna Club on their double victory. They dwelt on the necessity for all the Clubs and Rugby Union working harmoniously for the good of the game.

"Mr Jordan, on behalf of the Tauranga Union present Miss Lockhead the popular postmistress of Te Puna, with a handsome ebony backed mirror and a brush as appreciation from the Union and the Te Puna footballers, of the valuable help given by her to the Rugby cause for several seasons.

"Dancing then resumed and continued until 2 O’clock. On leaving, Mr Jordan, on behalf of the visitors thanked the Te Puna people for their open-hearted hospitality and called for three cheers for the Te Puna hosts, which was lustily given."

It was noted that Mr D Borrell and Mr I Tangitu acted as master of ceremonies, with both families, still having very strong connections to the Te Puna Rugby Club today.


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